Worth Watching: A New ‘Batwoman,’ Victorian Sleuth ‘Miss Scarlet,’ NFL Divisional Playoffs
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Batwoman (Sunday, 8/7c, The CW): It’s the same Batsuit, but a new Bat-hero as the second season of the groundbreaking superhero action series commences minus its original star, Ruby Rose. Not to speak ill of the departed, but Javicia Leslie (formerly of God Friended Me) is much more of a natural, instantly proving she’s up to the challenge of being the female Black queer crimefighter Gotham didn’t know it needed. As Ryan Wilder, a currently homeless ex-con — falsely imprisoned, mind you — who discovers the discarded suit amid the chaos of Kate Kane’s mysterious disappearance, Leslie brings spunk and humor to the role. It’s fun watching her learn the ins and outs of her new gear — “Sorry! Legit didn’t mean that,” she says when accidentally injuring a thug — and it shouldn’t take her long to convince Batwoman allies Mary (Nicole Kang) and Luke (Camrus Johnson) that she’s up to the task. But always lurking is the menace of the bat—t crazy Alice (Rachel Skarsten), who messes with everyone by introducing a faux “Bruce Wayne” (Warren Christie) into the mix.
Miss Scarlet & the Duke (Sunday, 8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org): Pioneering in her own way, Eliza Scarlet (Kate Phillips) is an outlier in 1880s Victorian London society, a fledgling female private detective hoping to follow in her father’s footsteps. In the six-part Masterpiece Mystery! series, the scrappy Miss Scarlet withstands all manner of “A lady should not see such things” condescension from her friend, Detective Inspector William “the Duke” Wellington (Stuart Martin). For all of the Duke’s warnings about “dabbling in men’s affairs,” Eliza has the knack and the gumption to get involved in messy cases, starting by tracking down a fallen woman whose rich uncle seeks to reconcile. Not everything’s as it seems, of course, and Miss Scarlet is as adept as her contemporary, Sherlock Holmes, at turning the tables on dastardly villains. If people could just get over her gender, she might even be able to keep financially afloat.
A busy Sunday on PBS (check local listings at pbs.org) also includes the second episode of the charming All Creatures Great and Small (9/8c), in which the arrival of Siegfried’s (Samuel West) carefree brother Tristan (Callum Woodhouse) leaves new assistant James (Nicholas Ralph) nervous about his long-term prospects. The late Diana Rigg appears as the eccentric Mrs. Pumphrey, who takes a shine to the young vet, as does her overindulged Pekingese, Tricki-Woo… The documentary special Inside the Mind of Agatha Christie (10/9c) delves into the colorful and, unsurprisingly, enigmatic life story of the famed murder-mystery author, whose books have sold billions of copies.
NFL Divisional Playoffs: Football’s post-season continues with key matchups as the Rams head to Green Bay to take on the mighty Packers (Saturday, 4:35/3:35c, Fox) and the Ravens fly to Buffalo to face the Bills (Saturday, 8:15/7:15c, NBC). On Sunday, the Browns go against the Chiefs in Kansas City (3:05/2:05c, CBS), and in a showdown between top quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Brees, the Buccaneers ease on down to the Big Easy for a showdown with the Saints (6:40/5:40c, Fox).
The Watch (Sunday, 8/7c, BBC America): The comic fantasy delivers one of its funniest and most eventful episodes yet, as the City Watch pursues a lead to the magical sword Gawain, taking them to Twilight Canyons, a retirement home like no other. (Sample announcement: “All vampires please be aware that the soup of the day may contain garlic and priest croutons.”) With Carcer (Sam Adewunmi) and his minions also on the hunt, the adversaries soon learn that fighting isn’t allowed in these hallowed halls, triggering a spell that must be seen to be believed. If the voice of Gawain (“Call me Wayne”) sounds familiar, it’s because it belongs to comedian Matt Berry (What We Do in the Shadows).
Tiger (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): The second half of this engrossing documentary profile dives into the darker side of golf legend Tiger Woods‘ double life. As his fame grew, so did his indulgences, and as one commentator puts it, “He became what he loathed most about his father: a philanderer.” Featuring an interview with mistress Rachel Uchitel, breaking a 10-year silence, Tiger unflinchingly chronicles his spiritual and physical breakdown, then regroups to celebrate his 2019 comeback and triumph at the Masters.
Inside Weekend TV: The Weather Channel launches a weeklong series (through Friday) of special reports titled Faces of Change, airing at 40 minutes past the hour during each hour of live programming. The episodes spotlight community leaders, activists and inventors working to combat climate change… If you’d rather go to the dogs than the football game, ABC presents the AKC National Championship (Sunday, 2 pm/1c) as a three-hour special, hosted by Mary Carillo with American Kennel Club Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo and sportscaster Carolyn Manno. More than 4,000 dogs compete from across the U.S. and seven countries… Court TV’s “I Can’t Breathe” — A Court TV Special (Sunday, 9/8c) recounts the life and death of George Floyd and looks into the charges against the four former Minneapolis police officers accused of his murder, in anticipation of covering the first of the trials, set to begin in March… Both of CBS’s NCIS dramas are new, with NCIS: Los Angeles (Sunday, 8/7c) throwing another twist into Deeks’ (Eric Christian Olsen) NCIS training, and NCIS: New Orleans (Sunday, 9/8c) investigating the murder of a Navy therapist who was working outside the system to get justice for victims of sexual assault.