Worth Watching: Bob Fights for Abishola, Stream ‘Freaks and Geeks,’ ‘Snowpiercer’ Returns, ‘Salisbury Poisonings’
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
Bob Hearts Abishola (8:30/7:30c, CBS): It’s an emotional and turbulent turning point in the relationship of Bob (Billy Gardell) and his Nigerian fiancée Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku) when her husband-in-name-only, Tayo (Dayo Ade), refuses to consent to a divorce, despite having taken a second wife in their homeland during his eight-year absence. Bob isn’t taking this setback lightly, pledging to do “whatever it takes” to win Abishola, who’s likewise adamant about not losing hope. This unconventional TV couple is worth rooting for.
Freaks and Geeks (streaming on Hulu): For a series that produced only 18 episodes more than 20 years ago (which seems impossible), the cultural footprint is staggering from Paul Feig and Judd Apatow‘s heartfelt 1999-2000 dramedy about teenage outsiders in 1980s Michigan. Just consider the cast playing the young rebels and nerds of McKinley High: James Franco, Linda Cardellini, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Busy Philipps, John Francis Daley, Martin Starr, Samm Levine. Ignored at the time by everyone but critics and those who could find it on NBC, Freaks and Geeks is now rightly considered one of the all-time classics.
Snowpiercer (9/8c, TNT): Two trains aren’t necessarily better than one. That lesson becomes clear early on in the second season of the futuristic dystopian thriller set aboard the perpetual-motion Snowpiercer, a train housing all that’s left of humanity during a devastating Ice Age. In the first-season cliffhanger, it was revealed that Mr. Wilford (Sean Bean), Snowpiercer’s long-thought-dead creator, had survived aboard the supply train Big Alice. Among his entourage: young protégé Alex (Rowan Blanchard), the rebellious daughter of engineer Melanie (Jennifer Connelly), who left her sadistic boss behind at the beginning of Snowpiercer’s journey. When Wilford challenges the authority of revolutionary leader Layton (Daveed Diggs), the crew and passengers once again find themselves divided by opposing loyalties, a standoff that takes so long to come to a head the series (which has been renewed for a third season) begins to feel like a long ride to nowhere.
The Salisbury Poisonings (10/9c, AMC): Available since October on the network’s AMC+ streaming service, this grim but absorbing four-part docudrama from the U.K. was worth the wait. Anne-Marie Duff stars as a public-health director who tries to contain panic and the spread of a lethal nerve agent within the cathedral city of Salisbury in 2018 when a retired Russian double agent and his daughter collapse on a public bench after being exposed.
Inside Monday TV: For some exotic escapism, Acorn TV presents the six-episode French dramedy Réunions for a refreshing binge. It’s the story of two half-brothers of different races and economic strata who only discover each other after their father dies and leaves them a hotel on Réunion, a paradisical island. Keeping the struggling Hotel de Lagon afloat, however, will be a challenge, but I bet we’d all like to check in there… Judge Lola (Simone Missick) is on maternity leave on CBS’s All Rise (9/8c) and tries to stay connected from home by participating in special training with Judge Benner (Marg Helgenberger)… In the Reelz special Lucille Ball: Life, Death & Money (10/9c, 7/PT), a posthumous battle ensues over some of the legendary comedienne’s most treasured items. Her offspring, Desi Arnaz Jr. and Lucie Arnaz, fight the widow of Ball’s second husband (Gary Morton) to keep her from auctioning off these precious mementos… Time to meet the parents on ABC’s The Good Doctor (10/9c, ABC) when Lea’s (Paige Spara) mom and dad have their first encounter with the brilliant, but socially challenged, Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore).