Worth Watching: ‘Big Sky’ and ABC’s New Lineup, ‘Prodigal Son’ Goes Back to School, ‘Real Sports’ Gets a Podcast
A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
Big Sky (10/9c, ABC): The Montana-set thriller jolted audiences from the start by killing off what seemed like a major character at the end of the first hour. The December cliffhanger sent another shockwave, when private eye Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) took down villainous state trooper-turned-sex trafficker Rick Legarski (John Carroll Lynch) with a shot to the head in a tense standoff. The repercussions of that act for Cassie and her ex-cop partner Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick) complicate matters when the manhunt for Legarski’s accomplice gets personal after they learn what Rick did to Jenny’s estranged husband and Cassie’s lover, Cody (Ryan Phillippe). Somewhere out there lurks twisted truck driver Ronald Pergman (Brian Geraghty), a chip off the Norman Bates block, described by kidnap victim Grace (Jade Pettyjohn) thusly: “He doesn’t look like a psycho.” Which only makes him more dangerous.
Big Sky caps a new Tuesday lineup including the season premiere of To Tell the Truth (8/7c), with Jimmy Kimmel, Andrea Savage, and Sherri Shepherd on the panel; the return of black-ish (9/8c), where Dre (Anthony Anderson) is even more self-centered than usual when a neighborhood blackout sends him into me-first stockpiling mode; and the second-season premiere of spinoff mixed-ish (9:30/8:30c), set in 1986, when a teenage Rainbow (Arica Himmel) is upset after her younger brother Johan (Ethan William Childress) lies about his racial identity at school, prompting some soul-searching from progressive parents Alicia (Tika Sumpter) and Paul (Mark-Paul Gosselaar).
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (8/7c, NBC): The theme of the week — set to an eclectic soundtrack of Queen, Lizzo, Paula Abdul and other divas — is happiness: as in choosing to be happy, which applies to Zoey (Jane Levy) as she pauses between relationships to make some tough calls at work, widowed mother Maggie (Mary Steenburgen) as she considers a client’s affectionate overtures, brother David (Andrew Leeds) as he ponders a major life change, and business partners Max (Skylar Astin) and Mo (Alex Newell) as they work out their different approaches to launching a restaurant.
Prodigal Son (9/8c, Fox): Troubled forensic profiler Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) once again goes off the deep end, quite literally, when a case brings him back to the boarding school where many of his twitchy tendencies first manifested. A new class of mean kids are prime suspects in the murder of the headmaster, but Malcolm is easily distracted by memories of a time when he first realized how hard it would be to escape the shadow of his narcissistic serial-killer father, Martin (Michael Sheen).
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (10/9c, HBO): The 27th season of the award-winning sports newsmagazine begins with the announcement of a companion podcast, hosted by segment producer Max Gershberg, which will expand on current and vintage segments of the series. New stories include Mary Carillo’s report on athletes in for the “long haul” of recovery after contracting COVID-19 and still experiencing symptoms months later.
Inside Tuesday TV: BritBox launches a newly remastered version of the first eight seasons of sci-fi cult comedy classic Red Dwarf, including 2020’s Red Dwarf: The Promised Land movie… The doctors of Fox’s The Resident (8/7c) rally to save one of their own when Cain (Morris Chestnut) is hit by a car while playing hero at the site of a crash… CBS’s crime-drama lineup is all new, including NCIS (8/7c), where agents Bishop (Emily Wickersham) and Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) are trapped in abandoned jail cells following a shootout; FBI (9/8c) on the hunt for a young kidnap victim; and FBI Most Wanted (10/9c) seeking the ringleader of a violent militia group, while Jess (Julian McMahon) is at his wits’ end regarding his father (Lost‘s Terry O’Quinn)… PBS’s Finding Your Roots (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org) is even more eclectic than usual, tracing the ancestry of campy Bravo ambassador Andy Cohen and NPR’s legendary Nina Totenberg… A provocative hour of PBS’s Frontline (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org), “Trump’s American Carnage,” explores how the former president stoked division and violence while in office, with attacks on the media, his enemies and democracy itself leading to the Jan. 6 insurrection against the U.S. Capitol.