Worth Watching: Return of ‘Black Lightning,’ a ‘9-1-1’ Parent Trap, a Cinderella Story on ‘All Rise,’ ‘Women in Blue’
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
Black Lightning (9/8c, The CW): The groundbreaking Black superhero series enters its fourth and final season with a time jump that picks up a year after last March’s triumphant defeat of the meta-powered Markovian army. Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) hasn’t fully recovered from the emotional blow of losing his friend, Detective Henderson (Damon Gupta), in the battle — but at least he still has his supercharged daughters, Jennifer (China Anne McClain) and Anissa (Nafessa Williams), to help keep gang wars and other conflict from wreaking havoc on their city.
9-1-1 (8/7c, Fox): Guest-star alert! TV veteran Gregory Harrison and ET‘s Dee Wallace pay a visit as the parents of very pregnant Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and brother Buck (Oliver Stark), who could be in for a rude awakening should certain skeletons emerge from the family closet. Can Chimney (Kenneth Choi) keep his trap shut, or will there be an emotional emergency call? On the job, the 118 crew deals with a bomb threat, and Athena (Angela Bassett) looks into a murder at a neighborhood block party.
All Rise (9/8c, CBS): For many a 1960s boomer, their image of a TV Cinderella is Lesley Ann Warren, who played the title role in the 1965 version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. (The 1997 remake, with Brandy and Whitney Houston, starts streaming on Disney+ on Friday.) Warren, an Oscar nominee for Victor/Victoria, guests on the legal drama as an ’80s-era Hollywood star who’s a celebrity crush of Mark (Wilson Bethel), who wishes he didn’t have to prosecute her for the murder of her husband 30 years ago. Justified‘s Jere Burns plays her lawyer, a showboating attorney who tries to make a mockery of the high-profile proceedings.
Women in Blue (10/9c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Before the Minneapolis police department became a focus of social protest and calls for police reform in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, this Independent Lens documentary was filmed, covering the years of 2017 to 2020. The focus is on MPD’s first female police chief, openly gay Chief Janeé Harteau, and three women she recruited and promoted within her department in an effort to address the force’s systemic corruption and gender inequity.
Inside Monday TV: Streaming highlights include a third season on Hulu of Harrow, the Australian crime drama starring Forever‘s Ioan Gruffudd as a forensic pathologist; and a third season on Acorn TV of the French crime drama Balthazar, starring Tomer Sisley as a forensic pathologist. Small world, no?… Animation trivia is essential in Nickelodeon’s game show Tooned In (5 pm/4c), airing Monday-to-Thursday through March 4. Kids dodge slime as they answer questions from an animated A.I. robot, with the winner playing for a $1,000 grand prize and a chance to climb the robot’s motherboard… Filmed in 2015 and only now getting its U.S. TV premiere, Ovation presents the third season of international thriller Crossing Lines (10/9c), with ER‘s Goran Visnjic and Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell joining the International Criminal Court team… Essential Black History Month viewing: PBS repeats its 1993 American Experience documentary Goin’ Back to T-Town (9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org), which examines the 1921 Tulsa race massacre and its aftermath, as survivors in the Black community of Greenwood fought to rebuild. In an ironic twist, the movements for integration and urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s brought an end to this social experiment.