Worth Watching: ‘Debris’ and a ‘Voice’ Milestone on NBC, Remembering RBG & Notorious B.I.G., a Solo ‘Snowpiercer’ Adventure
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
Debris (10/9c, NBC): It’s understandable to be leery of any show posing cosmic mysteries with no guarantee of getting satisfying answers somewhere down the road — think Manifest, for one — but this atmospheric thriller comes from Fringe‘s J.H. Wyman, so I’ll give Debris the benefit of the doubt for now. The series gets off to a strong start as we meet Bryan (Jonathan Tucker), a CIA agent, and Fiona (Riann Steele), his British counterpart from MI6, already in action as they chase black marketeers selling weirdly energized pieces from a spacecraft that has scattered wreckage all across the Western Hemisphere. From there, it’s off to Kansas, where bodies exposed to the alien space shrapnel have suddenly begun floating in suspended animation. It’s a creepy puzzle, and the agents can’t always trust each other’s or their governments’ motives. Mulder and Scully would approve.
The Voice (8/7c, NBC): But first, the Emmy-winning singing competition marks a milestone as The Voice kicks off its 20th season, with host Carson Daly and coach Blake Shelton celebrating their 10th anniversary as charter members. Joining them are John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, and Nick Jonas for the “Blind Auditions” round, always the most engaging and suspenseful part of any season.
Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words (9/8c, Starz): Using archival footage, interviews, animations and illustrations, this documentary gives voice to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ruth tells the story of her pioneering career as a female in the male-dominated world of law — first as a student at Harvard and Columbia, then as a lawyer for the ACLU’s Women”s Rights Project, an appellate judge and finally her celebrated appointment as the second woman to serve as an Associate Justice on the country’s highest court. Fans consider her “The Notorious RBG,” but this documentary personalizes her as the remarkable Ruth.
Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell (streaming on Netflix): A documentary profile, made in collaboration with his estate, celebrates the legacy of Christopher Wallace — aka the influential rapper Notorious B.I.G., who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2020, more than 20 years after his untimely and violent death. The Biggie story includes new interviews with associates and family, and footage filmed by his close friend Damion “D-Roc” Butler, revealing a more personal side of this bigger-than-life talent.
More streaming documentaries: The free Crackle platform presents Playing with Power: The Nintendo Story, going inside the Japanese videogame company; and Pluto TV’s 24/7 Pluto TV Documentaries channel offers Hunger Ward (7 pm/6c) from MTV Documentary Films, a short subject exposing the humanitarian crisis of the famine disproportionately affecting children amid the war in Yemen.
Snowpiercer (9/8c, TNT): In one of the strongest episodes of the second season, reminiscent of George Clooney‘s The Midnight Sky film for Netflix, the focus is on Melanie (Jennifer Connelly), the engineer who left Snowpiercer on a risky solo mission to a research station in the frozen tundra. Her goal: to prove with the help of weather satellites that the Earth is finally beginning to warm up a bit, promising hope to the trainbound remnants of humanity. Her survival story involves flashbacks leading to her split with the train’s sinister creator, Mr. Wilford (Sean Bean), and plenty of hunger-induced hallucinations. Will she ever make it back on board?
9-1-1 (8/7c, Fox): The rescue melodrama takes a cue from Hitchcock when Michael (Rockmond Dunbar) enlists his ex, Athena (Angela Bassett), and Bobby (Peter Krause) to install a “rear window” in his home, from where he plays amateur detective. What could go wrong there? Night Court‘s Marsha Warfield guests as Hen’s (Aisha Hinds) mother, who shows up to announce she’s moving to L.A. It’s also getting crowded on the spinoff 9-1-1: Lone Star (9/8c) when a pregnant Gwyneth (Lisa Edelstein) moves full time into the Strand home with ex-husband Owen (Rob Lowe) and son T.K. (Ronen Rubinstein).
Inside Monday TV: All three Back to the Future movies begin streaming on Amazon Prime Video… Best Picture Oscar winners Dances with Wolves (1990) and Rain Man (1998) are among the movies setting up shop on Netflix, while Driving Miss Daisy (1989) and The King’s Speech (2010) head to HBO Max, along with the Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen trilogy… In advance of Oprah Winfrey‘s chat with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this weekend, the True Royalty TV streaming service presents two documentaries: Harry and Meghan: The Price of Freedom and Meghan Markle: Changing Traditions… Beset yet again by controversy, ABC’s The Bachelor (8/7c) lets the “Women Tell All” in the annual gripe session among the roseless. It was pre-taped, which means host Chris Harrison is still on board… It’s time for a road trip on The CW’s All American (8/7c) when Spencer (Daniel Ezra) and his posse head to Las Vegas to see Coop (Bre-Z) and Layla (Greta Onieogou) perform on tour… The spectacular Croatian coast is the backdrop for a second season of Bravo’s Below Deck Sailing Yacht (9/8c), which unfortunately lets the camera-hogging crew of Captain Glenn Shephard’s Parsifal III get in the way of the scenery… A treat for Lent: Food Network’s Easter Basket Challenge (10/9c, also streaming on Discovery+) sets seven bakers on seasonal tasks, with a $25,000 grand prize waiting for the winner in a golden Easter egg. The first challenge: jellybean-inspired pop art pastry tarts.