What’s on TV This Week: ‘The Big Leap’ and ‘The Wonder Years’
Between network, cable and streaming, the modern television landscape is a vast one. Here are some of the shows, specials and movies coming to TV this week, Sept. 20-26. Details and times are subject to change.
THE BIG LEAP 9 p.m. on Fox. Monday night will bring the premiere episodes of two new shows that Mike Hale, the New York Times television critic, included in his list of 31 television shows to watch this fall. First up is Fox’s “The Big Leap,” a scripted comedy from Liz Heldens (“Friday Night Lights,” “The Passage”) about a group of people auditioning for a TV dance competition. Next, at 10 p.m., NBC will debut ORDINARY JOE, a drama that follows a man (James Wolk) who is faced with a life-changing decision. We see him live three parallel lives that result from his choice. In one, he’s a doctor. In another, he’s a police officer. In the third, he’s a rock star.
FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956) 6:15 p.m. on TCM. When this science-fiction classic debuted in 1956, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer screened it at the Globe (now the Lunt-Fontanne Theater) on Broadway. That audiences viewed “Forbidden Planet” at a venue which shared its name with the Elizabethan playhouse where Shakespeare debuted many of his plays is fitting: The film shares more than a little DNA with “The Tempest.” It stars Leslie Nielsen as the commander of a spacecraft sent to investigate a colony of scientists left on a far-off planet years before. There, he finds that Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and Altaira, the doctor’s daughter (Anne Francis), are the only survivors of the colony. As the film goes on, he (and the audience) begin to learn why. The Times critic Bosley Crowther wrote that the movie offers audiences “the gaudiest layout of gadgets this side of a Florida hotel.” It would have more competition these days, of course, thanks to the decades of gaudy sci-fi films that have come out since — and which “Forbidden Planet” helped inspire.
UP (2009) 5 p.m. on Freeform. The actor Ed Asner died late last month at 91. Whether you associate him with “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” on which he played a crotchety journalist, or with Pixar’s “Up” may depend on your date of birth. For some, he’ll forever be associated with Carl Fredricksen, the widower from “Up” who attaches about one hundred birthday parties’ worth of balloons to his house, then sets off for South America without realizing that there’s a young stowaway on his vessel. For another do-it-yourself tribute tied to an August celebrity death, leave “Up” on for the kids and go to the next room to hear the Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who died in late August at 80, in Martin Scorsese’ THE DEPARTED (2006), which airs at 7 p.m. on Paramount Network and opens with the Stones’s “Gimme Shelter.”
THE WONDER YEARS 8:30 p.m. on ABC. The Times television critic Mike Hale included this ABC reboot in his list of 31 television shows to watch this fall. The show is based on the coming-of-age series of the same name, which starred Fred Savage and ran for six seasons beginning in 1988. Like the original, the new version opens in the late 1960s and centers on a boy (Elisha Williams) and his family. This time, though, that family is Black and living in Montgomery, Ala., which has been transformed by the Civil Rights Movement. Don Cheadle narrates.
KENNY ROGERS: ALL IN FOR THE GAMBLER 9 p.m. CBS. This tribute concert for the country star Kenny Rogers was recorded before Rogers’s death last year. It includes performances from Dolly Parton, Chris Stapleton, Lady A, Lionel Richie, Reba McEntire and more artists, who play songs and tell anecdotes about their own connection with Rogers and his music.
THE SHOW (2021) 9 p.m. on Showtime. Every Super Bowl halftime show requires a dizzying amount of planning and preparation, but the Weeknd’s performance this year called for a special kind of choreography: dancing around pandemic-era limitations. This documentary covers the planning and execution of that performance.
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (2020) 8 p.m. on HBO. Emerald Fennell won an Academy Award for her screenplay for this dark revenge thriller. Perhaps more important, she prompted a lot of discussion about sexual assault and accountability through the story of Cassandra (Carey Mulligan), a woman set on avenging the sexual assault of her college best friend years before. Cassandra’s trajectory is briefly altered after she reconnects with a former classmate (Bo Burnham) — but then ramps up to an intense finale. In her review for The Times, Jeannette Catsoulis praised Mulligan’s performance but found the movie itself to be less effective. “Mulligan lends depth and sensitivity to a character that’s little more than a vengeful doll,” Catsoulis wrote. “Supporting performances from Laverne Cox, as Cassandra’s sardonic boss, and Alison Brie, as a former school friend, add snap and texture to a movie that’s too tentative to sell the damage at its core.”
THE TONY AWARDS PRESENT: BROADWAY’S BACK! 9 p.m. on CBS. The Tony Awards are on Sunday night. You’ll need an internet connection to watch most of it: The live ceremony is being shown exclusively on the streaming service Paramount+ beginning at 7 p.m. At 9 p.m., both CBS and Paramount+ will show a special, “Broadway’s Back!,” in which three key awards will be presented: best play, best revival of a play and best musical. The special will also include performances of Broadway classics and songs from a few of the musicals that are up for the best musical awards, including the night’s most-nominated show, “Jagged Little Pill.”
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