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TV best bets for the week of Sept. 22

Updated September 20, 2019 - 10:39 am

Sunday, Sept. 22

71st Primetime Emmy Awards

Fox, 5 p.m.

Fox has decided to forgo a host for the annual television awards ceremony, which will air live from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. HBO’s drama “Game of Thrones” and Amazon Prime’s comedy “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” dominate the nominations in categories that recognize small-screen excellence.

“The Circus”

Showtime, 8 p.m.

New episodes

With a large field of presidential candidates battling for the White House, Showtime cameras are busy crisscrossing the country following an unprecedented cast of Democratic candidates in their quest to face off against Donald Trump. Eight new episodes will air this fall.

“Stephen King: Master of Horror”

Reelz, 9 p.m.

Old friends, movie critics and stars of Stephen King film adaptations help tell the incredible tales behind the best-selling author’s most famous books and movies. The hourlong special shows how King’s childhood and hometown influenced his creations and goes behind the scenes of his latest Hollywood adaptation.

Monday, Sept. 23

“The Voice”

NBC, 8 p.m.

Season premiere

Planet Hollywood Resort headliner Gwen Stefani takes the place of Adam Levine to coach alongside Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend for Season 17 of the seat-spinning singing competition. Carson Daly returns as host.

“Prodigal Son”

Fox, 9 p.m.

New series

In this slick psychological drama, Tom Payne (fan-favorite Jesus from “The Walking Dead”) stars as Malcolm Bright, a criminal profiler who has made hunting murderers his life’s work and whose father (Michael Sheen from “Masters of Sex”) is the notorious serial killer “the Surgeon.” When Malcolm is hired by an old family friend (Lou Diamond Phillips) to help the NYPD stop a copycat killer, Malcolm discovers that he works best in conjunction with his sociopath father.

“The Good Doctor”

ABC, 10 p.m.

Season premiere

Following what he believes was a disastrous first date with Carly (Jasika Nicole), Dr. Murphy (Freddie Highmore) proposes a radical surgery to save a newlywed woman’s life. Meanwhile, after the new chief of surgery, Dr. Lim (Christina Chang), announces that the residents can lead surgeries, Dr. Reznick (Fiona Gubelmann) and Dr. Park (Will Yun Lee) compete for the chance to operate on an elderly patient who has been diagnosed with cancer.

Tuesday, Sept. 24


CBS, 8 p.m.

Season premiere

In the 17th-season premiere, Ziva (Cote de Pablo) surprises Gibbs (Mark Harmon) with a cryptic warning, prompting him to question why she remained underground for years while being presumed dead by family and friends.


ABC, 9 p.m.

New series

This “Black-ish” spinoff recounts the unusual childhood of Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross) in the mid-’80s. Twelve-year-old Rainbow (Arica Himmel) and her family move to the suburbs after being forced out of their hippie commune. Bow and her siblings have to adjust to life in mainstream America, which hasn’t fully embraced the idea of a mixed-race family. Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tika Sumpter, Gary Cole and Christina Anthony also star.

“This Is Us”

NBC, 9 p.m.

Season premiere

The hit drama returns for its fourth season amid the Pearson family undergoing major life transitions. “We’ve got Randall and Beth’s move to Philadelphia and both of them embarking on new careers. We have Kate and Toby with a brand-new baby. And we have Kevin juggling his career, trying to figure out his romantic life, and of course trying to answer his eternal question of what is going to fulfill him in this life,” teases co-showrunner and executive producer Isaac Aptaker.

Wednesday, Sept. 25


CBS, 8 p.m.

Season premiere

Season 39 finds prior winners Boston Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine returning to the series, but as mentors rather than contestants. When this season’s castaways visit the former Sole Survivors on the “Island of the Idols,” they’ll try to learn from Mariano and Diaz-Twine’s prior success and strategies.

“The Masked Singer”

Fox, 8 p.m.

Season premiere

Last winter’s surprise hit returns with a two-hour season premiere and a fresh crop of celebs who are ready to show off their vocal talents, but not their faces. In each episode, celebrities present their best vocal performances while clad in outrageous costumes. After several clues are revealed about the costumed celeb’s identity, judges Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke offer their best guess of each masked singer’s identity.


ABC, 10 p.m.

New series

Based on the graphic novels, this series follows Dex Parios (Cobie Smulders), a military veteran with a gambling debt, PTSD and a dark view of the world, who decides to become a private investigator — all while taking care of her brother with Down syndrome with help from her friend Grey (Jake Johnson).

Thursday, Sept. 26

“The Unicorn”

CBS, 8:30 p.m.

New series

Walton Goggins (“Vice Principals,” “Justified”) stars as a charming, sought-after widower — a “unicorn” in the social media dating world — in this delightfully entertaining new comedy.

“Perfect Harmony”

NBC, 8:30 p.m.

New series

Disgraced former Princeton music professor Arthur Cochran (Bradley Whitford) is in his late wife’s Kentucky hometown when he encounters a ragtag church choir that could use some serious vocal lessons. Arthur soon discovers that he needs this choir as much as they need him. Anna Camp, Tymberlee Hill, Rizwan Manji and Will Greenberg also star.

“The Good Place”

NBC, 9 p.m.

Season premiere

As the fourth and final season begins, with Eleanor (Kristen Bell) assuming the role of the architect, the group adapts to the challenges facing them when four test subjects inhabit a new neighborhood under their supervision.

Friday, Sept. 27


Amazon Prime

Series finale

As the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series comes to an end, the cast and crew present a musical episode as its final bow. After the sudden death of Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor), ex-wife Shelly (Judith Light) embarks on creating a play that represents her family. As the Pfeffermans deal with grief in their own ways, they come together for a joyful celebration of transformation.

“The Politician”


New series

Ryan Murphy’s (“American Horror Story”) first production under his Netflix deal is this dark satire about what it takes to make a politician. Ben Platt plays wealthy student Payton Hobart. Payton has known since age 7 that he’s going to be president of the United States. But first, he’ll have to navigate the most treacherous political landscape of all: Saint Sebastian High School. Gynweth Paltrow, Jessica Lange and Zoey Deutch also star.

“Great Performances: The Riddle of Bach”

PBS, 9 p.m.

Travel to Germany and France to explore Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin. Host Scott Yoo and his wife, leading flutist Alice Dade, discover a melodic similarity with Vivaldi and a riddle hidden in Bach’s portrait.

Saturday, Sept. 28

“Trapped: The Alex Cooper Story”

Lifetime, 8 p.m.

This film is based on the memoir “Saving Alex” and follows 15-year-old Alex (Addison Holley), who, after she revealed that she was gay, was sent by her devoutly Mormon parents to a conversion therapy home intended to cure her homosexuality. After facing horrible punishments and beatings, Alex realized that she needed to submit in order to survive. And when she was eventually allowed to attend school, she was contacted an attorney (Wilson Cruz) who later helped orchestrate her escape.

“The Illustrated Man”

Reelz, 9 p.m.

This hourlong documentary explores how celebrities and fashion icons have helped reimagine tattoos from their stereotypical associations with sailors and criminals into a celebration of mainstream pop culture, fashion trends, branding and social influence.

“Saturday Night Live”

NBC, 8:30 p.m.

Season premiere

As the late-night institution begins its 45th season, Woody Harrelson (starring in the October theatrical release “Zombieland: Double Tap”) returns for his fourth appearance as host. He is joined by Billie Eilish, who is making her first appearance as musical guest in the wake of her best-selling debut studio album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

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