November will be playing the role of September in this year’s Fall Network schedules — as most of its post-Pandemic dramas are rolling out this week, including the return of the current longest-running scripted drama. Our focus turns to the latest great HBO doc, an outdoor car park comedy fest led by a crusty stand-up vet first known as the sidekick on MTV’s first game show, and the latest episode of one of TV’s best standard sitcoms.
Transhood [HBO, 9p]
Sharon Liese’s latest documentary is a variation on Michael Apted’s time-tested 7 Up formila as it follows four transgender children and teens through five years of their lives in what promises to be an unflinching look at the idea of when and where does our idea of sexuality begin. It’s a topic that really should be less controversial than it is, but here we are.
Colin Quinn & Friends: A Parking Lot Comedy Show [HBO Max]
America’s surly but lovable uncle is back with a new comedy special with a COVID-era twist. Colin Quinn is the Everyman that Trump said had been ignored, but he isn’t the stereotype of the racist Staten Island white guy either. Maybe there is a healthy middle after all. And the fact he brings a host of his standup pals along doesn’t hurt.
Superstore [NBC, 8p]
With the floor supervisor position open, Jonah “throws his hat in the ring,” pitting him against Dina, the store’s self-appointed assistant manager. Glenn and Mateo, the store’s polar opposites, struggle to find the right balance. I know this is the “B” storyline, but given their past (that time Glenn covered for Mateo’s immigration status) and differences, I look forward to this storyline the most. I love an odd couple and (what I hope is) a happy ending.
BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:
- Klunk, klunk. Even in the age of Pandemic that paired sound, the “neep neep” of our generation, grooves on. Second only to The Simpsons‘ 32 seasons as long-living scripted shows go, Law & Order: SVU opens its 22nd season tonight (or roughly 39% of star Mariska Hargitay’s life) on NBC as the premier standing headline-ripping show tackles the tension between the NYPD and New York’s residents.
- ABC takes its stand down in Shondaland as Ms. Rimes’ signature show, Grey’s Anatomy begins its 17th season with the doctors one month into being wayleighed by the COVID epidemic. The disease also takes center stage on the 4th season debut of its spinoff, Station 19.
- In the category of our favorite actors and their questionable sitcom choices, CBS brings us Walton Goggins in the second season debut of The Unicorn, the tale of a kindly widower as he is pressured by his pals into the dating world and Thomas Middleditch in the second episode of B Positive, as a dying man whose kidney match is a quirky old flame.
- If you want to know how to get, how to get to Sesame Street, it has become increasingly complicated over the years. After generations on PBS and a few years on HBO proper, this year the sunny, cloud-chasing-away days will take place on HBO Max, with the episodes dropping a year later on PBS Kids. So, if you’re counting, that one [ha-ha-ha-haaaah], two [ha-ha-ha-haaaah], three [ha=ha=ha=haaaaah], FOUR different virtual homes in the course of just a few years for the long-running muppets-and-mensches-teaching-numbers-and-words show. We need to get out more… oh, right, the Pandemic.
- The most cleverly named reality show about a mid-level wrestling star and his wife, Miz & Mrs., returns on USA.
- And we’ll close on one of the most awkward tonal shifts with HBO Max’s new gritty Israeli import mini-series about the tragedy of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Valley of Tears.