Here’s what up in the world of TV for Tuesday, September 20. All times are Eastern.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine/New Girl (Fox, 8 p.m./8:30 p.m.): Fox’s stalwart Tuesday night sitcoms are properly reunited after a couple years of Sunday reshufflings and The Grinder (R.I.P.). Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a particularly intriguing opening to its fourth season, with a three-part arc following Peralta and Holt as they remain living in Florida as part of Witness Protection. Meanwhile, New Girl’s premiere finds Nick returning from a summer away and Schmidt and Cece looking to buy a house, both of which sound like good reasons to go ahead and sound the “wacky complications ensue” claxon. LaToya Ferguson is back on the Brooklyn Nine-Nine beat, while Erik Adams hands off his New Girl duties to new reviewer Emily L. Stephens.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, 10 p.m.): The fourth season begins with S.H.I.E.L.D. once more stepping out of the shadows as a legitimate organization, which must be nice for them. That does mean Agent Coulson has to step aside as director—because Nick Fury just sees the guy as a B+ player, we guess—but that just frees up his schedule to go tracking down Inhumans. Also, Fitz and Simmons are looking to move ahead in their relationship, which seems kind of inevitable, given how perfect a couple’s portmanteau they always had together. Alex McCown-Levy will keep continue to keep tabs with weekly episodic reviews.
Defying The Nazis: The Sharps’ War (PBS, 9 p.m.): This two-hour documentary looks at the Sharps, Unitarian minister Waitstill and social worker Martha, who were posted to Czechoslovakia during World War II and used their position to help hundreds of refugees flee the Nazis. This ought to be just the right mix of inspiring and heartrending.
SmackDown! SmackDown! SmackDown!
WWE SmackDown Live (USA, 8 p.m.): Intercontinental Champion the Miz has resumed his feud with his former protégé and current general manager Daniel Bryan by demanding a new contract that reflects his status as the Blue Brand’s biggest star, with him even threatening to walk out if he doesn’t get what he wants.
And you know what? LaToya Ferguson might think the Miz is being a stupid idiot, but we’ve always said we should model ourselves on the A-Lister, so it’s high time we make some demands of our own. Time for us to be recognized as the greatest What’s On Tonight correspondent of them all, dammit! We’re waiting, A.V. Club management!
Premieres and finales
NCIS (CBS, 8 p.m.): While we’re waiting for negotiations to begin, we might as well check in on the start of the 14th (14th!) season of NCIS, which apparently features a car explosion that has something to do with “an NCIS special agent who disappeared six months ago while on a deep undercover assignment in Argentina.” There’s, uh, a lot of call for American Naval officers to go investigating crimes in Argentina, is there? Look, if this all ends with the team somehow reigniting the Falklands War, we won’t complain.
Bull (CBS, 9 p.m.): Can a show with as ribald a tagline as “He’ll get you off”—complete with one hell of a scoundrel’s smirk—really fit in when sandwiched between a pair of morally upright NCISes? Well, since the show is all about how “renowned psychologist Dr. Jason Bull heads a prolific trial consulting service” and is somehow loosely based on the life of Dr. Phil, we’re going to say… yes. A million times yes.
NCIS: New Orleans (CBS, 10 p.m.): Here’s your annual reminder that Scott Bakula plays a character named Dwayne Cassius Pride, because life is amazing sometimes. Speaking of which, did you know we’re pretty much the world’s foremost Scott Bakula expert? It’s true! So come on, TV Club, come recognize our greatness and give us a new deal! Don’t force us to take more extreme, edgy measures…
Scream Queens (Fox, 9 p.m.): The over-the-top, sort of comedic, Ryan Murphy-produced horror show that isn’t American Horror Story is back for a second season. Emma Roberts and Jamie Lee Curtis are back for more, this time bringing in a pair of doctors played by John Stamos—who is doing just fine after Grandfathered got canceled, thanks for asking—and Taylor Lautner. Also, their names are Dr. Brock Holt and Dr. Cassidy Cascade, because Ryan Murphy is crazy in that exact way.
This Is Us (NBC, 10 p.m.): This dramedy stars Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia as the leads of an ensemble of people who were all born on the same day and have a bunch of weird, unexpected connections. Honestly, we’re not sure what’s going on with this one, but it’s created by Dan Fogelman, the guy who wrote Tangled and created The Neighbors and Galavant, so it at least ought to be interesting (Gwen Ihnat thought so when she saw the pilot). Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for TV Club to meet with us and renegotiate. Maybe it’s time for us to start threatening retirement.
That’s right! We’ve got a lot left in the tank! Moving on!
Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman (Science, 10 p.m.): Another season of Morgan Freeman asking the questions that have long perplexed the most stoned of our college dorm rooms ends with him wondering “whether biology can be augmented with technology so that everyone can be a genius.” We’re going to file that one under “maybe, we guess, depending on how you define genius, but this sounds like the premise of about half of all dystopian science fiction stories, so hard pass.” We… have a complicated filing system.
Milwaukee Blacksmith (History, 10 p.m./10:30 p.m.): It’s the season finale, which we presume means it’s time we learn the Milwaukee blacksmith was within ourselves all along. Oh look, here comes TV Editor and What’s On Tonight general manager Erik “Bischoff” Adams to sort things out and hear our demands. This ought to go well.
Wait, were we just fired? Pretty sure we just got fired. Give us a sec, we need to have our people go sort this out.
“Explorers,” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Netflix): We’re not sure how much longer we’ve got left around here, so we figured we might as well use this space to point to “Explorers,” our favorite episode of our favorite television show. We did an entire undergraduate thesis on the archaeology of ancient Polynesian navigators, so we’ve got a special reason to love an episode all about its interstellar equivalent, but it’s a wonderful, poignant episode regardless, with some great interactions between Sisko and his son.
Right, so, after consulting with (and possibly begging) Erik, he has agreed to give us one last chance to win back our job as the Tuesday What’s On Tonight Correspondent. All we have to do is win a career-threatening match next week against the opponent of his choosing. And that opponent is…