Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Can we interest you in a good Stephen King adaptation?

Brendan Gleeson, Jharrel Jerome
Photo: AT&T Audience Network

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, September 10. All times are Eastern. 


Top pick

Mr. Mercedes (Audience, 10 p.m., third season premiere): Despite being on a channel most people don’t get (only DirecTV subscribers get Audience Network) and being stubbornly denied the opportunity for anyone else to see it via, say, reruns on one of the popular streaming services, Mr. Mercedes has quietly delivered arguably the best translation of Stephen King’s writing to the TV series format. After a strong first season adapting King’s original novel of his three-book series starring retired cop turning private detective Bill Hodges (played wonderfully, with maximum orneriness, by Brendan Gleeson), the second season jumped ahead to the third book, which took a hard turn into supernatural territory after the first story had stuck to a grounded serial-killer mystery. But it looks like the third season—now jumping back to address the plot of the second book the show previously passed over—will get back to the meat-and-potatoes stuff of real-world crime.

The season premiere finds Bill Hodges and his two partners-in-crime-solving, young next-door neighbor Jerome (current Emmy nominee Jharrel Jerome) and the awkward and meticulous Holly Gibney (series MVP Justine Lupe, of Succession), pulled into the local investigation of the death of John Rothstein (Bruce Dern), one of the most famous writers in America. Being a huge fan, Hodges feels compelled to get to the bottom of the murder—even though we, the audience, already know exactly what happened, as the deadly confrontation with a pair of would-be robbers kicks off the episode. Less a whodunit than a what-will-happen-next, the narrative is another strong season kickoff for a series that has delivered universally good performances and solid, grounded writing from creator David E. Kelley, who has pulled in a murderer’s row of co-writers drawn from the fiction world, like Dennis Lehane and Amy M. Holmes. [Alex McLevy]

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Regular coverage

DuckTales (Disney Channel, 3 p.m.)

Wild card

Bachelor In Paradise (ABC, 8 p.m.): Come on, this is hilarious. (If you’re in a hurry, skip to around the 3:30 mark for something truly ridiculous.)

Tonight’s Bachelor In Paradise marks the end of the road for all the remaining couples, meaning they can either break up, not break up but also not get engaged (That’s the right one! Do that one!), or get TV-engaged and try to hold on for the reunion special, which airs next week. All we want is more stock footage of newborn foals learning to stand accompanied by triumphant crabs.

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About the author

Alex McLevy

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.

Allison Shoemaker

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves television, bourbon, and dramatically overanalyzing social interactions.