TV best bets with Jane Fonda, returns of ‘Big Bang Theory,’ ‘NCIS,’ ‘The Good Doctor,’ ‘This is Us’

Originally posted Sunday, September 23, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

This is the week that once defined TV: broadcast debut week! Sure, it is still happening but it’s also a week where Netflix released 14 new shows, HBO comes out with a big Jane Fonda documentary and Amazon trots out a modern retelling of “King Lear” with Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson and Emily Watson.

Most of the top-rated broadcast shows return. Among those still pulling in big ratings: CBS’s ‘The Big Bang Theory,” NBC’s “The Voice,” ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Good Doctor” Monday, CBS’s “NCIS” and NBC’s ‘This is Us’ Tuesday, Fox’s “Empire” and ABC’s “Modern Family” Wednesday, ABC’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy” and NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” Thursday, CBS’s “MacGyver,” “Hawaii Five-O” and “Blue Bloods” Friday and Fox’s “The Simpsons” and “Familiy Guy” Sunday.

CBS is bringing back two shows from the past: a re-imagining of “Magnum P.I.” Monday and a return of the original “Murphy Brown” gang Thursday. 

Networks are also trying new series such as NBC’s “Manifest” (”Cast Away” meets “Lost”), CBS’s “FBI” (the title is self explanatory) and NBC’s “New Amsterdam” (doctor saves hospital), Fox’s “The Cool Kids” (just like “The Golden Girls,” only cooler) and CBS’s “God Friended Me” (an effort to bring religion into primetime with a modern twist.)

If you want some real grim viewing, ABC brings us back to the Jonestown massacre of 40 years ago on Friday night. 

This covers Monday, September 24 through Sunday, September 30, 2018. 

MONDAY

“The Big Bang Theory” 8 p.m. CBS (12th season debut) — Sheldon and Amy's honeymoon runs aground in New York, while Penny and Leonard discover they are uncomfortably similar to Amy's parents,.

“Dancing With the Stars” 8 p.m. ABC (27th season debut) — Among the contestants include Nancy McKeon, John Schneider and DeMarcus Ware. 

“Jane Fonda in Five Acts” 8 p.m. HBO — This documentary provides an intimate perspective on Jane Fonda's multi-faceted life as an award-winning actress, sex icon, political activist, feminist, fitness guru, mother, and three-time divorcee.

“The Resident” 8 p.m. Fox (second season debut) — Chastain Memorial Hospital suffers a blackout that requires the staff to treat their patients without the help of any technology.

“The Voice” 8 p.m. NBC (15th season debut) — Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson, alums of that other singing reality show, are competing coaches for the first time.

“Young Sheldon” 8:31 p.m. CBS (second season debut) — Sheldon dismantles the refrigerator to stop an annoying hum, and then gets a paper route to pay for the repairs.

“Better Call Saul” 9 p.m. AMC — JJimmy goes to great lengths to right a wrong, as Kim pulls out all the stops for a case. Mike lets his team blow off steam. Nacho receives a visitor.

“Magnum P.I.” 9 p.m. CBS (new series) — Decorated former Navy SEAL Thomas Magnum returns home from Afghanistan and repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator.

Bull” 10 p.m. CBS (third season debut) — Bull returns to work following his heart attack with a new rich client for the firm to represent: an insurance company being sued by a dying mother for denying coverage of her liver transplant.

The Good Doctor” 10 p.m. ABC (second season debut) — Shaun's proposed treatment for a homeless patient puts him and Jared in Andrews' crosshairs.

Manifest” 10 p.m. NBC (new series) — A flight leaves one year and arrives several years later. Very "Twilight Zone'!

Lodge 49” 10:05 p.m. AMC — Dud and Ernie accompany Captain on a journey into the night. Liz attempts to climb the corporate ladder.

TUESDAY

“Will Smith: The Jump” 3:01 a.m. YouTube — Will Smith bungee jumps into the Grand Canyon for charity. 

“The Gifted” 8 p.m. Fox (second season debut) — Reeva Payge purges the Inner Circle of those who disagree with her, and she emerges as their sole leader.

“NCIS” 8 p.m. CBS (16th season debut) — A month after the Director Vance kidnapping, Gibbs is named acting director in his absence while the team searches worldwide for his whereabouts.

“FBI” 9 p.m. CBS (new series) — A bomb explosion devastates a residential apartment building, and special agents Maggie Bell and Omar Adom "OA" Zidan of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigate a possible war between rival gangs.

“Lethal Weapon” 9 p.m. Fox (second season debut) — Two Castaways come across an abandoned camp full of journals and resources left by other survivors.

“This is Us” 9 p.m. NBC (third season debut) — Randall, Kate and Kevin find themselves on new paths as they each celebrate their 38th birthday.

“Mayans M.C.” 10 p.m. FX — A new threat in Santo Padre presents the Mayans new obstacles and opportunities.

“NCIS: New Orleans” 10 p.m. CBS (fifth season debut) — Pride fights for his life in the ICU, and the team scours the city for the hit woman who attempted to assassinate him.

“The Purge” 10 p.m. USA — Jane must leave the office. Lila consoles Jenna. Penelope is thrust into the Carnival of Flesh.

“New Amsterdam” 10:01 p.m. NBC (new series) — The premiere of the drama about a new medical director, Max Goodwin, at America's oldest hospital. He sets out to tear up the bureaucracy and provide exceptional care.

WEDNESDAY

“Chicago Med” 8 p.m. NBC (fourth season debut) — Goodwin finds herself quickly clashing with the new hospital COO while April questions whether or not Ethan's sister, Emily, is using again.

“Empire” 8 p.m. Fox (fifth season debut) — Cookie and Lucious are still in the midst of picking up the pieces two years after losing Empire to Eddie Barker.

“The Goldbergs” 8 p.m. ABC (sixth season debut) — It's Adam's 16th birthday, but his parents are distracted by Barry and Lainey's engagement and Erica's band ambitions to remember the big day.

“Survivor” 8 p.m. CBS (37th season debut) — Atlantan Davie Rickenbacker and former Tech post-doc student Christian Hubicki compete in this "David vs. Goliath" thematic. 

“Chicago Fire” 9 p.m. NBC (seventh season debut) — Casey tries to deal with his unsettled personal life and the firehouse welcomes a new member.

“Modern Family” 9 p.m. ABC (10th season debut) — The Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan get together at the annual Fourth of July parade where Jay will be acting as the grand marshal.

Star” 9 p.m. Fox (third season debut) — The show picks up three months later, as Star returns home from touring, and Alex and Simone's fates are finally answered.

Big Brother” 9:30 p.m. CBS (20th season finale) — JC, Kaycee and Tyler are vying for $1 million. Surprisingly, Tyler is the favored. 

Single Parents” 9:31 p.m. ABC (new series) — Brad Garrett is back! Will's focus on raising Sophie causes him to lose sight of who he is.

Chicago PD” 10 p.m. NBC (sixth season debut) — Bad heroin is causing overdoses in Chicago, and Intelligence is a man down with Voight suspended.

“A Million Little Things” 10 p.m. ABC (new series) — An unexpected death has reverberations for a group of friends in Boston, all of whom feel stuck in their lives. James Roday (”Psych”) returns to TV. 

“South Park” 10 p.m. Comedy (22nd season debut) — Ol' reliable. 

THURSDAY

“The Big Bang Theory” 8 p.m CBS (time slot debut)  Sheldon and Amy drive themselves crazy trying to figure out what "perfect gift" Leonard and Penny gave them for their wedding.

“The Good Place” 8 p.m NBC (third season debut)  Michael intervenes in the near-death accidents of Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason on Earth, in hopes that a second chance at life allows them to become better versions of themselves.

“Grey's Anatomy” 8 p.m ABC (15th season debut)  The doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial vie for a new position. Meredith is seemingly distracted and struggles to stay focused, and Maggie finds herself the keeper of a big secret while Amelia and Owen try to figure out their relationship.

“Young Sheldon” 8:31 p.m CBS (time slot debut)  Dr. Sturgis bonds with Paige, another 10-year-old genius; and Sheldon's jealousy leads Meemaw to intervene.

“Law & Order: SVU” 9 p.m NBC (20th season debut) —  Teenager Sam Conway shows evidence of rape but refuses to name his attacker.

“Mom” 9:01 p.m CBS (sixth season debut)  Christy has second thoughts about law school after a tough first day.

“Murphy Brown” 9:31 p.m CBS (11th season debut)  Murphy decides to return to the airwaves as the host of a cable network's morning news show; and sets out to recruit her "FYI" team to join her.

“How to Get Away With Murder” 10 p.m ABC (fifth season finale)  Annalise selects students for her new legal clinic at Middleton and juggles job offers from competing firms, all while the Keating 4 attempt to move on from last semester's turmoil.

“S.W.A.T.” 10 p.m CBS (second season debut)  The SWAT team engages in a standoff with human traffickers holding child hostages when a major earthquake hits Los Angeles during their operation and compromises the takedown.

FRIDAY

“King Lear” 3:01 a.m. Amazon  A modern retelling of "King Lear” with Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson and Emily Watson.

“Truth & Lies: Jonestown, Paradise Lost” 8 p.m. ABC — A look at the 1978 mass murder-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, where more than 900 people were led to their deaths by Peoples Temple cult leader Jim Jones, through the lens of Jones' two surviving sons, Jim Jones Jr. and Stephan Jones.

“Last Man Standing” 8 p.m. Fox (seventh season debut) — Picking up a year after the sixth season finale, Mike and Vanessa eagerly await Eve's visit home from the Air Force Academy.

“MacGyver” 8 p.m. CBS (third season debut) — Three months after quitting the Phoenix Foundation and moving to Nigeria, Mac puts aside his differences with his father and returns when he hears Jack is the target of a murderous dictator he double-crossed..

“The Cool Kids” 8:30 p.m. Fox (new series) — David Alan Grier, Vicki Lawrence, Leslie Jordan and Martin Mull in a retirement community. 

“Hawaii Five-O” 9 p.m. CBS (ninth season debut) — After Steve's CIA agent friend is killed, McGarrett lets himself be captured by the group he thinks is responsible and endures a torturous sensory deprivation tank to find the killer.

“Hell's Kitchen” 9 p.m. Fox (18th season debut)  Two Atlantans - Gizzy Barton and Scotley Innis are part of the "rookie" team.

“Blue Bloods” 10 p.m. CBS (ninth season debut) — Danny takes on a personal case involving a drug cartel member, Louis Delgado, who Danny believes is responsible for torching his house.

“Wyonna Earp” 10 p.m. Syfy (third season finale)  The Pledge Moon looms over Purgatory as Wynonna and Waverly must end the family curse before their demonic foe puts an end to the Earp line and humanity once and for all.

WEEKEND

“Saturday Night Live” 11:29 p.m. Saturday NBC (44th season debut) — Adam Driver hosts. Kanye West performs. 

“The Simpsons” 8 p.m. Sunday Fox (30th season debut) — Bart takes a dare, and ends up in the hospital.

“God Friended Me” 8:30 p.m. Sunday CBS (new series) — Outspoken atheist podcaster Miles Finer finds his life turned upside down when he receives a friend request from "God" on social media and unwittingly becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.

“Family Guy” 9 p.m. Sunday Fox (17th season debut) — Brian meets and falls in love with a woman named Jess, who reveals she has cancer.

“Fear the Walking Dead” 9 p.m. Sunday AMC (fourth season finale) — Morgan struggles to find the strength to help friends in dire need before it's too late.

“The Deuce” 9 p.m. Sunday HBO — Ashley and Abby resolve to track down the identity of a 16-year-old sex worker killed in a recent fire.

“The Last Ship” 9 p.m. Sunday TNT — As Nathan James and her allies attempt to prevent the enemy moving north, Chandler's haunting visions manifest into reality.

“Shameless” 9 p.m. Sunday Showtime — Election day puts Frank and Fiona in a head to head battle as they each try to round up votes for their candidate.

“NCIS: Los Angeles” 9:30 p.m. Sunday CBS (10th season debut) — Gravely injured and unable to communicate with the team in the U.S., Callen,.

“Rel” 9:30 p.m. Sunday Fox (time slot debut) —Rel finds the motivation to get off the couch and invites his Dad, Brittany and Nat to brunch.

“Insecure” 10:30 p.m. Sunday HBO (third season finale) — No descriptive, only the show title: "Ghost-like."

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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