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'The Trouble With Maggie Cole' reaches PBS

'The Trouble With Maggie Cole' reaches PBS

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Small-town gossip looms large in the U.K. import “The Trouble With Maggie Cole” (7 p.m., PBS, TV-14). Dawn French (“French & Saunders”) stars in the title role, as the dowdy proprietor of a gift shop who fancies herself the local historian of a beautiful little town with legends dating back to medieval Britain.

“Trouble” begins when a slick London-based radio interviewer arrives for some dreary historical anniversary. Bored with Maggie’s civic pride and predictable patter, he plies her with gin and fawning attention and gets her to gossip about her friends and neighbors.

The resulting broadcast is cringe-inducing for all concerned, particularly because some of her careless observations contain more than a whiff of truth.

Pleasant to look at and blessed with a game cast including Mark Heap, Julie Hesmondhalgh and up-and-comer Arthur McBain, “Maggie” is more than troubled by problematic pacing and tone.

It’s clearly aimed at fans of British shows set in similarly bucolic settings. The pilot’s buildup to Maggie’s mortification seems belabored, and its central “tragedy” of social embarrassment doesn’t quite measure up to the mass slaughter of “Midsomer Murders” or the near constant mutual contempt exhibited on “Doc Martin.” Like that tale of a brilliant surgeon set in a postcard-perfect resort filled with village idiots, “Maggie” might go down better in shorter dollops. It’s a 30-minute show that lasts nearly an hour.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (6 p.m., CBS): interviews with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who recently survived a poisoning he contends was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Matthew Broderick stars in the 1986 comedy “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (7 p.m., CBS), notable for its celebration of teens as smug consumerists.

The Rams and 49ers meet in NFL action (7:20 p.m., NBC).

Travel plans raise concerns on “Flesh and Blood” on “Masterpiece” (8 p.m., PBS, TV-14).

A new threat emerges on “Fear the Walking Dead” (8 p.m., AMC, TV-MA).

Arrivals and departures on the season finale of “Lovecraft Country” (8 p.m., HBO, TV-MA).

Brown and Onion travel to meet Frederick Douglass on “The Good Lord Bird” (8 p.m., Showtime, TV-MA).

Josto makes his move on “Fargo” (9 p.m., FX, TV-MA).

The cult faces charges on the season finale of “The Vow” (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA).

SERIES NOTES

“Football Night in America” (6 p.m., NBC, TV-14) ... Ghouls go wild on “Treehouse of Horror XXXI” on “The Simpsons” (7 p.m., Fox, TV-14) ... “Supermarket Sweep” (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... Osborn’s origins on “Pandora” (7 p.m., CW, TV-PG) ... A visit to a dead mall on “Bless the Harts” (7:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).

Tricks and treats on “Bob’s Burgers” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14) ... “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... Improvisations on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” (8 p.m., CW, r, TV-14 and 8:30 p.m., r, TV-PG) ... The unkindest cutaway of all on “Family Guy” (8:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14) ... “Card Sharks” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... Bonnie has doubts about Adam’s sponsor on “Mom” (9:30 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).

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