If last Sunday’s Emmy Awards showed us anything, it’s that actors can’t wait to work together again. Watching them receive awards in their separate homes underscored the crippling aspects of social isolation in a collaborative business. Until artists can assemble again on stages and in studios, we’ll have to settle for imports, repeats and recycled series.
CBS didn’t have far to go for its newest old favorite. “Star Trek: Discovery” (9 p.m., CBS) was the first original drama to stream on its CBS All Access service when it launched in 2017. For the uninitiated, it’s the first original “Star Trek” franchise since “Enterprise” wrapped up in 2005, and follows the action in the Federation just a decade before the original “Star Trek” series. In fact, it stars Anson Mount as Commander Christopher Pike. Fans of the original series recall Pike as the main character of the pilot episode of “Star Trek,” played by actor Jeffrey Hunter (“King of Kings”) way back in 1966. Hunter’s decision to leave the series opened a door for William Shatner to play Capt. James T. Kirk.
As a non-obsessive fan only casually familiar with “Star Trek” lore, I found “Discovery” a tad too earnest for my taste. If I’m going to spend time in this realm, I prefer “The Orville,” which mixes a bit of goofy humor with its messaging. “The Orville” will see a third season, but like all series, production has been complicated by COVID. It will move from Fox to Hulu when it beams down for season three.
Back on planet Earth, CBS All Access streams the original documentary “Console Wars.” Adapted from the 2014 book “Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation” by Blake J. Harris, it recalls a remarkably fierce fight between forces represented by cute little Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Viewers may also enjoy “High Score,” the six-part miniseries history of video games streaming on Netflix. The series reaches back to arcade days and interviews creators of games dating back some 40 years, starting with extensive interviews with Tomohiro Nishikado, the visionary behind “Space Invaders,” as well as MIT dropouts who “improved” upon games to create “Ms. Pac-Man,” and the creator of the “E.T.” console game, a misfire that nearly capsized an industry. While the visuals and technical polish of games have advanced by light-years since the 1970s, their addictive quality and time-consuming nature remain unchanged.
Matt Damon stars in the 2016 Chinese-American epic “The Great Wall” (6:30 p.m. and 8:25 p.m., FXM, TV-14). Like the recent “Mulan” from Disney, this movie proved that big pictures aimed at both U.S. and Chinese audiences can get lost in translation.
A glimpse at the new season of “The Masked Singer” (7 p.m., Fox, r, TV-PG).
Kim Cattrall and Gerald McRaney star in the televangelism soap opera “Filthy Rich” (8 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14).
“Agents of Chaos” (8 p.m., HBO, TV-MA), filmmaker Alex Gibney’s two-part survey of the mysteries and conspiracies behind Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, concludes.
“What on Earth?” (8 p.m., Science, TV-PG) explores theories that remains of an abandoned Peruvian village point to a Roman settlement, suggesting that explorers arrived in the Western Hemisphere 1,000 years before Columbus.
TCM unspools three widescreen Technicolor melodramas starring Rock Hudson and directed by Douglas Sirk: “Magnificent Obsession” (1:30 p.m., TV-G); “All That Heaven Allows” (3:30 p.m., TV-G) and “Written on the Wind” (5:15 p.m., TV-PG) from 1954, ’55 and ’56, respectively. Sirk and Hudson made nine movies together.
Julie Chen Moonves hosts “Big Brother” (7 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... “Celebrity Family Feud” (7 p.m., ABC, TV-14) ... Conspiracy theories explored on “Mysteries Decoded” (7 p.m., CW, TV-PG) ... “Love Island” (8 p.m., CBS) ... “Press Your Luck” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... Illusionists audition on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” (8 p.m., CW, r, TV-PG) ... Benson cares just too darned much on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (9 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14) ... Alec Baldwin hosts “Match Game” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
“The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” (10 p.m., Comedy Central) practices social distancing ... Jane Lynch appears on “Conan” (10 p.m., TBS) ... Jimmy Fallon welcomes Chris Rock, Jonathan Majors and Sasha Sloan on “The Tonight Show” (10:35 p.m., NBC) ... Norman Reedus and Amine appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (10:35 p.m., ABC).
Alicia Vikander, Maya Erskine, and Anna Konkle visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Sharon Stone and Alicia Keys appear on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” (11:35 p.m., CBS).
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