FX’s American Crime Story franchise begins a new limited series based on the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. Netflix’s Untold series of sports documentaries concludes with a timely story about a tennis star’s struggle with anxiety. OWN’s Queen Sugar returns for a sixth season. Celebrity cameos spice up a new episode of Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building. A curated critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
A lurid new edition of the Emmy-winning Crime Story franchise features an all-star cast impersonating the players in the late-1990s sex scandal that ended with President Bill Clinton (Clive Owen) being impeached on grounds of perjury and obstruction of justice. Impeachment unfolds primarily from the perspective of the women caught up in the political and media machinery. An unrecognizable Sarah Paulson is Linda Tripp, the future Judas who befriends young Monica Lewinsky (a remarkable Beanie Feldstein) when both are relocated from the White House to the Pentagon for very different reasons. On a parallel track, Paula Jones (a poignant Annaleigh Ashford) is urged to sue the president for sexual harassment. (See the full review.)
Timely in light of recent events in the sports world, and as the U.S. Open tennis tournament heads into its final week, the final installment of the sports docuseries profiles Mardy Fish, a rising tennis star a decade ago whose career was derailed by the crippling effects of severe anxiety disorder. When facing superstar Roger Federer as the No. 1-ranked American players at the 2012 U.S. Open quarterfinals, Fish’s anxiety under pressure led him to bow out, quit tennis and seek professional help. He’s now the U.S. Davis Cup coach with an important story to tell.
The acclaimed family drama returns for a sixth season, emerging from the pandemic with its social conscience undimmed. In the premiere, activist Nova (Rutina Wesley) publishes an article about defunding the police, and her vaccination drive doesn’t go off as smoothly as she hoped. On the home front, Ralph Angel’s (Kofi Siriboe) anticipation of a new baby with Darla (Bianca Lawson) is clouded by financial worries.
The amateur-sleuth neighbors played by Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez in this mystery-comedy have zeroed in on a new suspect who lives in their building: none other than Sting, who was so mean to Oliver’s (Short) poisoned pooch in the elevator. But how to approach the famous musician and get him to open up for their podcast? Enter “the queen of murder podcasts,” whose celebrity identity we’re told is a spoiler. Let’s just say she advises them to “embrace the mess” as they investigate, and they’re more than eager to comply.
Inside Tuesday TV:
- Expedition Bermuda Triangle (8/7c, History): A new edition of History’s Greatest Mysteries reveals discoveries made in the infamous waters off the coast of Florida by Marine biologist/lead diver Mike Barnette and his exploration team. Among the finds: wreckage of a WWII plane that may belong to the missing “Flight 19” squadron, and a shipwreck that might be The Sandra, a cargo ship that vanished in 1950.
- Teen Mom OG (8/7c, MTV): Life isn’t easy for these young mothers as their messy personal lives play out while the cameras roll in a new season of the influential reality series. Followed by a new season of spinoff Teen Mom: Young & Pregnant (9/8c).
- Frontline (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): The distinguished public-affairs series looks at “America After 9/11” in a two-hour report from Frontline veteran Michael Kirk. The special examines the legacy of the terrorist attacks in government policy through three presidencies, culminating in the recent tragic chaos of the Afghanistan evacuation.
- Air Disasters (10/9c, Smithsonian Channel): The series looks back at how the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon was achieved, and how the events of 9/11 changed air travel.
- Inside the NFL (streaming on Paramount+): For the sports-analysis series’ new season on a new platform, 12-year NFL veteran and three-time Super Bowl champ (and MVP in 2019) Julian Edelman joins host James Brown in studio with analysts Phil Simms, Brandon Marshall and returning contributors Ray Lewis and Michael Irvin.
- Michelle Carter: Love, Texts & Death (streaming on discovery+): The subject of a previous HBO documentary and a forthcoming Hulu docudrama starring Elle Fanning, this two-hour special looks at the troubling case of then-teenage Michelle, convicted for involuntary manslaughter for her role in the suicide of boyfriend Conrad Roy in 2014. Their secret texts led authorities to believe Michelle had actively urged Conrad, who suffered from depression, to take his own life.