Don’t mess with success. That seems to be the strategy of network reality series. But how do you define success?
“Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14) offers a few new elements to his formula.
On this new series, Ramsay gives himself only 24 hours to revive and regenerate a restaurant’s reputation. The ticking clock may set a tight deadline for Ramsay, but it hardly matters to viewers since things always wrap up in an hour anyway.
Because so many restaurants and their staffs tend to disguise bad habits when Ramsay arrives, he fills the kitchen with tiny, hidden cameras powerful enough to capture chef shenanigans and various vermin.
And the surveillance and subterfuge don’t end there. Taking a cue from “Undercover Boss: Celebrity Edition,” Ramsay hides behind beards, wigs and prosthetics in order to spy on unsuspecting owners.
Like a meal at your regular restaurant, “Hell and Back” never strays from the familiar. Whether such sameness brings comfort or tedium is in the eye of the beholder.
It’s difficult to write about a television series starring a celebrity chef and not recall Anthony Bourdain, whose death shocked us last Friday.
With his Travel Channel series “No Reservations” and his CNN show “Parts Unknown,” Bourdain celebrated food and culture the world over.
Like any television personality, he had a lot of strong opinions, but he was open to conflicting ideas and was not afraid to reveal what he did not know or that he might be wrong. That in itself made him refreshing. Perhaps unique.
As a chef and as a television personality, he was always ready to celebrate the staff and crew who made his job easier and his “stardom” possible.
Far too much television and social media has become an echo chamber where we wall ourselves off from other people’s points of view. Tweets and Facebook posts are too often crafted to be the “last word” of a one-sided argument.
Bourdain dedicated his shows to dialogue. At the risk of sounding “elite,” I believe that conducting conversations about culture over glorious meals is the very essence of civilized behavior. And Bourdain made it seem cool. I am saddened that his voice has been silenced.
- Contestants learn how to approach a crab on “MasterChef” (7 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
- Jack convinces Kelly to join “Ozzy and Jack’s World Detour” (8 p.m., A&E, TV-14).
- Boat crash victims need care on “Code Black” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
- A milquetoast’s fantasies turn violent on “Reverie” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
- Will uncovers unsettling evidence on “Colony” (9 p.m., USA, TV-14).
- Jackie puts family first on “SIX” (9 p.m., History, TV-MA).
TCM unspools four films from director Sergio Leone. They include three Spaghetti Westerns starring Clint Eastwood, “A Fistful of Dollars” (7 p.m.), “For a Few Dollars More” (9 p.m.) and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (11:30 a.m.), as well as the 1961 sword-and-sandal epic “The Colossus of Rhodes” (2:45 a.m.).
Medical marijuana on “Bull” (7 a.m., CBS, r, TV-14) ... Miami qualifiers of “American Ninja Warrior” (7 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) ... On two helpings of “The Goldbergs” (ABC, r, TV-PG), driving lessons (7 p.m.), empty nesters (7:30 p.m.) ... Serena’s schemes come to light on “Supergirl” (7 p.m., CW, r, TV-14).
An ambassador’s decision puts an embassy in danger on “SEAL Team” (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14) ... Phil roughs it on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG) .
Nick Offerman, Moshe Kasher and Rell Battle sit down on “Conan” (10 p.m., TBS) ... Anthony Scaramucci and Michael Avenatti are on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (10:35 p.m., CBS)
© 2018 United Feature Synd.