Goodbye, city life! The new ABC series “Bless This Mess” (8:30 p.m., TV-PG) offers a “new” variation on one of entertainment’s most venerable themes.
Newlyweds Rio (Lake Bell) and Mike (Dax Shepard) decide to throw caution to the wind and leave the stress of their jobs in New York to move to Nebraska and become farmers.
Yes, it’s that kind of show.
Originally developed for Fox, “Mess” was picked up by ABC sometime in early 2018. It’s curious that a show that’s been on the shelf this long was not made available for review. Instead, ABC offered us a few clips of Rio acting cute by trying to hide her phone while Mike was repairing a farmhouse that looks like it was old when Willa Cather wrote “O Pioneers!”
With so little to go on, “Bless” is interesting (I guess) for the inclusion of Pam Grier in a supporting role as a Nebraska neighbor. Her career arc has taken her from blaxploitation fair (“Foxy Brown,” “Sheba Baby”) to Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown” to appearing in some Hallmark movies.
Also, look for Ed Begley Jr. as Rudy, the wacky neighbor who has holed up in his “man cave” in his barn. The prolific actor and environmentalist Begley has appeared in hundreds of films and has been a staple of Christopher Guest’s “mockumentary” efforts. He was a folk enthusiast in “A Mighty Wind,” a compassionate hotel manager in “Best in Show,” and one of the first of many drummers in “This Is Spinal Tap.”
It’s impossible to see where “Bless” will land. Will it revive the fish-out-of-water of “Green Acres”? The urban condescension of the Paris Hilton/Nicole Richie reality series “The Simple Life”? Or trade in the bucolic rediscovery route found in movies ranging from the 1987 Diane Keaton comedy “Baby Boom” to every other Hallmark romance ever made?
- Speaking of actors with many roles, David Tennant (“Doctor Who,” “Broadchurch”) stars in the U.K. comedy-drama “There She Goes,” streaming today on Britbox.
- After a year of remarkable, even over-the-top events, “The Rookie” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14) concludes its first season with an episode in which everyone will be tested. If ABC brings this back for a sophomore season, will they have to change the name?
- The four-hour epic documentary “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War” (8 p.m., PBS, TV-PG) concludes with a look at how the popular culture of the early 20th century was harnessed to “normalize” the brutality and terror of Jim Crow segregation.
“Reconstruction” shows how attitudes and even phrases from its era still echo. White resistance to black voting rights and black leaders and legislators can be heard to this day.
Listen to Tucker Carlson talk about newly elected congresswomen of color and you can hear Reconstruction rhetoric returned to like a racist’s greatest hits refrain. When you hear the 45th president talk about the 44th, you’re hearing Reconstruction attitudes reverberating in 2019.
- A diplomat’s murder points to a larger scheme on “FBI” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
- Nick makes a therapeutic breakthrough on “The Village” (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
- Family harmonies on “The Kids Are Alright” (7:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
- Elvis calls in a favor on “NCIS: New Orleans” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
- A patient’s symptoms defy treatment on “New Amsterdam” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
- Flashbacks reveal first encounters on “Fosse/Verdon” (9 p.m., FX, TV-MA).
An embezzler uses knowledge of computers to rob a bank in the 1968 heist movie “Hot Millions” (2:30 p.m., TCM), starring Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith and Karl Malden.
Remains may be linked to a fateful day on “NCIS” (7 p.m., CBS, TV-14) ... Artists move forward on “The Voice” (7 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) ... Tastes like chicken on “MasterChef” (7 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) ... A whole day without phones on “American Housewife” (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... Barry and Iris bicker on “The Flash” (7 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
Rob Lowe hosts “Mental Samurai” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) ... Dre chaperones the local dance on “blackish” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG)