Now in its fourth season, “Grantchester” on “Masterpiece Theater” (8 p.m., PBS, TV-14) is undergoing a changing of the guard. What are the chances that the stunning English scenery will produce two handsome, crime-fighting vicars?

As fans of the show know, “Grantchester” is set in the bucolic countryside around Cambridge, England, in the mid-1950s. The series stars Robson Green as hard-boiled police detective Geordie Keating, who has partnered with the local Anglican priest, Sidney Chambers (James Norton).

Their partnership in crime-fighting has allowed them to contrast their very different worldviews. Sidney is very taken with jazz and beautiful women, and a little too fond of drinking. He seems excited to be living in a time of change, of jet planes and Elvis Presley. Geordie, a war veteran and conservative dad, thinks the world is on its way to ruin. And with dead bodies popping up on a regular basis, who can blame him?

Over the course of this season, Sidney will be written out of the proceedings, making room for Tom Brittney (“Outlander,” “Call the Midwife”) as Rev. Will Davenport, Geordie’s new clerical sidekick.

But first, Sidney and “Grantchester” explore another facet of changing times in 1950s Cambridge, when a delegation of black American ministers and civil rights activists arrive on a speaking tour.

Needless to say, threats, controversy, murder and romance ensue. This all seems a bit on the nose, not to mention strange, given that Great Britain had its own version of racial strife at the time. But “Grantchester” isn’t history; it’s television, complete with the distractions of great architecture, gardens and landscapes. The season opener would be better if it didn’t combine two hourlong episodes into a single two-hour helping.

  • Subject to many changes and imitations over its 27 seasons, “Top Gear” (7 p.m., BBC America, TV-14) returns, with host Chris Harris joined by cricket star Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff and comedian Paddy McGuinness. Over the course of the season, they will compare electric cars, visit the world’s largest motorcycle show and go on an epic road trip to Ethiopia.
  • Imitation being the sincerest form of television, National Geographic kicks off a weeklong SharkFest (not to be confused with Discovery’s Shark Week), with “When Sharks Attack” (8 p.m., TV-14
  • ).

Other highlights

  • Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (6 p.m., CBS, TV-PG): China’s embrace of AI; a YouTube star and best-selling author deals with obsessive-compulsive disorder; Italian chef Massimo Bottura.
  • New evidence on “Burden of Truth” (7 p.m., CW, TV-PG)
  • .

Cult choice

A researcher (Katharine Hepburn) balks at the expert (Spencer Tracy) whom she fears may replace her with a computer in the 1957 romantic comedy “Desk Set” (9 p.m., TCM, TV-G).

Series notes

Julie Chen Moonves hosts “Big Brother” (7 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... Auditions continue on “America’s Got Talent” (7 p.m., NBC, r, TV-PG) ... High-tech temptations on “The Simpsons” (7 p.m., Fox, r, TV-PG) ... “Celebrity Family Feud” (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... A killer app on “Bob’s Burgers” (7:30 p.m., Fox, r, TV-PG)


© 2019 United Feature Syndicate

Get Trib headlines sent directly to you, every day.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
Load comments