It’s never really over. Ever since “Lost,” television has ditched its sense of finality. Characters in the great French series “The Returned” come back from the dead, complicating the lives of their loved ones. Folks on “The Missing” never let go. The passengers on NBC’s “Manifest” checked out for years, only to return, trailing clouds of mystery.
Starting today, Amazon streams the eight-part British mystery “The Widow.” Kate Beckinsale is Georgia Wells, a Welsh woman whose husband worked in some kind of NGO in Africa before he and hundreds of others apparently died in a plane crash in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A grieving Georgia has not left their shared mountain cabin for three years, and she’s a mess. Catching sight of a man who looks suspiciously like her husband on a television news report from the Congo, she decides to travel back to the place where he worked and reportedly died. There, she and the audience discover that he was not entirely honest with her about the nature of his “charity” work. The mystery deepens when a survivor of the plane crash, also reported dead, shows up in a Dutch hospital.
Look for Alex Kingston, (“ER,” “A Discovery of Witches”) as a colleague of Georgia’s husband eager to keep secrets. The always icy and ominous Charles Dance (“Game of Thrones”) stars as a friend of Georgia’s father and a veteran of intelligence work, very eager to keep her away from asking too many questions. Supposedly for her own good.
Compelling and well-acted, “The Widow” makes the most of exotic settings, from lush Africa to austere Wales. All the same, it suffers from the chief affliction ailing Peak TV. A story like this used to unfold in three or four episodes on a “Masterpiece” presentation. “The Widow” asks viewers for eight hours of their time.
- Athletes, coaches and experts from sports fields as disparate as the NBA and Canadian curling discuss the agony of defeat in the documentary series “Losers,” streaming today on Netflix.
- “American Masters” (8 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings) profiles singer and activist Holly Near. Inspired by the folk groups the Weavers and the Kingston Trio, Near’s odyssey as a performer would take her through television appearances on “The Mod Squad,” “Room 222,” “All in the Family” and “The Partridge Family.”
An ardent feminist, she has been an activist all her adult life. Interviews include Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, Kevin Bacon and the late Ronnie Gilbert, a member of the Weavers.
- A family creates a backyard theme park for neighborhood hounds on the second season opener of “Animal Cribs” (8 p.m., Animal Planet).
- Boyd’s wanderlust causes a rift between Mike and Kristen on “Last Man Standing” (7 p.m., Fox, TV-PG).
- A fifth wheel (Joanna Cassidy) arrives on “The Cool Kids” (7 p.m., Fox, TV-PG).
- An obsessive shopper confronts visions of her past, present and future in the 2018 fantasy “A Shoe Addict’s Christmas” (7 p.m., Hallmark, TV-G). Less than 300 shopping days left!
- Forced confessions are investigated on “Proven Innocent” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
- Danny entertains second thoughts on “Blue Bloods” (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
Having illuminated a gangster subculture in “Goodfellas” (1990), director Martin Scorsese examined the social rites and rituals of 1870s New York society in his 1993 adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel “The Age of Innocence” (9:15 p.m., TCM), starring Daniel Day Lewis, Winona Ryder and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Dating complicates matters on “Fresh Off the Boat” (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... On two helpings of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” (CW, r, TV-14) Charles Esten (7 p.m.), Greg Proops (7:30 p.m.) ... J.J. makes a movie on “Speechless” (7:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
“20/20” (8 p.m., ABC) ... “Dateline” (9 p.m., NBC).
Jimmy Fallon welcomes Ryan Seacrest, Jack Whitehall and Shin Lim on “The Tonight Show” (10:35 p.m., NBC) ...
Nina Dobrev, Terry Crews and Jack and Jack on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” (11:35 p.m., CBS, r).