Tune In

Normal lives are upended by murders, suicides or kidnappings on “Unsolved Mysteries,” the true-crime stalwart making a move to Netflix.

We live in an era of creative churn. A staple of reality television before anyone even used the term, “Cops” recently got the heave-ho from Paramount.

While some favorites are deep-sixed, others get a face-lift. Last week saw the return of “Perry Mason” and the second season of “The Twilight Zone” reboot.

It’s not only scripted fare that’s being revived. Starting today, “Unsolved Mysteries” arrives on Netflix. After a long run on NBC, CBS, Lifetime and Spike, it had been parked on YouTube for some time before being picked up by the streaming service.

These “new” “Mysteries” follow the familiar pattern. We meet seemingly placid people with apparently perfect or unblemished lives, and all of a sudden, murder, murders, suicide or kidnappings intervene. Police follow a trail of clues, often encountering twists and turns around the third act, and before we know it, the case has grown cold and we’re asked if we can volunteer any clues to help solve it. It’s about this time that you come to the sobering conclusion that you’ve spent another 45 minutes of your life watching “Unsolved Mysteries.”

Despite its vintage status, “Mysteries” is very much a show of our times. It helped establish the template for the kind of true-crime docuseries that dominate today’s dial, from the homicidal buffet of the ID schedule to more prestigious offerings like HBO’s “The Jinx” or that network’s current series “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.”

When “Mysteries” began, its producers were convinced that people would only follow its stories if they had some star power to introduce them. Originally presented as stand-alone specials, “Unsolved” was introduced by Raymond Burr (“Perry Mason”) and Karl Malden (“On the Waterfront”) and then Robert Stack, who was associated with the show for decades.

If Stack offered “Mysteries” a voice of authority, it provided the star of “Written on the Wind” and “Airplane!” a kind of late-career sinecure, a reliable space to reach his fans.

The notion of such hosting duties as an easy gig took on a certain historical import when it was mentioned on PBS’s “American Experience.” When asked to explain how much Nancy Reagan inspired her husband, Ronald, the 40th president of the United States, son and namesake Ron Reagan Jr. believed that her inspiration was total. “I think if left to his own devices,” Ron Jr. explained, his father “might have ended up hosting ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ on TV.”

  • The subscription streaming service True Royalty TV premieres the new documentary “William: A Monarch in the Making.”

Other highlights

  • An imposter patient shows real symptoms on “Chicago Med” (7 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).
  • A tyrannical boss is turned into a 13-year-old version of herself in the 2019 fantasy “Little” (7 p.m., Cinemax).
  • A doctor (Dustin Hoffman) fights a spreading pandemic in the 1995 nail-biter

“Outbreak” (7:05 p.m., SHO2).

  • A changed district on “Chicago Fire” (8 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).
  • A basketball fan catches up with her childhood idol in the 2018 documentary “Finding Big Country” (8 p.m., ESPN).
  • Halstead’s relationship crosses several red lines on “Chicago P.D.” (9 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).
  • The Zephyr wobbles on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14).

Cult choice

Matt Damon stars in the 1999 adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s thriller “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (5:40 p.m., HBO Signature), co-starring Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Philip Seymour Hoffman, directed by Anthony Minghella.

Series notes

“Game On!” (7 p.m., CBS, TV-14) ... A mystery box holds key ingredients on “MasterChef” (7 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14) ... Pledge time on “The Goldbergs” (7 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG) ... Wounds that will never heal on “The 100” (7 p.m., CW, TV-14) ... Short-listed on “black-ish” (7:30 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG). .

A diplomatic mission on “SEAL Team” (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14) ... Becky grows suspicious on “The Conners” (8 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG) ... Taking over a gun factory is never easy on “Bulletproof” (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) ... Mourning a lost classic on “American Housewife” (8:30 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG) ... Drug smugglers on “S.W.A.T.” (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).

Late night

Lizzy Caplan appears on “Conan” (10 p.m., TBS, r) ... Rep. Karen Bass, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Grace Potter, Jackson Browne, Marcus King and Lucius are booked on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (10:35 p.m., CBS, r) ... Jimmy Fallon welcomes Taraji P. Henson and Dua Lipa on “The Tonight Show” (10:35 p.m., NBC, r) ... Will Forte and Rep. Katie Porter visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (11:35 p.m., NBC, r).

Load comments