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What to Watch on TV Now

Watch 'The Conners' (minus Roseanne), 'The Kids Are Alright,' the midlife-crisis cop show 'The Rookie'

John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and cast of

Robert Trachtenberg/ABC

John Goodman, center, and the revamped cast of Roseanne spinoff The Conners.

What's New

The Conners

(ABC, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 8 p.m. ET)

Roseanne is gone from the show about the Conner family. So? AARP Movies for Grownups award winner Laurie Metcalf, 63, is apt to throw off livelier sparks with her new high-IQ boyfriend (Treme’s Steve Zahn, 50) than she was trading stale anti-Trump jibes with Roseanne. Darlene (Sara Gilbert), whose ex (Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki) has a new squeeze (Juliette Lewis), gets her groove back with a new guy (Justin Long of Dodgeball). Give the greatest show about blue-collar Americans a second chance. FULL REVIEW

Michael Cudlitz and Mary McCormack (far right) in ABC's

Tony Rivetti/ABC

Michael Cudlitz and Mary McCormack are raising 8 boys in the '70s-era sitcom The Kids Are Alright.

The Kids Are Alright

(ABC, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 8:30 p.m. ET)

Roseanne and Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing producer Tim Doyle, 59, narrates his show inspired by his childhood in 1972 as “an awesome time to be a kid: Bike helmets hadn’t been invented yet ... or seatbelts, or nutrition, or even normal adult supervision." Dad (The Walking Dead’s Michael Cudlitz, 53), "was busy with his defense job, keeping our neighborhood safe from North Vietnamese invasion.” And Mom (The West Wing’s Mary McCormack, 49) had eight sons to deal with. A show for grownups seeking a childhood flashback.

Nathan Fillion as cop John Nolan on an LA street.

Eric McCandless/ABC

Nathan Fillion plays the LAPD's oldest-ever first-year cop in The Rookie.

The Rookie

(ABC, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 10 p.m. ET)

Charming as Remington Steele, Nathan Fillion, 47, was better than his old show Castle, and he’s a wish-fulfillment dream in this loosely fact-inspired show about LAPD’s oldest newbie cop, whose boss calls him “a walking midlife crisis,” a middle-aged loser “looking for some kinda Eat, Pray, Love path to reinvention.” But in exciting cop-action scenes, he proves him wrong. This show is a win for grownups, and Fillion’s charm only grows. READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH NATHAN FILLION

Toni Collette, Steven Mackintosh

Matt Squire/Netflix

Toni Collette and Steven MacKintosh are a husband and wife in a struggling marriage in Wanderlust.


(Netflix, Friday, Oct. 19, streaming anytime thereafter)

Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine) stars in this six-episode BBC/Netflix show by prestigious playwright Nick Payne. It's a combination Brit cringe comedy-touching drama about a couple struggling to reheat a sexless marriage after she suffers a bike accident. Not fun, but it's smart, ambitious and original.


Ron Livingston in

Colin Bentley/AT&T Audience Network

Ron Livingston (right) plays an aging rock critic in Loudermilk.


(AT&T Audience Network, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 10 p.m. ET)

This scruffy gem about a rock critic (Ron Livingston, 51), who's stuck in the only record store in Seattle with bad coffee, getting over bad habits and turning his life around — without surrendering his bad attitude — is now entering its second season. Its indie cred is still intact, and its creators, Colbert Report writer Bobby Mort and Peter Farrelly, 61 (Dumb & Dumber, current Oscar front-runner for Green Book), could wind up with an underground hit.

Catch Up With

American Masters: Itzhak

(PBS, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 8 p.m.)

Produced with major support from AARP, American Masters celebrates Itzhak Perlman, 73, the greatest (and most lovable) violinist on earth and a 16-time Grammy winner. Meet his genius colleagues — his wife of 50 years, Toby, and admirers such as Billy Joel and Alan Alda. In the preview clip above, Perlman and Alda talk about how it feels to get older, their childhood polio and Perlman’s scary-sounding “garbage pail soup.” Tasty.

Tim Allen, Nancy Travis, Christoph Sanders


Tim Allen, Nancy Travis and Christoph Sanders in "Last Man Standing."

Last Man Standing

(Fox, Fridays at 8 p.m. ET)

Tim Allen, 65, comes back big-time with his show, booted from ABC but entirely intact. The jokes land, and Allen has something to say about everybody’s politically squabbling clans — from his right-wing perspective, a trifle obnoxiously, but his smugness is why it’s funny, and lots of left-ier comedy fans will laugh, too. It’s mostly just about a family, like the 2018 Roseanne reboot, and it’s every giggle as good. 

Joe Regalbuto, Grant Shaud, Candice Bergen, and Faith Ford

Jojo Whilden/CBS

Joe Regalbuto, Grant Shaud, Candice Bergen, and Faith Ford return in the reboot of "Murphy Brown" on CBS.

Murphy Brown

(CBS, Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET)

Assiduously political, left-leaning TV newswoman Murphy (Candice Bergen, 72) is back, with the original producer and core cast of her 1988-1998 smash. And her child (Jake McDorman) is now her rival on a Fox-like network. Bergen is a bit political, but here are five reasons she’s not like Murphy Brown.

(l-r) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Alec Baldwin as Malcolm Widmark, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker

Chris Haston/NBC

Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, Alec Baldwin and Megan Mullally in "Will & Grace."

Will & Grace

(NBC, Thursdays, 9 p.m. ET)

One of the better TV reboots is back, and talk about awkward! Now Will (Eric McCormack, 55) and Grace (Debra Messing, 50) are step-siblings, thanks to the marriage of their widowed parents (Blythe Danner, 75, and Robert Klein, 76). Alec Baldwin, 60, plays the swain of Karen (Megan Mullally, 59), and Friends' David Schwimmer, 51, is courting Grace. 

Ted Danson, D'Arcy Carden

Justin Lubin/NBC

Ted Danson and D'Arcy Carden in "The Good Place."

The Good Place

(NBC, Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET)

Ted Danson, 70, is bound to get his 16th Emmy nomination as the supernatural being in charge of four humans in the afterlife in TV’s smartest, least predictable hit. In the third season, he beams back to Earth, prevents their deaths and tries to see if he can manipulate them into becoming good people. Odd? Yes, but if you watch this, you’ll be a better person — and laugh more.

Vicki Lawrence, Martin Mull, David Alan Grier, and Leslie Jordan

Patrick McElhenney/FOX

Vicki Lawrence, Martin Mull, David Alan Grier, and Leslie Jordan in "The Cool Kids."

The Cool Kids

(Fox, Fridays at 8:30 p.m. ET)

Roseanne’s Martin Mull, 75, David Alan Grier, 62, Leslie Jordan, 63, and Carol Burnett Show veteran Vicki Lawrence, 69, vie for social supremacy at the Shady Meadows retirement home, which is as unruly as any high school. “History is the best thing about getting old. You know stuff that young people don’t know,” Lawrence told the TV Critics Association. These four know as much about classic comedy as anyone alive.

James Franco in HBO's

Paul Schiraldi/HBO

James Franco does double duty as the twin Martino brothers on HBO's "The Deuce."

The Deuce

(HBO, streaming anytime)

At the moment, the best show on TV is this epic about New York’s 1977 porn biz, with Maggie Gyllenhaal as a hooker-turned-filmmaker (the greatest performance of her illustrious career) and James Franco playing two brothers in the vice trade, one responsible, the other entertainingly shiftless and stealing from the first. The whole cast gets remarkably deep character arcs, and it brings 1977 back alive. This show is totally addictive.

Wendell Pierce and John Krasinsi in

Jan Thijs/Amazon/Paramount

Wendell Pierce (left) plays James Greer, the boss and mentor of Jack Ryan (John Krasinski) in Amazon's new "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan."

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan

(Amazon, streaming anytime)

Understandably, everybody’s been raving about John Krasinski’s transformation from nice guy on The Office to CIA analyst turned field officer Jack Ryan. But as his partner/mentor, Wendell Pierce, 54, may be the more impressive terrorist hunter. You’ve seen Pierce as Baltimore Detective Bunk Moreland on The Wire, as trombonist Antoine Batiste on Treme and as powerhouse attorney Robert Zane on Suits, but you’ve never seen him this tough and subtle. He makes being grownup look cool. FULL REVIEW

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