The new fall season has started. We’ll try to get all of the new show premieres and season premieres in What to Watch over the coming weeks. Check out our full 2018 Fall TV Preview.
Rookie (10 p.m., ABC) - If I had to bet my cat on one show being a no-brainer success this season, it’d be this one. First of all, Nathan Fillion is just plain hard to resist. He’s Rick Castle, for Pete’s sake. But he’s definitely not playing the same goofy, smug “Castle” role that we all knew and loved. Here Fillion plays the anti-Castle. He’s John Nolan, a struggling and depressed middle-aged divorcee, who, after an act of bravery during a random bank robbery, joins the LAPD as a rookie cop. (His resume includes law school and 20 years working in construction.) We get to know Nolan and two other rookies in his precinct as they navigate the dangerous streets of Los Angeles, but Nolan must also deal with an openly hostile boss who tells him on Day 1 that he’s too old for the job and that nobody wants him there. How can you not pull for him after that? One cool aspect of the show is how bodycam footage is routinely integrated into the storytelling.
Also on tonight . . .
The Conners (8 p.m., ABC) - This is the new “Roseanne” series, just reworked without the original star, Roseanne Barr. If you don’t know why Barr is no longer with the show, welcome to Earth and read this article. ABC had intended the matter of how they write the Conner matriarch out of the series to be a secret, but Barr allegedly spoiled the secret on Twitter awhile back. I won’t repeat it here.
The Kids Are Alright (8:30 p.m., ABC) - This 1970s-set sitcom about the middle son in a Catholic family with seven kids reminded me a little of the solidly funny (but canceled) “The Real O’Neals,” but without as many laughs. In fact, just when I was about to give up on it entirely, there was this really sweet moment at the end (OK, two sweet moments) that will make me tune in for a second episode. Michael Cudlitz (“Southland” and “The Walking Dead”) and Mary McCormack (“In Plain Sight”) are the parents.
The Eugenics Crusade (9 p.m., PBS / UNC-TV) - This American Experience documentary traces the movement to breed a “better” American race, which turned the science of herediy into an instrument of social control that led to forced sterilization campaigns.
Black-ish (9 p.m., ABC) - After Dre and Bow drop Junior off at college in the Season 5 premiere, Junior returns home, deciding he wants to take a gap year. Also, Jack and Diane question whether they want to continue sharing a room.
Splitting Up Together (9:30 p.m., ABC) - In the Season 2 premiere, Lena searches for signs that she and Martin are or aren’t meant to be a couple after they sleep together.