Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV.
Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Young Sheldon” debuts in its normal time slot and Margaret Atwood adaptation “Alias Grace” comes to Netflix.
“Superior Donuts,” CBS, Monday, 9 p.m.
The CBS comedy starring Jermaine Fowler and Judd Hirsch returns for its second season. In the premiere, Arthur’s (Hirsch) business is threatened when Sofia (Diane Guerrero), an ambitious young entrepreneur, parks her organic food truck in front of the donut shop, becoming a hit with his customers and catching Franco’s (Fowler) eye. Also, Franco grows frustrated trying to follow his dream of going to college.
“The Good Place,” NBC, Thursday, 8:30 p.m.
The critically-acclaimed series from “Parks and Recreation” co-creator Michael Schur goes on hiatus until January, when it will return for five additional episodes for its second season. In this week’s episode, Janet (D’Arcy Carden) creates a big problem for Michael (Ted Danson). Meanwhile, Eleanor (Kristen Bell) lets Chidi (William Jackson Harper) in on a secret, and Jason (Manny Jacinto) puts Tahani (Jameela Jamil) in a difficult position.
“Young Sheldon,” CBS, Thursday, 8:30 p.m.
“The Big Bang Theory” prequel series makes its time-slot debut, airing its first episode since the highly-rated premiere on Sept. 25. The second episode of the series will see Sheldon trying to appease his worried mother by employing the techniques of a self-help book to try and make a friend.
“Alias Grace,” Netflix, Friday (CRITICS’ PICK)
“Alias Grace” introduces us to Grace (Sarah Gadon) through the attentions of Dr. Simon Jordan (Edward Holcroft), an early practitioner of what we now call psychiatry. Dr. Jordan’s mission is to investigate whether Grace is now insane, or was insane at the time of the murders, as that might be an avenue to pardon her. At first Grace is skeptical of his questions, but as she grows more comfortable, her story expands. But, counter-intuitively, the more she says, the less clear it is what she actually means. “Alias Grace” is built around the unrelenting ambiguity of its protagonist, and it manages the Herculean effort of making a six-part miniseries thrum with that same sense of being adrift in a woman’s story without having any idea of who she really is. (Read the full review here)
“SMILF,” Showtime, Sunday, 10 p.m.
A semi-autobiographical dramedy from series creator Frankie Shaw, the series follows Southie native Bridgette Bird (Frankie Shaw), a working-class single mom struggling to give her three-year-old son the best life she can. Rosie O’Donnell co-stars as Bridgette’s mother in her first regular television role. Shaw executive produces, writes, directs and stars.