It had to happen. The new reality series Spy Games (10 p.m., Bravo, TV-14) invites participants to be trained in espionage by three veteran intelligence officers and compete with each other in assignments right out of James Bond movies.
In their first cloak and dagger job, they are trained to infiltrate a black-tie party at a posh mansion and told to retrieve vital information. The series is said to be based on a crash program developed by the OSS (the CIAs precursor) during WWII to quickly train men and women from all walks of life to become secret agents.
All reality shows are essentially absurd, but Spy Games is more laugh-out-loud ridiculous than most. Nearly every element of the series is contradictory. The whole point of a secret agent is to remain unseen and blend in. But the essential nature of reality television is to hire good-looking exhibitionists too vain and stupid to ever shut up. All of their assignments are top secret, but followed at every moment by cameras, crew and producers. Help yourself.
The Ryan Murphy produced-spinoff 9-1-1: Lone Star (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14) moves to its regular time slot after a Sunday night preview. Even by the standards of procedurals, this arrives freighted with loaded and manipulative emotional weight.
A 9/11 survivor who rebuilt his NYC station house, Owen (Rob Lowe) is called upon to do similar work for an Austin, Texas, unit wiped out in an industrial catastrophe. Battling a cancer diagnosis and the recent suicide attempt of his gay firefighting son, Owen builds an Avengers-type team of colorful outsiders while trying to bond with the locals, including an EMT captain (Liv Tyler) filled with rage.
As a New Yorker married to a Texan, I have my notions of how wrong Lone Star gets the Lone Star state. But Ill let real Texans sort that out.
HIGHLIGHTS COMMEMORATING MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY
A married couple (Ivan Dixon and Abbey Lincoln) suffer a series of indignities in segregated Alabama in the 1964 drama Nothing But a Man (8 p.m., TCM). Lincoln was better known as a jazz singer. Dixon, who appeared on The Twilight Zone, may be familiar to viewers old enough to remember Hogans Heroes.
The 2016 drama Hidden Figures (7 p.m. and 10 p.m., FX, TV-PG) dramatizes the unsung story of three African American female mathematicians essential to NASAs Mercury program in the early 1960s.
The 2019 documentary Emanuel (9 p.m., Starz) recalls a 2015 mass murder by a white supremacist at a Baptist church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Two men embark on a road trip through segregated states in the 2018 drama The Green Book (9:30 p.m., Showcase).
TONIGHTS OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
Ten acts perform on Americas Got Talent (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
Lola offers her husband moral support on All Rise (9 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard appear on the eighth season premiere of Brain Games (8 p.m., Nat Geo, TV-PG).
The Junkyard Killer targets Malcolm on Prodigal Son (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
A busy urban professional returns to her small town to discover that her old beau has created a snow maze, the perfect setting for Amazing Winter Romance (9 p.m., Hallmark, TV-G).
A series dedicated to exploring and celebrating immigrant cuisine and neighborhoods, No Passport Required (9 p.m., PBS, check local listings) samples Armenian food in Los Angeles.
Tragedy on the training field sparks a lawsuit on Bull (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
A key witness is incarcerated on Manifest (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
An elite runner loses more than a step on The Good Doctor (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
The Independent Lens (10 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings) documentary Accept the Call follows a Minnesota Somali immigrant horrified by his 19-year-old sons flirtation with a Syrian faction of the Islamic State.
A game show host and producer (Sam Rockwell) leads a double life as a CIA assassin in the 2002 adaptation of Chuck Barris memoir Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (9:35 p.m., TMCX).
Calvin harbors suspicions about the new preacher on The Neighborhood (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) The Bachelor (8 p.m., ABC, TV-14) Spencer compensates on All American (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) Unwelcome advice on Bob Hearts Abishola (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) The Red Wave reverberates on Black Lightning (9 p.m., CW, TV-14).
Josh Gad appears on Conan (11 p.m., TBS) Jimmy Fallon welcomes Ken Jeong, Kate Upton and Old Dominion on The Tonight Show (11:35 p.m., NBC) Michael Moore, June Diane Raphael and Adam Marcello visit Late Night With Seth Meyers (12:35 a.m., NBC).
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SPY GAMES' AND 'LONE STAR,' OH MY - The Republic
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