Amazon Prime Video, 3:00 a.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE: The pilot episode of Hand of God has been available for quite a while on Amazon – but today, the streaming site presents the entire first season of what becomes its second originally produced drama series. Ron Perlman stars as a modern-day hanging judge whose entire outlook is altered after a family tragedy: His grown son is in a coma, after being beaten senselessly by the same unidentified perpetrators who raped his son’s wife as his son was forced to watch. Perlman’s character finds religion, and starts seeing visions, hearing voices, and setting out on his own path – for revenge as well as hope. The characters are drawn somewhat broadly at first, but they’re certainly watchable. And with such personal-favorite supporting co-stars as Garret Dillahunt and Dana Delany, I urge you to try it out. It certainly compares well to the new fall crop of dramas about to be unveiled by the broadcast networks.
TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET
It’s been 100 years since W.C. Fields started making film shorts in New York. To mark the occasion, TCM is presenting a prime-time salute to the classic comedian, showing four wonderful Fields movies. One of them, 1935’s David Copperfield (12:30 a.m. ET), has him playing it semi-straight as a broad Dickensian character – but the other movies are pure, undiluted Fields of joy. It’s a Gift, from 1934, is shown at 9:30 p.m. ET, and 1939’s You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man is shown at 11 p.m. ET. And the evening begins at 8 p.m. ET with 1940’s classic The Bank Dick, one of his most famous comedies. Prepare to laugh – a lot.
PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET
This documentary film biography of tennis champion Althea Gibson is presented in cannily timely fashion, just as Serena Williams is trying to accomplish some amazing feats in women’s tennis at the current U.S. Open Championship. What Gibson did, as an African-American tennis player in the years after WWII and beyond, is a special story indeed. Watch her face her first opponent in a major tennis final. Watch her, later, winning it all at Wimbledon, and later at the U.S. Open. Watch her as a guest on What’s My Line? and singing on The Ed Sullivan Show – and then ask yourself, Why don’t I know more about this woman? Now you will. Check local listings.
Showtime, 9:00 p.m. ET
This musical documentary captures a Jimi Hendrix concert in Atlanta from 1970 – one of his final performances before his death. I happened to be there for one of his first U.S. performances, a handful of years before – when he was the unknown opening act for The Monkees. But at this 1970 Electric Church concert, no one, as he played and sang, was screaming for “Davy!”
ABC, 10:00 p.m. ET
Today’s special subject: Pope Francis, who’s about to visit the United States. Perhaps you’ve heard…