Amazon Prime Video, 3:00 a.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE: This 10-part comedy series begins streaming today on Amazon – and it’s a period comedy poking fun at and recalling the 1980s, in the same vein as ABC’s The Goldbergs or Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. Like the latter, Red Oaks takes place during the summer – in this case, the summer of 1985, at a country club in New Jersey. David Meyers (Craig Roberts) is a high school kid who finds work as an assistant tennis pro, and tries to make contacts among the wealthy patrons while following his heart, as he’s torn between two very different young women. The adults have most of the best scenes – among the stars here are Jennifer Grey and Richard Kind as David’s mismatched parents, and Paul Reiser as an ultra-competitive rich guy. Steven Soderberg is one of then executive producers here, but the creators are Gregory Jacobs and Joe Gangemi, whose individual credits stress drama much more than comedy. And it shows, though the period details alone make Red Oaks of more than passing interest.
Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET
PREMIERE: This documentary begins streaming today on Netflix – though, at least for now, you have to search for it by title, because it isn’t being displayed prominently the morning of its launch. Maybe it’s because it’s a subtitled political documentary about the rise of civil unrest in the Ukraine against its oppressive leader and police force. Because it unfolds day by day, and uses multiple camera views (as well as eyewitness accounts) to capture the growing protests against isolation from Europe and the brutality of police against students, Winter of Fire is captivating, and doesn’t need subtitles to get its message across. It’s like watching civil rights footage from the Southern U.S. during the 1950s and 1960s, or barricaded French resisters immortalized in Les Miserables – except this was just last year, half a world away, and people are still fighting for many of the same ideals: among them, freedom and human dignity.
MLB Network, 12:30 p.m. ET
It’s postseason baseball all afternoon and all evening – though you have to watch three different networks to see all four games. Starting things off, on the MLB Network at 12:30 p.m. ET, is Game 2 between the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto is favored to win the entire Series – but that didn’t keep them from losing Game 1, despite home-field advantage. Then, at 3:30 p.m. ET, to find the other American League playoff game, turn to Fox Sports 1, for Game 2 of the Houston Astros vs. Kansas City Royals contest. Kansas City had home-field advantage – and, once again, the road team won the opening game. Counting wild-card games, the visiting teams are now 4-0 in this year’s postseason play.
TBS, 5:30 p.m. ET
The more baseball history you know, the more meaningful these National League playoff games seem to be. The first of today’s two contests, Game 1 of the Chicago Cubs vs. the St. Louis Cardinals contest, pits these two teams against one another for the first time in postseason play. And, of course, the Cubs are on a long-standing quest, because the team hasn’t won a World Series since… well, even casual fans know the rest. And after that game, another National League Game 1, this one featuring the New York Mets at the Los Angeles Dodgers, begins at 9:30 p.m. ET. And baseball fans who know their history know full well, even if they’re not old enough to remember firsthand, when the Dodgers were a team from Brooklyn.
NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE: I was surprised when this marginal sitcom was renewed, and closer to shocked when it was announced that, after an experiment with a live telecast last season, would be performing this entire season live – the first sitcom to do so since Fox’s Roc revived the once-universal practice for the 1992-93 TV season. One difference: Before it went live, Roc was funny.
NBC, 9:00 p.m. ET
In this two-hour special edition of Dateline NBC, the topic and title are: The Cosby Accusers Speak. And what makes this especially interesting is that it’s presented by NBC, the network that, three decades ago, Bill Cosby almost singlehandedly revived with the popularity of The Cosby Show. And, two decades before that, made monumental strides for minorities on TV by co-starring on I Spy. But the accusations by all these women (27 of them appear en masse in this special alone) appear to be not only tarnishing those accomplishments, but overwhelmingly overshadowing them. And, if the accusations are true, as their sheer number would suggest, with good reason…
A&E, 10:00 p.m. ET
MINISERIES PREMIERE: Acquired from Great Britain, this three-part miniseries plays like, and feels like, a lower-budget, lower-profile version of The Exorcist – and, like that blockbuster thriller, comes from a book telling of the possession of a young girl. This case, based on an actual account, dates back to 1977 in London, when an 11-year-old girl, played by Eleanor Worthington-Cox, begins acting strangely – even for a pre-teen girl. Co-stars include Timothy Spall and Juliet Stevenson.