ESPN, 1:00 p.m. ET
At yesterday’s first-round play of U.S. Open tennis, the players weren’t the only ones serving up something new. ESPN commentator Pam Shriver interviewed U.S. player CoCo Vanderweghe about her match. What’s so unusual about that, you ask? The match wasn’t over, that’s what. It’s one thing to toss a fast question or two at a pro football coach as he runs off the field to rally his troops at halftime – but to interview a tennis player between sets? That’s not a new way to engage viewers and fans, or get inside the head of the athletes. That’s an unnecessary and distracting intrusion. Good thing it’s not mandatory, and don’t expect Serena Williams, playing her second match this afternoon, to play along. She’s focused on playing, period – which is just as it should be.
PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET
Part 3 of 3. It’s been an interesting experiment, this idea of presenting live coverage of marine animals congregating at California’s Monterey Bay. And while some of the best images have been captured just before these live hours began (orcas!), or during the earlier daytime hours (great whites!), just the thought of seeing a humpback whale pod work its way through the water, photographed live from a helicopter overhead, is pretty amazing. And when nature in the bay doesn’t cooperate with the high-intensity demands of live television, this show can (and often does) cut to shots of otters being fed by park handlers. Cute is cute, which is why the Internet has thrived. Check local listings.
Comedy Central, 10:00 p.m. ET
There are only three episodes left, so enjoy and value them. Among tonight’s sketches: imagining the sitcom-like home life of astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
TCM, 10:00 p.m. ET
Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 adaptation of the William Makepeace Thackeray novel is one of the most beautiful movies ever filmed. Period. And some of its set pieces, such as the duel, are as shrewdly constructed as anything Kubrick ever filmed. This period movie, starring Ryan O’Neal and Marisa Berenson, isn’t often mentioned among the top tier of Kubrick classics – but watch it tonight on TCM, without interruptions or edits and with the proper screen ratio, and you might agree with me that it should be.
USA, 10:00 p.m. ET
SEASON FINALE: This Season 1 finale was scheduled to be televised last Wednesday, but was postponed in the wake of the shootings last week, on live television, of a Virginia TV crew. Apparently, there’s a similar scene in the Mr. Robot season finale – and we’ll see for ourselves tonight, as this surprisingly good summer USA series winds up its surprise-packed inaugural year.