A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
Assembly Required (10/9c, The History Channel): Can it really be 30 years ago this fall that Home Improvement exploded on the sitcom scene? Best not to dwell on such things and just enjoy the camaraderie of former Tool Time pals Tim Allen (aka Tim Taylor) and Richard Karn (Al Borland) as they banter their way through their hosting duties on a new competition series all about building cool stuff. “Yeah baby!” Allen regularly shouts as he and Karn watch three builders go to work, remotely, in their workshops. First is a “Make or Break” challenge where they have 90 minutes to construct an item from materials delivered in a mystery box. (First project: a fire extinguisher.) The two who score highest on quality, design and functionality move on to a five-day “Run With It” challenge, where inventing something new — say, a combination leaf blower/ice melter — decides who wins a $5,000 cash prize. YouTube DIY celebrity April Wilkerson shows up with expert tips and to throw a surprise twist (like a faulty spark-plug connection) into each challenge. Warning: These contestants mostly know what they’re doing, so don’t try this at home. (Like Tim Taylor would ever heed such advice.)
This Is Us (9/8c, NBC): Last week, Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Kate (Chrissy Metz) and their significant others welcomed new additions to their family. Now it’s time for the real anxiety to kick in, as they prepare for the long ride home when they’ll be on their own as parents. Naturally, this calls for some significant flashback-ery from car rides of the past, because just imagine what it was like for Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) when they were transporting the original Big Three home. Think they’re overwhelmed? Look at all of the viewers getting choked up at home.
Superman & Lois (8/7c, The CW): The First Couple of DC superhero royalty sets up shop back in sleepy Smallville as the Man of Steel (Tyler Hoechlin) and his star-reporter wife (Elizabeth Tulloch) join the CW parade of DC Comics regulars. Eschewing the romance or even the honeymoon period — for that, we had Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman back in the 1990s — the new series introduces them as fretful parents of twin teen boys: popular jock Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and pensive Jordan (Alexander Garfin). Will they be thrilled if and when they learn of their dad’s secret pastime of saving the world? This is the CW, where teen angst thrives, so you do the math. (See the full review.)
The 90-minute premiere is followed by Superman & Lois: Legacy of Hope (9:30/8:30c), with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, including a look at this most enduring superhero legend’s pop-cultural legacy.
MTV Unplugged Presents: BTS (9/8c, MTV): The Korean supergroup delivers intimate takes on their chartbusting hits, performing from Seoul, South Korea for a new edition of the iconic Unplugged franchise. They’ll be performing from their latest album BE (Essential Edition) and the rest of their infectiously energetic catalog.
Inside Tuesday TV: A new Netflix documentary profiles Brazilian soccer legend Pelé… New to DVD on its 50th anniversary: Betty White’s Pet Set (MPI), a rarely seen series from 1971 in which the eternal star shares her love of animals with celebrities including Doris Day, Mary Tyler Moore, Michael Landon, Carol Burnett, Rod Serling and more… PBS’s Finding Your Roots (8/7c, PBS, check local listings on pbs.org) goes country with a look into the family histories of country-music stars Clint Black and Rosanne Cash (whose family tree is already pretty well known)… In the season finale of NBC’s Canadian import Nurses (10/9c), Grace (Tiera Skovbye) goes public with her claims against Dr. Hamilton (Peter Stebbings)… This month’s installment of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (10/9c) includes Gumbel’s report on the NFL’s hiring practices and the league’s woeful record of naming Black candidates to top coaching positions, and Soledad O’Brien with a look at how Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit has helped boost the popularity of chess.