Ever since The Civil War broke viewing records on PBS, every Ken Burns film has been an event, and the three-part Hemingway is no exception. The NFL’s Aaron Rodgers guest-hosts Jeopardy! for the next two weeks. And college basketball fans can cheer for their favorite as the NCAA men’s season reaches its exciting finish.
Prolific documentarians Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (The Vietnam War) devote three nights and six often harrowing hours to a lively profile of the Nobel Prize-winning American author, whose larger-than-life persona often overshadowed his literary accomplishments. They depict a man as disciplined in his craft as he was reckless in his appetites. Jeff Daniels reads Ernest Hemingway’s words, and Meryl Streep, Mary-Louise Parker, Keri Russell and Patricia Clarkson give voice to his four wives.
It’s a long way from throwing touchdowns to lobbing clues, but Super Bowl-winning Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be taking over the guest-host podium for the next two weeks. For those who may think that a sports jock may not be at home among these brainiacs, it’s worth remembering that Rodgers won his game of Celebrity Jeopardy! back in 2015 and is a lifelong fan.
With the tightly focused economy British mysteries are renowned for, this Irish thriller wraps its first season in only its fourth episode. But it has churned up plenty of intrigue during that time, most of it revolving around Detective Tom Brannick (James Nesbitt), whose connection to the shadowy assassin Goliath becomes more clear even as his cover-up is in danger of being exposed. The grim climactic twists are reminiscent of the original British House of Cards, and viewers will be gratified to know that a second season has been commissioned.
NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship
Last year’s tournament was over before it began last March, canceled by the early wave of the pandemic. This year most of the field of 64 got to play, and it has led to the final game in Indianapolis, where a new national champion will be crowned for the first time since 2019.
Inside Monday TV:
- Inside the Tower of London (8/7c, Smithsonian Channel): Millions of tourists have visited the landmark, once a prison and now a showplace for the crown jewels. This eight-part docuseries reveals the tower’s colorful and often bloody history.
- Coded Bias (streaming on Netflix): A hit on the film-festival circuit, this 2020 documentary examines the discovery of an MIT Media Lab researcher who contends that facial-recognition software doesn’t accurately recognize dark-skinned people, exposing an unintended racial bias in algorithms.
- Running Wild with Bear Grylls (9/8c, National Geographic): Former NFL linebacker and Brooklyn Nine-Nine sitcom star Terry Crews traverses Iceland with Grylls, with adventures including a mountainous heli-ski ride down a volcanic slope with the risk of a rock avalanche. Followed by another exciting installment of Race to the Center of the Earth(10/9c), when the team in Canada is waylaid by a snowstorm.
- Debris (10/9c, NBC): The investigation into alien space junk on Earth takes a grim twist when CIA agent Bryan Beneventi (Jonathan Tucker) and MI6’s Finola Jones (Riann Steele) learn that teens are using a piece of the wreckage to murder elderly people.
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