By Kevin McDonough
Can this marriage be saved? That question has inspired a million advice columns and too many radio and TV series to mention. But that remains the central question in the legal melodrama "The Split" (midnight, Sundance, TV-MA), …
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Can this marriage be saved? That question has inspired a million advice columns and too many radio and TV series to mention. But that remains the central question in the legal melodrama "The Split" (midnight, Sundance, TV-MA), now entering its second season.
It's a family series about a family of female lawyers who work in "family law." That's a police term for divorce lawyers. And all of those bust-ups and alienation of affections appear to rub off. Season one saw scandal come between married lawyers Hannah (Nicola Walker, "Last Tango in Halifax") and Nathan (Stephen Mangan, "Episodes") and a decision by some to start a rival firm.
Now, the law firms are merged, and Hannah and Nathan have patched things up. At least on the surface. "The Split" has the posh surroundings and clever dialogue to attract fans of "The Good Wife," but the family dynamics also remind me of "Dynasty," where, no matter how dramatic things get, everybody in the extended family meets over pancakes in the morning.
Like many legal procedurals, we get a new case every week. Season two kicks off with an entertainment industry couple better known as a "brand." Too bad one half of the power-duo has a thing for sleeping with the nannies.
Creator Abi Morgan may be best known to American viewers for "The Hour," a 2011 period drama set at the BBC in the 1950s, a U.K. variation on "Mad Men" that looked at the intersection of politics, diplomacy and journalism. "The Hour" can be streamed on Acorn.
This understated series serves up plenty of infidelity with a minimum of salacious scenes. The ratio of guilt and suffering to pleasure is decidedly high. While I could do without the mawkish musical interludes, "The Split" offers addictive melodrama and a meditation on the simple fact that "maturity" does not necessarily bring wisdom or the diminution of desire.
• The sex and guilt theme continues in the limited series "Penance," a three-part U.K. drama streaming on Sundance Now, AMC's premium service. Julie Graham ("The Bletchley Circle") stars as a mother grieving her lost son who encounters a much younger man in group therapy for the bereaved.
• Meanwhile, network TV has embarked on its silly summer season. Fans who miss sports and all the play-by-play blather that accompanies competition may find refuge in "Holey Moley" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG), featuring snark-laden commentary on that classic summer diversion, miniature golf.
Fox launches something called "Labor of Love" (9 p.m., TV-14), "starring" a pregnant woman courted by 15 suitors ready to show her that they are daddy material.
And don't forget "Celebrity Watch Party" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14). Jack Black hosts "Celebrity Escape Room" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14), and a celebrity variation on "To Tell the Truth" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) enters its fifth season.
TONIGHT'S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
• A harrowing homecoming on the second season premiere of "Burden of Truth" (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
• "World War II in Europe" (8 p.m., National Geographic, TV-14) and "Heroes in the Sky" (9 p.m., National Geographic, TV-14) note the 75 years since VE Day.
• Celebrities raise money for charity on "The Red Nose Day Special" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
Real estate on "Young Sheldon" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) * Carrots and sticks on "Man With a Plan" (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) * Cookie crumbles on "Mom" (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14) * Murphy and Felix multitask on "In the Dark" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14) * Anger management on "Broke" (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) * Counterfeit currency on "S.W.A.T." (10 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
Edward G. Robinson plays an insurance investigator in the 1944 film noir classic "Double Indemnity" (11:30 p.m., TCM, TV-PG), starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck.
"The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" (11 p.m., Comedy Central) practices social distancing * Stephen Colbert is on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS, r) * Steve Carell, Milky Chance and Jack Johnson are booked on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (11:35 p.m., CBS) * Jimmy Fallon welcomes Sofia Vergara, Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon and Courtney Barnett on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC) * Kevin Hart appears on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" (11:35 p.m., ABC) * Janelle Monae and Patton Oswalt visit "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (12:35 a.m., NBC) * Rob Gronkowski, Venus Williams and HAIM appear on "The Late Late Show With James Corden" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
© 2020, United Feature Syndicate
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