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NBC's 'Council of Dads' is a multi-hanky melodrama

Posted 3/24/20

By Kevin McDonough

The week after a nationwide hoarding run on paper products may not be the best time to launch a three-hanky melodrama like "Council of Dads" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

Shot like a Hallmark movie, "Dads" takes place in some …

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NBC's 'Council of Dads' is a multi-hanky melodrama

Posted

By Kevin McDonough

The week after a nationwide hoarding run on paper products may not be the best time to launch a three-hanky melodrama like "Council of Dads" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

Shot like a Hallmark movie, "Dads" takes place in some gorgeous seaside community where handsome husband Scott Perry (Tom Everett Scott) is first seen helping his youngest brave a deep dive into the bay for the very first time. Of course, they're cheered on by his beautiful doctor wife, Robin (Sarah Wayne Callies), and their extended brood.

And just in case we miss out on the wonderfulness of the moment, it's described in poignant voice-over by eldest daughter, Luly (Michele Weaver).

It's not giving too much away to reveal that this Kodak moment represents the last uncomplicated moment for the Perrys. Scott receives worrisome news from his doctor (and best friend), and he's hustled off to chemo, surgery and all that entails. The title of the show refers to the unofficial gang of male friends Scott has assembled to help mentor and raise the kids. Just in case.

Imagine for a moment just how cloying and manipulative this story might become and then turn that up to 11. Then add seasoned ingredients like a fishing shack out of "Forrest Gump," location atmosphere imported from "The Prince of Tides," a nonstop onslaught of moody music and even a Christmas tree!

Not completely unaware of its patriotic duty, NBC premieres this hugs-and-cancer weepy right after the season finale of "This Is Us" (9 p.m., TV-14). Otherwise, there might not be enough hankies to go around!

"Frontline" (10 p.m., PBS, check local listings) presents "NRA Under Fire," examining the debate over gun control and the powerful gun lobby in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 Parkland school massacre that galvanized a youthful movement against the NRA.

Like many "Frontline" segments, this hourlong report recycles material from earlier efforts, notably "Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA," from 2015.

As I mentioned in a review of that installment, the emphasis on political battles and the legislative victories of the NRA overlooks the growing estrangement of American society from the gun culture it claims to represent. Since the NRA rebranded itself as a strident political player in the late 1970s, the number of gun-owning households has dropped dramatically, from roughly half to barely a third.

• The sitcom reboot "One Day at a Time" (9:30 p.m., POP, TV-14) swims against the tide to enter its fourth season. While many canceled network and cable series have migrated to streaming, it was Netflix that revived this Norman Lear series and then pulled the plug after three seasons. POP looks to build an audience and replace its soon-to-depart Canadian import "Schitt's Creek" (9 p.m., TV-14) by bucking media trends.

• TCM premieres the 2018 documentary "Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache" (8 p.m.), a profile of an early woman director. Surviving works, including "Falling Leaves" (10 p.m.), from 1912, and "The Ocean Waif" (10:15 p.m.), from 1916, follow.

TONIGHT'S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

• Parts two and three of the Oscar-winning 2016 documentary "O.J.: Made in America" (ESPN, TV-14) recalls the 1992 L.A. riots (7 p.m.) and the shocking arrest of a beloved celebrity (9 p.m.).

• Cain feels responsible on "The Resident" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).

• Missing the bus on "FBI" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

• A terrorist's wife vows to complete his mission on "FBI: Most Wanted" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

• Aaron grills O'Reilly in court on "For Life" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14).

CULT CHOICE

Cast against a marketable type, Steve McQueen stars in the 1978 drama "An Enemy of the People" (6 p.m., TCM, TV-G), a film version of Arthur Miller's 1950 adaptation of Henrick Ibsen's 1882 stage drama.

SERIES NOTES

Another sailor down on "NCIS" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) * Prizes galore on "Ellen's Game of Games" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) * Becky can't find childcare on "The Conners" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) * Meeting cute on "The Flash" (8 p.m., CW, r, TV-PG) * No follow-through on "Bless This Mess" (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) * Cookie and her sisters glance back on "Empire" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * Rainbow considers medicine on "mixed-ish" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) * Who's Zari now on "DC's Legends of Tomorrow" (9 p.m., CW, r, TV-14) * Guilt and motivation on "black-ish" (9:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

LATE NIGHT

Jameela Jamil appears on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS, r) * Sen. Kamala Harris, Peter Jackson and Lady Antebellum visit "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (11:35 p.m., CBS, r) * Jimmy Fallon welcomes Mandy Moore, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dane DeHaan on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC, r) * Rob Corddry, Lake Bell and Anna Drezen sit down on "The Late Late Show With James Corden" (12:35 p.m., CBS, r).

© 2020, United Feature Syndicate