Worth Watching: Dance Fever on ‘Abbott Elementary’ and ‘This Is Us,’ ‘Roots’ Goes Broadway

Take a step class with Abbott Elementary. This Is Us returns from Olympics exile with Beth nervously preparing students for a dance recital. PBS’ Finding Your Roots explores the family trees of Broadway stars Nathan Lane and Leslie Odom, Jr. CBS is back in post-Olympics business with a full night of new episodes from the FBI franchise. Battle lines are drawn on New Amsterdam in an episode directed by series star Ryan Eggold.

Abbott Elementary Quinta Brunson

Abbott Elementary


One sign of a great sitcom is its ability to surprise you about a character you thought you’d figured out. “Can I not do something out of the goodness of my heart?” asks self-centered principal Ava (Janelle James) after she volunteers to help idealistic Janine (Quinta Brunson) teach an extracurricular step class. Her skeptical staff has reason to doubt her motives when Ava’s unconventional approach upstages Janine’s more disciplined technique. But there’s more to Ava than meets the eye. Back in the break room, a debate rages over who makes Philadelphia’s best pizza. They all sound good to me.

'This Is Us,' Season 6, NBC, Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth

This Is Us


Dance is also at the heart of an affecting episode of the family drama, returning from Olympics exile with a spotlight on Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson, who co-wrote the episode). She relives her tortured history with her favorite form of artistic expression while nervously preparing her recruits for a fall showcase. ER’s Goran Visnjic returns as the dance instructor who crushed her dreams, a memory that still haunts her. For the other Pearsons now and in the past, preparations are underway for what promises to be a memorable set of Thanksgivings.

Leslie Odom Jr. 2021 Oscars Red Carpet

Finding Your Roots


Two of Broadway’s brightest leading men, Tony winners Nathan Lane (The Producers) and Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton), open the curtain on their surprising family trees with the help of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who surprises Odom with an image of an unexpected ancestor: a white assistant surgeon for the Confederacy. For Lane, this journey into the past is an opportunity to learn about a history that his alcoholic father, who died when Nathan was 11, was never able to share.

FBI Season 2 Zeeko Zaki OA Crossovers



Returning with all-new episodes now that the Olympics are history, the franchise kicks off with a storyline involving Oa’s (Zeeko Zaki) Muslim heritage, when he reconnects with his former mosque’s imam who insists a slain Muslim college student and his brother were falsely targeted as terrorists in their double murder. In his investigation, Oa is uneasily paired with a Muslim anti-terrorist agent who’ll do whatever it takes to solve the case. On FBI: International (9/8c), Lost’s Elizabeth Mitchell returns as Angela Cassidy, Forrester’s (Luke Kleintank) estranged mother, an accused traitor who only recently re-entered his life. On FBI: Most Wanted (10/9c), Jess (soon-to-depart Julian McMahon) hopes his newly empty test is the right place to properly woo Sarah (Jen Landon).

Ryan Eggold as Dr. Max Goodwin in New Amsterdam

New Amsterdam


Series star Ryan Eggold directs an episode that could be pivotal in Max’s (Eggold) crusade to take down the hospital’s cold-hearted administrator, Victoria Fuentes (Michelle Forbes)—if only he can rally other former employees to join his scheme. Flashbacks show Fuentes in a less harsh light as she receives an unsentimental education in the realities of health care. Back at the hospital, Iggy (Tyler Labine) tackles a provocative case involving a dad (Oz’s Lee Tergesen) brainwashed by disinformation, and Dr. Wilder (Sandra Mae Frank) turns to holistic specialist Dr. Castries (Genevieve Angelson) for help with a terminal patient. These cases pack more punch than the endless battle over the soul of New Amsterdam.

Inside Tuesday TV:

  • Jeopardy! National College Championship (8/7c, ABC): See which of the college trivia masters walks away with $250,000 in the tournament’s finals.
  • The Real Dirty Dancing (9/8c, Fox): In the season finale, the remaining contestants attempt to replicate the movie’s climactic lift to see who’ll be crowned the true “Baby” and “Johnny.”
  • black-ish (9:30/8:30c, ABC): Is this for real? Charlie (Deon Cole) wants Dre (Anthony Anderson) to be the best man at his wedding—to Vivica A. Fox! Diane (Marsai Martin) isn’t invited because of her feud with Charlie, which won’t stop her from trying to crash the party.
  • Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (10/9c, HBO): The sports newsmagazine features a report on “sled head,” a condition of head trauma experienced in Olympic sliding sports including Bobsled and Skeleton, with injuries compared to those suffered in football.
  • Race: Bubba Wallace (streaming on Netflix): A six-part docuseries follows the Black NASCAR driver through the 2021 racing season as he navigates the aftermath of his decision to speak out against racial injustice.
  • Fannie Lou Hamer’s America (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): The Mississippi-born sharecropper turned civil-rights activist is profiled in an America Reframed special.