What’s on TV This Week: ‘Resistance’ and ‘Finding Your Roots’


Between network, cable and streaming, the modern television landscape is a vast one. Here are some of the shows, specials and movies coming to TV this week, Jan. 11-Jan. 17. Details and times are subject to change.

ALL AMERICAN STORIES 8 p.m. on the CW. The life of the football linebacker Spencer Paysinger was the inspiration for the CW sports drama series “All American.” Paysinger co-hosts this documentary special, which profiles eight athletes who have overcome extraordinary circumstances in their own lives — including the Paralympic sprinter and long jumper Scout Bassett, the Olympic champion shot-putter Michelle Carter and the Paralympic sprinter David Brown. The special is divided into two hourlong parts (the second airs Feb. 1).

FINDING YOUR ROOTS 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). The ancestral roots of the broadcast journalist Norah O’Donnell, the fashion designer Zac Posen and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be excavated in the Season 6 finale of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s long-running familial history show. Highlights include a sequence in which Pelosi pores over the passenger manifest of a ship that arrived in New York in 1912 carrying her grandfather, her grandmother and their children, including Pelosi’s mother. “I take great pride in the courage that they had to come to America,” Pelosi says, “and to take a chance on America.”

CALL YOUR MOTHER 9:30 p.m. on ABC. Kyra Sedgwick stars as a mother who shoehorns her way into the lives of her young-adult children in this new sitcom from Kari Lizer (“The New Adventures of Old Christine”). The series has been described by ABC as a “coming of middle-age comedy.”

FIRST REFORMED (2017) 7 p.m. on Showtime 2. Paul Schrader’s knack for steady-building dread, once used to fuel his “Taxi Driver” screenplay, is put on potent display in the much more recent “First Reformed,” which Schrader both wrote and directed. Ethan Hawke stars as Rev. Ernst Toller, a worn Protestant minister at a small old church in upstate New York. The movie follows Toller as he becomes increasingly agonized — by his failing health, by a modern megachurch nearby and, eventually, by a tragedy. He also develops a closeness with a younger local, Mary (Amanda Seyfried), who becomes perhaps the least bleak presence in his life (though the bar is low). “It is the portrait of a soul in torment,” A.O. Scott wrote in his review for The New York Times, “all the more powerful for being so rigorously conceived and meticulously executed.”

WIDOWS (2018) 10:30 p.m. on FX. The director Steve McQueen and the actress Viola Davis each released acclaimed projects at the end of 2020: McQueen with his film anthology “Small Axe,” and Davis with her performance as the blues singer Ma Rainey in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” A couple of years earlier, they worked together on “Widows,” a downbeat heist movie directed by McQueen. Davis stars as Veronica, a woman who works for the Chicago Teachers Union. She’s also the wife of a bank robber (Liam Neeson) who dies during a botched theft. Veronica picks up the mantle from him, with the help of three other women (Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo). The resulting movie, A.O. Scott wrote in his review for The Times, “is a fascinating and sometimes frustrating hybrid, a film that tries both to transcend and to exploit its genre.”

MASTERPIECE: MISS SCARLET & THE DUKE 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Kate Phillips and Stuart Martin star as private investigators in this mystery series, which aired on the British channel Alibi in 2020 and makes its stateside debut on PBS on Sunday night. Set in Victorian London (no security footage or D.N.A. samples to help catch criminals here), the series follows Eliza Scarlet (Phillips), a woman determined to prove herself as a detective. That mission requires her to solve mysteries and to convince a sexist society that she’s up to the job. She teams up with William Wellington (Martin), who is both a sleuth and a Lothario.



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