Men of a Certain Age (Monday, 10/9c, TNT)
This bittersweet midlife comedy-drama reaches its midseason finale (already?), with an episode that doesn't just get under its characters' skin but goes where few series would dare: to a colonoscopy. When Terry (Scott Bakula, who has been great this season) decides his 50th birthday calls for the procedure — consider this the show's Public Service Announcement — Joe and Owen decide to make it a group event in Palm Springs. While their plumbing gets a workout, the getaway prompts each of the men to think about where they are in life. The script is by Tucker Cawley, an Emmy-winner for Everybody Loves Raymond.
Lights Out (Tuesday, 10/9c, FX)
Welcome to the next great FX drama, which is heavyweight in every sense of the word. Holt McCallany stars in a career-defining performance as a washed-up pro boxer beset by financial, physical, psychological, moral and family problems that would bring a lesser human to his knees. Could a comeback be in the works? The strong supporting cast includes Pablo Schreiber (The Wire) as his brother, who handles his books, and Stacy Keach as his dad, who manages the struggling boxing gym the family operates. Not the sunniest show of the year, but one of the most gripping of a dismal midseason.
Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides (Wednesday, 8/7c, PBS)
The great American Masters series profiles the Oscar-winning star of Crazy Heart and, more recently, winter hit True Grit in a 90-minute documentary that reveals the actor's range extends to photography, painting, wine and (as his Oscar role reminds us) music. T-Bone Burnett and Michael McDonald are among the famous friends and collaborators interviewed, as well as directors (Peter Bogdanovich), actors (Robin Williams, Robert Duvall) and members of his legendary Hollywood family, including actor brother Beau.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Wednesday, 10/9c, NBC)
Some of Jeremy Irons' best performances have also been his creepiest. Think David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers or his Oscar turn as Claus von Bulow in Reversal of Fortune. Now he adds to the roster with a sinister guest performance as a sex therapist with a shady past of sexual and alcohol addiction that gets revealed during the investigation of his grown daughter's rape. Former Criminal Minds star A.J. Cook appears as the daughter's partner.
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