‘Happy Valley’ Finale, Deon Cole Is ‘Average Joe,’

Sarah Lancashire and James Norton in Happy Valley - Series Finale

Acorn TV

Happy Valley

We’re told most coppers bow out quietly on their last day, but that’s not the style of world-weary Sgt. Catherine Cawood (the marvelous Sarah Lancashire), who’s hanging up her gear—but not before a memorably harrowing final showdown with serial killer Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton). She also finds time to resolve the case involving a shady pharmacist and reconcile with her broken family. Not bad for a day’s work. I’m not happy this show is ending, but it’s a satisfying conclusion.

Deon Cole in Average Joe

Andrew Thomas Clifton/BET+

Average Joe

A comedy scene-stealer in shows like black-ish, Deon Cole gives melodrama a shot with galvanizing results in a Breaking Bad-style thriller about an ordinary Pittsburgh plumber and family man suddenly thrust into a nightmare crime scenario. After burying his father, Joe (Cole) is horrified to learn that dad’s tow-truck company was somehow involved with Russian mobsters, and his death left $10 million and a Lamborghini unaccounted for. With murderous gangsters threatening his family, Joe enlists his friends—including Leon, a struggling hardware-store owner (Malcolm Barrett), and Touch, a cop with some dangerous bad habits (Michael Trucco)—to fight back. Suddenly, they’re dealing with issues like body disposal in a fast-moving series that juggles grisly shock value with dark gallows humor. The cast is solid, with Cynthia Kaye McWilliams a standout as Leon’s crime-show-obsessed wife Cathy, who steps up when things get tense. Nothing average about this series.

Charity Lawson in 'The Bachelorette'

The Bachelorette

The dating pool includes a firefighter, a pro wrestler, a tennis pro, an airline pilot, a yacht captain and an underwater welder. Who if any will capture the fancy of Bachelorette and family therapist Charity Lawson on the 20th season of the inescapable reality romance show? Her brother Nehemiah may have some influence in the two-hour opener. ABC’s all-reality Monday lineup opens with the Season 2 premiere of Claim to Fame (8/7c), where hosts Kevin and Franklin Jonas introduce 12 new contestants trying to hide their family connection to a well-known celeb. The winner at season’s end gets $100,000. This season’s twist: the players’ identities are hidden from the viewer as well until each episode’s reveal.

Jamie Bamber in Cannes Confidential

Frederic Pasquini/AcornTV

Cannes Confidential

Battlestar Galactica’s Jamie Bamber gleams as international con-man Harry King in a light mystery caper that takes full advantage of the scenic splendor of Cannes on the French Riviera. I’ll never tire of car and motorcycle chases on the breathtaking cliff roads overlooking the Mediterranean. It probably doesn’t matter that this eye candy has little to engage the brain as Harry trades barbs and solves cases with a lovely but tough French detective (Lucie Lucas) whose father, a former Chief of Police, is in jail on possibly trumped-up corruption charges.


  • The Celluloid Closet (8/7c, Turner Classic Movies): The 1995 documentary, based on Vito Russo’s book, tracks the evolution of LBGTQ characters in cinema. Followed by screenings of seminal films involving LGBTQ characters, both overt and implied, including Hitchcock’s 1948 Rope (10/9c), 1961’s The Children’s Hour (11:30/10:30c), based on Lillian Hellman’s play, and Greta Garbo as 1933’s Queen Christina (1:30 am/12:30c).
  • Celebrity IOU (8/7c and 9/8c, HGTV): In back-to-back episodes, dancing sibs Derek and Julianne Hough gift their friend and trainer with a condo makeover, then Empire’s Taraji P. Henson gives back to her beloved “second mother” with a backyard garden surprise.
  • Stars on Mars (8/7c, Fox): William “Mission Control” Shatner tasks the nine remaining “celebronauts” to seek out a strange new lifeform, with two sent home in a double elimination.
  • After Sherman (10/9c, PBS): The 36th season of documentary series POV opens with director Jon-Sesie Goff’s personal odyssey, returning to his coastal South Carolina homeland, which his family purchased after emancipation, to explore his Gullah Geechee cultural roots.

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