Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, January 4. All times are Eastern.
This Is Us (NBC, 9 p.m., season six premiere): Everyone’s favorite tear-jerker of a TV show finally returns for its final season. The Pearson clan is ready to say goodbye in the premiere, titled “The Challenger,” as the Kevin, Kate, and Randall, a.k.a. The Big Three, celebrate their 41st birthday.
The A.V. Club’s Caroline Siede found herself reeling after the last season finale: “If you had given me 50 chances to guess what might happen in tonight’s This Is Us season finale, I never would’ve landed on this episode’s final tease: A flash-forward to five years in the future, where Kate is set to marry her uptight British boss Philip (Chris Geere)—a character I assumed wouldn’t even rival Jae-Won in terms of levels of relevance to this show. I’ve watched the final few minutes of this episode about half a dozen times to make sure I’m not being duped. But as far as I can tell, there’s no room for ambiguity. Kate’s in a wedding dress, Kevin is rehearsing a toast, and Philip gives him permission to make jokes at his expense by noting, ‘If you can’t take the piss out of your future brother-in-law, who can you take the piss out of?’ Unless next season is going to reveal there’s a secret fourth Pearson sibling Philip is marrying instead, it seems like we’re in for some seismic changes in This Is Us’ sixth and final season.”
Black-ish (ABC, 9:30 p.m., season eight premiere): ABC’s groundbreaking comedy also returns for its final season. In “That’s What Friends Are For,” Michelle Obama guest stars and accepts an invitation to dine at Bow and Dre’s house after a fundraising event. But on the evening of the special meal, naturally, the rest of the Johnsons want to crash the occasion.
Action Pack (Netflix, 3:01 a.m.): This new CG animated kids’ show follows superpowered kids Treena, Watts, Wren, and Clay. Taught by Mr. Ernesto at the Action Academy, they work to find the good in everyone, even villains. Proving child labor laws should actually expand to include emotional labor at this point. Justice for the children!
Abbott Elementary (ABC, 9 p.m., series premiere): A Black Lady Sketch Show’s Quinta Brunson creates and stars in this workplace comedy set in a Philadelphia public school. Lean On Me meets Waiting For Superman… but funny.
American Auto (NBC, 8 p.m.): Superstore creator Justin Spitzer has never shied away from the hilarious realities and indignities of work among essential workers, and he’s not stopping now. Set in Detroit at the headquarters of a major automotive company struggling to adapt to a changing industry, the show stars Ana Gasteyer, Jon Barinholtz, Harriet Dyer, Humphrey Ker, Michael B. Washington, Tye White, and X Mayo.
Grand Crew (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): Writer Phil Augusta Jackson goes from critically acclaimed comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Insecure to creating a show about a group of six friends who bond at an L.A. wine bar. Nicole Byer, Carl Tart, Echo Kellum, Justin Cunningham, Aaron Jennings, and Grasie Mercedes star.