Worth Watching: ‘How I Met Your Father,’ Fatherhood on ‘This Is Us,’ Broadway’s Reopening, ‘Abbott’ Struggles with Tech

Hilary Duff leads a fresh ensemble in Hulu’s How I Met Your Father, a new twist on the Mother formula. Fathers have their say, if not always their way, in a moving episode of This Is Us. PBS’ Great Performances looks at how Broadway reopened after the long pandemic hiatus. Abbott Elementary exposes an educational generation gap when the school is gifted a new and confusing computer program.

How I Met Your Father cast Hulu

How I Met Your Father

Series Premiere

Whoever the dad turns out to be, they’d better not kill him off this time. That said, fans of the original How I Met Your Mother may want to check out this not-quite-spinoff, not-quite-reboot that follows the romantic ups and downs of Sophie (Younger’s Hilary Duff) and her diverse circle of old and new friends in New York. Narrating the series is Kim Cattrall—unlike the late Bob Saget in the original, she’s on camera talking to an off-screen offspring—in case you were wondering where she’s been since ditching her Sex and the City co-stars. From a first look, Father is going to need to sharpen its act (and tone down the canned laughter) before it can even think about becoming…wait for it…legendary. (Oh Barney, how we miss you.)

this is us season 5 jack milo-ventimiglia

This Is Us

9/8c

Dads are at the forefront of a strong episode of the familial heart-warmer, tugging at the emotions of anyone who’s felt torn between work, family and complicated personal dynamics. “Are you gonna live at work forever?” young Kate asks Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), whose guilt over spending too much time in the office and not enough at home inspires him to take the three kids to their first indoor movie. In present-day subplots, Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) are both feeling the pain of absentee fatherhood, while Randall (Sterling K. Brown) has an unsettling epiphany about Deja (Lyric Ross) while giving her a driving lesson. This should be shown every Father’s Day.

Reopening: The Broadway Revival

Documentary Premiere9/8c

The timing of this special is somewhat ironic, given the recent toll on Broadway productions of the Omicron surge causing several shows to either shut down for good or shutter until spring or later. And yet the show must go on for many, as this edition of Great Performances goes backstage to reveal what it took to light up the marquees and get musicals and plays back before audiences. Theater journalist Frank DiLella hosts the documentary, which visits hit shows Wicked, Aladdin, Phantom of the Opera and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical as they prepare to reopen as well as several that have since closed earlier than scheduled, including Waitress and Jagged Little Pill.

The Cast of Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary

9/8c

In one of the best episodes yet of the savvy mockumentary set in an inner-city public school, no one is more excited for Abbott to be given a new computerized teaching tool than Janine (Quinta Brunson)—because she sees an opportunity to be invaluable to “old school” mentor Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph), who doesn’t take to this “doohickey” easily. Complications set in when proud Barbara inadvertently posts test results through the device that makes her kindergarten students look like geniuses. Looks like everyone’s in for a life lesson. (But seriously: When in doubt, reboot.)

Inside Tuesday TV:

  • American Auto (8/7c, NBC): In an episode that feels even more like Veep than usual, the out-of-touch Payne execs travel in private-jet luxury to rural Millbank, Iowa, where they’re proud to announce the conversion of a local warehouse into a factory for their new impractical $10,000 car. Until a better offer comes along. Guest stars include The West Wing’s Joshua Molina and Parks and Recreation’s Jim O’Heir as the extremely accommodating governor.
  • Life Below Zero: Next Generation (8/7c, National Geographic): The spinoff’s fourth season opens as the young Alaskans prepare for the return of winter. Followed by the Season 5 premiere of Port Protection Alaska (9/8c), where residents new and old work together to repair their isolated community’s infrastructure.
  • Father Brown (streaming on BritBox): A ninth season of the cozy mystery series brings the crime-solving priest (Mark Williams) into 1953.