A New Ken Burns Documentary Series, ‘The Strain’ Finale, and More TV You Must See This Week

Plus new ‘Gotham,’ ‘Transparent,’ ‘Vice Principals,’ and comedy specials
By  · Published on September 17th, 2017

Plus new ‘Gotham,’ ‘Transparent,’ ‘Vice Principals,’ and a Jerry Seinfeld special.

This week the number four is a constant: one major series comes to an end with the last episode of its fourth season, while other favorite series begin their own. Comedy abounds, as well, while documentary and history fans have a new lengthy doc series from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick to look forward to.

To help you keep track of the most important programs over the next seven days, here’s our guide to everything worth watching, whether it’s on broadcast, cable, or streaming for September 17th – 23rd (all times Eastern):

69th Primetime Emmy Awards (CBS, Sunday 8pm)

As fall brings along new seasons and new shows, the 69th Emmy Awards ceremony looks back to all the TV we have watched in one year. The three-hour gala will be hosted (for the first time) by Stephen Colbert and will reunite small screen personalities with film stars that have been dipping their toes in TV, such as nominees Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, Ewan McGregor, Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, and Reese Witherspoon. The ceremony seems to promise an interesting competition: sci-fi thriller Westworld and late night comedy series Saturday Night Live lead with 22 nominations each, followed by a good amount of debuting shows, while the streaming services’ content keep gaining ground as Netflix holds 91 nominations, accompanied by Hulu (18) and Amazon (16).

The Vietnam War (PBS, Sunday 8pm)

Starting Sunday, PBS will present Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s 10-part (18-hour) documentary series focused on one of the most defining and controversial events of American history: The Vietnam War. Both directors are aware that the subject has been approached multiple times, in many different ways, in both film and TV, and offer a nuanced and exhaustive look at the war through interviews and testimonies from witnesses of all sides of the conflict, re-mastered archival footage, still images from celebrated photojournalists, television broadcasts, home movies, and even federal audio recordings. All accompanied by an original score composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, and a soundtrack featuring many of the most iconic songs from the decade.

The Strain (FX, Sunday 10pm)

The end is near, and we don’t say this lightly. The final season of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain finally arrives to its conclusion, and the stakes are high, not only because in the past episode treason was revealed, but also because there was a nuke involved. In this final episode, Quinlan devises a desperate plan that will cost him dearly and Fet undertakes a suicide mission, all before the humanity takes its final stand against the Master and his Strain.

Vice Principals (HBO, Sunday 10:30pm)

Creators Danny McBride and Jody Hill always knew that it would end this way. They planned HBO’s Vice Principals as a school year: a nine-episode spring term and a nine-episode fall term. But before everyone at North Jackson High goes on winter vacation, the fall semester brings changes and new opportunities for mayhem. As Gamby (McBride) and Russell (Walton Goggins) learn that holding on to power is just as difficult as gaining it, they embark in an intense search for Gamby’s shooter and dark comedy ensues.

Jerry Before Seinfeld (Netflix, Tuesday)

Netflix is a safe haven for stand-up comedy: Aziz Ansari, Louis C.K., Patton Oswald, Dave Chappelle, Trevor Noah, Hassan Minaj, John Mulaney, along with many other performers comprise the streaming service’s extensive catalog of stand-up specials, which currently includes 88 titles. However, before the internet became a hub for comedians, there were nightclubs, and there was Jerry Seinfeld. Everything comes full circle with a one-hour special in which Seinfeld performs some of his earliest material in a new set at The Comics Strip in New York. This will be the first of his two stand-up specials.

Gotham (FOX, Thursday 8pm)

Part of the allure of Gotham is watching Bruce Wayne and Gotham City’s gallery of rogues develop as they become the heroes and villains we know and love, and the show has explored interesting paths along with its characters: we’ve been introduced to the Court of Owls, Edward Nygma finally embraced his Riddler identity and suit, and we’ve been teased with Ra’s al Ghul and the Joker’s true identity. It seems that the fourth season will keep following that same track: the first half of the season is inspired by “Batman: The Long Halloween” and the second half will take from “Batman: Year One.”

Transparent (Amazon, Friday)

TV shows getting political is a sign of the times and Amazon’s Transparent secures its place in the list with its fourth season. Creator and showrunner Jill Soloway has admitted that the show will be more politically specific and it’s easy to see how: the Pfeffermans are headed to Israel for a spiritual journey and Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) is dating a man named Donald. However, the show will still explore more worldly subjects like family, identity, love, and acceptance.


69th Primetime Emmy Awards (CBS, 8pm) – 3-hour special

Outlander S3E2 “Surrender” (Starz, 8pm)

Teen Wolf S6E18 “Broken Glass” (MTV, 8pm)

The Orville S1E2 “Command Performance” (FOX, 8pm)

The Vietnam War S1E1 “Déjà vu” (PBS, 8pm) – documentary premiere

Top Gear America S1E8 “Time Capsule” (BBC America, 8pm)

Fear the Walking Dead S3E11 “La Serpiente” (AMC, 9pm)

Ray Donovan S5E6 “Shelley Duvall” (Showtime, 9pm)

The Deuce S1E2 “Show and Prove” (HBO, 9pm)

The Ultimate Guide to Sounding Smart (History, 9pm)

Ballers S3E9 “Crackback” (HBO, 10pm)

Get Shorty S1E7 “Grace Under Pressure” (Epix, 10pm)

The Strain S4E10 “The Last Stand” (FX, 10pm) – series finale

Vice Principals S2E1 “Tiger Town” (HBO, 10:30pm) – Season 2 premiere

Rick & Morty S3E8 “Morty’s Mind Blowers” (Cartoon Network, 11:30pm)



Black Widows S1 (Acorn TV)

The Vietnam War S1E2 “Riding the Tiger” (PBS, 8pm)

Midnight, Texas S1E10 “The Virgin Sacrifice” (NBC, 10pm) – season finale

People of Earth S2E9 “Truth or Dare” (TBS, 10:30pm)



Difficult People S3E9 “Sweet Tea” (Hulu)

Jerry Before Seinfeld (Netflix) – comedy special

The Mindy Project S6E2 “A Romantical Decouplement” (Hulu)

The Vietnam War S1E3 “The River Styx” (PBS, 8pm)

Space’s Deepest Secrets: Cassini (Science, 9pm)

American Horror Story: Cult S7E3 “Neighbors from Hell” (FX, 10pm)

The Paley Center Salutes the Best of Will & Grace (NBC, 10pm) – 1-hour special

Conan Without Borders: Israel (TBS, 10pm) – special episode



Swedish Dicks S1E9 (Pop, 8pm)

The Vietnam War S1E4 “Resolve” (PBS, 8pm)

Channel Zero: The No-End House S2E1 “This Isn’t Real” (SyFy, 10pm) – Season 2 premiere

The Good Place S2E1 & S2E2 “Everything Is Great! Part 1 & 2” (NBC, 10pm) – Season 2 premiere

The Sinner S1E8 “Part VIII” (USA, 10pm) – Season 1 finale

You’re the Worst S4E4 “This Is Just Marketing” (FXX, 10pm)

Broad City S4E2 “Twaining Day” (Comedy Central, 10:30pm)

Baroness von Sketch Show S2E2 “Don’t Call Me Ma’am” (IFC, 11pm)



Gotham S4E1 “Pax Penguina” (FOX, 8pm) – Season 4 premiere

The Vietnam War S1E5 “This Is What We Do” (PBS, 8pm)

O.J.: Guilty in Vegas (A&E, 9pm) – documentary special

Project Runway S16E6 (Lifetime, 9pm)

The Orville S1E3 “About A Girl” (FOX, 9pm)

Better Things S2E2 “Rising” (FX, 10pm)

Zoo S3E13 “The Barrier” (CBS, 10pm) – Season 3 finale

The Guest Book S1E9 “Story Nine” (TBS, 10:30pm)



Fuller House (Netflix) – Season 3 premiere

Gaga: Five Foot Two (Netflix) – documentary premiere

Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father (Netflix) – series premiere

Neo Yokio (Netflix) – mini-series premiere

Transparent (Amazon) – Season 4 premiere

Mike Judge Presents: Tales from the Tour Bus S1E1 “Johnny Paycheck” (Cinemax, 10pm) – series premiere

Room 104 S1E9 “Boris” (HBO, 11:30pm)



Assassin’s Creed (HBO, 9pm) – cable premiere

Halt and Catch Fire S4E6 “A Connection Is Made” (AMC, 9pm)

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