REVIEW ENOUGH television and certain patterns emerge. On Sunday nights, HBO airs “Big Little Lies,” set in an affluent town south of San Francisco featuring insufferably self-absorbed and effortlessly wealthy characters. On Monday nights, HBO turns to the East Coast with “Divorce” (10 p.m., TV-MA), set just north of New York City in Westchester’s Hastings-on-Hudson. One’s a dark melodrama with murder at the center, the other a dark comedy. But both go well with a fine whine.
Of the two, “Divorce” is more unbearable. The scenes between recently split characters Frances (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Robert (Thomas Haden Church) are almost never credible. Their dialogue is so stilted and awkwardly delivered, they barely seem human.
Much of the dialogue in this series seems overly clever to the point of trite. When Frances reflects on her failed venture, she concludes that “she lost the battle of Hastings.”
Good writing never calls attention to itself. It’s not in evidence here. Many scenes resemble a reading more than a performance. This might have worked in “Sex and the City,” when Parker played a columnist reciting her work. Here, it seems stagey and boring.
One of the more honest aspects of the import series “Years and Years” (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA) is its depiction of middle- and upper-class characters facing actual financial hardships brought about by the international chaos that unfolds as the “Years” unwind.
Series like “Divorce” and “Lies” reflect a world where such discomfort is inconceivable. In tonight’s “Divorce” season opener, Robert seems genuinely burdened by a shopping spree at Bed, Bath & Beyond. And it’s not just his character suffering from a severe lack of empathy and imagination.
In the second episode of “Years and Years,” the family (and the world) pick up the pieces after the nuclear tantrum of 2024.
• In case you missed it, Netflix recently began streaming the third season of “Designated Survivor.” The series, canceled by ABC, stars Keifer Suthlerand as a low-ranking cabinet member catapulted to the Oval Office by a catastrophic attack.
Starting today, Netflix also begins streaming “Designated Survivor: 60 Days,” a South Korean adaptation of that same show, starring Ji Jin-hee as an unknown environmental minister faced with the same daunting task.
• The “POV” (10 p.m., PBS, TV-14, check local listings) documentary “Call Her Ganda” follows the case of a trans woman killed by a U.S. serviceman in the Philippines and the resulting political uprising, which challenged local bigotry and the U.S. military presence.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Lots of curves, you bet on “American Ninja Warrior” (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
• Jamie Foxx hosts “Beat Shazam” (8 p.m., Fox, r, TV-PG).
• Amsterdam’s canals become a romantic backdrop for “The Bachelorette” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG)
• A woman’s ex returns to rekindle her love of music in the 2019 romance “In the Key of Love” (8 p.m., Hallmark, TV-G).
• Summer beaches and the summer movie season just haven’t been the same since the 1975 blockbuster “Jaws” (8 p.m., Starz Encore), starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss.
• A witness goes AWOL on “The Code” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).
• Auditions unfold on “So You Think You Can Dance” (9 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14).
• A piece of the missing Sky on “Grand Hotel” (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
• “Mysteries of Apollo” (10 p.m., Science) recalls the engineering innovations required to rescue the Apollo 13 mission in 1970.
• An earnest teacher (Glenn Ford) runs up against juvenile delinquents (Sidney Poitier and Vic Morrow) in the 1955 drama “Blackboard Jungle” (9:45 p.m., TCM, TV-14), a film that sparked riots with its theme song, Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock.”
On two helpings of “The Neighborhood” (CBS, r, TV-PG), roughing it (8 p.m.), hard times befall sole survivors (8:30 p.m.) ... Illusionists audition on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
On two helpings of “Whose Line Is It Anyway” (CW, TV-14), Jonathan Mangum (9 p.m.), Ross Matthews (9:30 p.m., r,) ... A joint defense strategy on “Bull” (10 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14) ... “Dateline” (10 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
Dax Shepard appears on “Conan” (11 p.m., TBS, r) ... Bryan Cranston, RuPaul and Bonnie Raitt are booked on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (11:35 p.m., CBS, r) ... Jimmy Fallon welcomes Ryan Reynolds, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Protoje on “The Tonight Show” (11:35 p.m., NBC, r) ... Rachel Bloom, Christopher Meloni and Rita Wilson are set to appear on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” (12:35 a.m., CBS, r).