Do horror and history mix? Or is popular genre fiction the only way to get through to a history-averse public?
Now in its second season and featuring a new story, “The Terror” (9 p.m., AMC, TV-14) recalls the treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. It opens just weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Derek Mio stars as Chester Nakayama, an American-born young man eager to leave the small, insular Japanese enclave near San Francisco where his family operates a fishing boat and faces exploitation from gruff white fish wholesalers always ready to exploit the “foreigners.”
Not unlike Michael Corleone in “The Godfather,” Chester sees his future among the American mainstream. But is that possible? A tea-leaf reader tells him he is a “sparrow in a swallow’s nest” and that he’ll never adjust to a place where he does not belong. Chester has a white girlfriend and, to use an old-fashioned expression, has gotten her into trouble. He has no idea that his woes have just begun.
Look for “Star Trek” legend George Takei as a village elder. As a young boy, Takei was among the many Japanese-American children interned in camps.
Against the background of actual historical tragedy, “The Terror” piles on hints of evil forces arriving like a powerful wind from the east. War doesn’t arrive until the end of the first hour, but the body count mounts just the same.
Much like the first season, this “Terror” is as much about claustrophobia as spooky manifestations. We may be far removed from the Arctic setting of that story, but the pace remains glacial.
I’m still not convinced that a narrative so steeped in real historical tragedy needs added elements of supernatural gore. Do hints of mystic forces from the old country help debunk racist stereotypes about immigrants, or reinforce them?
• The docuseries “Our Boys” (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA) recalls the disappearance of three Israeli boys and the emotional reaction to their plight that helped set in motion military action in the occupied Gaza territory.
• In the new series “Straight Up Steve Austin” (11 p.m., USA, TV-14), the pro-wrestling veteran travels to cities across America to interview and spend time with a single guest, beginning tonight with comedian and recent “Shark Week” host Rob Riggle. Upcoming guests include NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt Jr., NFL quarterback Baker Mayfield and WWE wrestler Becky Lynch.
• Photo albums cast light on American history in the new series “Family Pictures USA” (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings).
• The academy rounds begin on “So You Think You Can Dance” (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
• Danny and Alicia keep their secret on “Grand Hotel” (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
• A traditional Sicilian mid-August beach vacation offers a spotlight on economic decline in the “POV” (10 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings) documentary “Happy Winter.”
• Dud recovers from his shark bite as “Lodge 49” (10 p.m., AMC, TV-14) returns for a second season.
• It’s the end of the world as we know it on the series finale of “Legion” (10 p.m., FX, TV-MA).
Margaret Sullavan, Ann Sothern and Joan Blondell lead a cast playing 13 American women operating a field hospital on besieged Bataan in the 1943 wartime drama “Cry Havoc” (10 p.m., TCM, TV-PG). While many appreciated the film’s patriotic intent, others balked at its cast of gorgeous glamour girls.
First impressions on “The Neighborhood” (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) ... Obstacles galore on “American Ninja Warrior” (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) ... Jamie Foxx hosts “Beat Shazam” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) ... “Bachelor in Paradise” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... Grand theft auto on “Bulletproof” (8 p.m., CW, r, TV-14).
On two episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS, r, TV-PG), taking credit (8:30 p.m.), loyalty and obedience (9 p.m.)
“Whose Line Is It Anyway?” (9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., r, CW, TV-14) ... Closet cases on “Mom” (9:30 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14) ... An isolated boy is accused of a horrific crime on “Bull” (10 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14) ... “Dateline” (10 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone and Andy Bean appear on “Conan” (11 p.m., TBS, r) ... Wayne Brady, Tim Dillon and Lauren Lapkus appear on “Lights Out With David Spade” (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central).
Jimmy Fallon welcomes Kate Upton, Common and Swizz Beatz on “The Tonight Show” (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Kathy Griffin, George Takei, Jacqueline Novak and Nate Smith visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (12:35 a.m., NBC) ... Greg Kinnear, Judy Greer and Bazzi appear on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” (12:35 a.m., CBS).