“True Detective” returns to HBO, this time with Mahershala Ali. And revolution brews in PBS’s “Victoria.”
What’s on TV
TRUE DETECTIVE 9 p.m. on HBO. Fresh off his Golden Globe win for “Green Book,” Mahershala Ali leads the third season of HBO’s time-jumping crime drama, which returns after a less-than-beloved second season. The locale this time is the Ozarks; the time periods are the 1980s, 1990s and 2010s; and the crime is a gruesome one involving children. As a level-headed detective, Ali (along with his partner, played by Stephen Dorff) investigates, while viewers are ping-ponged between decades — and see Ali’s character afflicted with dementia, struggling to explain the details of the case in a movie-within-a-show documentary. In his review of the season for The New York Times, James Poniewozik wrote that the season treads a lot of familiar ground, writing that “if you score ‘True Detective’ Season 3 on originality, it fails.” But he also noted: “If you treat it as a do-over — if the series, like one of its haunted antiheroes, is retracing its steps to try to get things right — then it’s fine. Often quite good. Far more consistent.”
AMERICAN STYLE 9 p.m. on CNN. One of the pleasures of a decade-hopping show like “True Detective” is watching the costumes change to reflect the time periods, the way suits and hair are cut providing an indication of which one is being explored. For those wanting to give more thought to these nuances, this documentary series looks at American fashion during several windows of time in the nation’s history: The first episode, “War Boots to Work Suits,” covers the 1940s and ’50s, and the ways in which things like bikinis and Katharine Hepburn’s pants reflected the sensibilities of the time. The second episode, airing directly after, covers the 1960s and ’70s.
VICTORIA 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). After Season 2 spent time in the first half of the 1840s, the third season of Daisy Goodwin’s Victorian drama begins in 1848, with the pressures of a revolution mounting on the titular queen. Offering a looser and more playful version of Victorian royal life than Netflix’s “The Crown,” the show stars Jenna Coleman as a Victoria whom Mike Hale referred to in his review for The Times as “a combination of coquettish flibbertigibbet, tough proto-feminist and compassionate, perhaps too-good-to-be-true liberal humanist.”
FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE on Netflix. A matter relating to an illustrated centaur’s nether regions is discussed within the first five minutes of this comedy’s second season, which gives a pretty good gauge of the kind of over-the-top humor one can expect from it. Keegan-Michael Key, Cobie Smulders, Annie Parisse, Nat Faxon, Fred Savage and Jae Suh Park star as friends from Harvard many years into post-college life.