Sunday TV: HBO’s Dark ‘The Outsider’

the-outsiderThrough the years, novelist Richard Price has helped set the deadly serious tone to some of the strongest HBO dramas, from David Simon’s “The Deuce” and “The Wire” to his own “The Night Of” three years ago.

That same dark tone, and the excellent acting that accompanies it, shapes his latest “The Outsider” (HBO, 9 p.m.) about the death of a child in a small-town, the arrest of an upstanding youth coach, and how the case seems to subsequently fall apart. So controlling is Price’s true crime approach is that one doesn’t suspect the work is an adaptation of a Stephen King novel until several episodes in.

Ben Mendelsohn is masterful as a troubled cop consumed by the case; Cynthia Erivo, recently of “Harriet,” may be even better as a kind of awkward genius savant private detective who looks even deeper. Familiar faces populate the drama such as Bill Camp as a defense lawyer. And Jason Bateman, who directs the first two episodes (both on tonight), is the prime suspect.

A literary adaptation that may take even more liberties is “Sanditon” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) , in which Andrew Davis (“House of Cards,” “Pride and Prejudice”) takes what little Jane Austen wrote, in her final work, about a romance at a seaside town and runs with it, infusing it with more sexuality than any Austen before it. Rose Williams and Theo James star in the eight-part series.

It’s preceded by another “Masterpiece” productions, a serialization of E.M. Forster’s “Howards End” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings) with Hayley Attwell and Matthew Macfayden (of “Succession”).

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were announced as hosts of next year’s Golden Globes; tonight’s Critics’ Choice Awards (CW, 7 p.m.) is hosted by Taye Diggs in Santa Monica. “The Irishman,” “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” and “Little Women” are movie contenders; like the Globes, TV will be honored as well. And Kristin Bell gets a special award.

NFL divisional playoffs continue with Houston at Kansas City (CBS, 3:05 p.m.) and Seattle at Green Bay (Fox, 6:40 p.m.).

“Doctor Who” (BBC America, 8 p.m.) looks to a luxury holiday on an alien planet. 

Paz looks to arrest Ghost on “Power” (Starz, 8 p.m.), then they talk about it on “Power Confidential” (Starz, 9 p.m.).

Another dinner is ruined on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” (Bravo, 8 p.m.).

“God Friended Me” (CBS, 8 p.m.) features a wedding, as does “Work in Progress” (Showtime, 10:52 p.m.).

A young food critic is on “Kids Say the Darndest Things” (ABC, 8 p.m.).

“Ray Donovan” (Showtime, 8 p.m.) asks Judge School for help to clear his name.

Porsha’s ex-fiancé gives her a ring on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” (Bravo, 8 p.m.).

“NCIS: Los Angeles” (CBS, 9 p.m.) connects an opioid ring to terrorists.

Lip and Tami get a new opportunity on “Shameless” (Showtime, 9 p.m.).

“Shark Tank” (ABC, 9 p.m.) hears from a teenage sock maker.

Beth takes drastic action to control the squad on “Dare Me” (USA, 10 p.m.).

“Worst Cooks in America” (Food, 9 p.m.) ruin fresh mozzarella.

Bette and Dani deal with a scandal’s fallout on “The L Word: Generation Q” (Showtime, 10 p.m.).

“Sister Wives” (TLC, 10 p.m.) aren’t getting along.

A new cure to a common disease is tried on “The Weekly” (FX, 10 p.m.).

An Art Carney double feature on Turner Classic Movies has “Harry at Tonto” (8 p.m.) and “The Late Show” (10:15 p.m.). Then comes Hitchcock’s silent “The Lodger” (midnight) and two WWII imports, Gillo Pontecorvo’s “Kapo” (2 a.m.) and Bernhard Wicki’s “The Bridge” (4 a.m.).

Hockey includes Toronto at Florida (NHL, 7 p.m.).

Men’s college hoops includes Michigan State at Purdue (CBS, noon), Wichita State at Connecticut (CBS Sports, noon), Memphis at South Florida (ESPN2, 4 p.m.), Utah at Colorado (ESPNU, 6 p.m.) and Arizona at Oregon State (Fox Sports 1, 10 p.m.).

Women’s games include Maryland at Michigan (ESPN2, noon), Kentucky at Florida (ESPNU, noon), St. John’s at DePaul (Fox Sports 1, 1 p.m.), George Washington at Fordham (CBS Sports, 2 p.m.), Oklahoma State at Baylor (ESPNU, 2 p.m.), Central Florida at Cincinnati (ESPN2, 2 p.m.), VCU at Saint Louis (CBS Sports, 4 p.m.), Rhode Island at Davidson (NBC Sports, 4:30 p.m.) and South Florida at Tulsa (CBS Sports, 6 p.m.).

Sunday Talk

ABC: Rep. Nancy Pelosi, national security adviser Robert O’Brien. CBS: Defense secretary Mark Esper, Sens. Mike Lee and Tim Kaine, Rep. Adam Schiff, former Secretary of State John Kerry. NBC: O’Brien, Sens. Rand Paul and Michael Bennet. CNN: Esper, Lee, Tom Steyer. Fox News: O’Brien, Sen. Chris Coons.

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