As true crime media amass a growing following, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk look to replicate their American Horror Story formula (anthology storytelling + killer cast) while capitalizing on the popular genre by exploring real cases of wrongdoing from U.S. history.
Created and written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson (Series Premiere, 10 p.m. Tuesday, FX) recounts the murders of Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman and the game-changing trial that followed. Season 2 of the anthology series, which isn’t officially confirmed yet by the network but is a sure bet, will explore the atrocities of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
The widely televised O.J. Simpson trial has been designated as the birth of reality TV, and it did have all the elements American audiences seem to love: an American hero fallen from grace; a beautiful blonde victim to rally behind; sex; murder; and celebrity gossip. To look back more than 20 years after the fact, exploring all sides, is certainly intriguing.
But it’s also endlessly entertaining just to watch stars portray public figures we know so well. And like its Horror counterpart, ACS boasts an impressive cast: Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Simpson; John Travolta as an eyebrows-on-fleek Robert Shapiro; Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran; Nathan Lane as F. Lee Bailey; David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian and Selma Blair as ex-wife Kris Jenner (there’s no escaping them!); AHS staple Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark and Murder House star Connie Britton as Faye Resnick; and Billy Magnussen as Kato Kaelin.
American Crime (10 p.m., ABC) – That other American Crime show. A new discovery prompts authorities to collect DNA samples from the basketball team. Terri and Michael get Kevin a lawyer, but he’s more concerned about Eric. Elsewhere, Taylor attempts to recapture normal life.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (10 p.m., FXX) – Dennis and Dee adapt his erotic memoirs into cinematic gold; Frank and Mac try to get rich by making Charlie out to be a gifted artist.
You, Me and the Apocalypse (Series Premiere, 8 p.m., NBC) – With a comet set to hit Earth in a matter of days, we follow various characters as they attempt to survive — or at least live up their last days — including a wrongfully convicted librarian in jail (Jenna Fischer) and a white supremacist fellow prisoner (Megan Mullally), a raunchy priest (Rob Lowe) and the general of a U.S. government response team (The Leftovers’ Patterson Joseph).
Portlandia (10 p.m., IFC) – Fred discovers he’s gone gray and decides to figure out how old he actually is; Carrie’s OBGYN warns that she’s on the brink of old spinsterhood.
Workaholics (10 p.m., Comedy Central) – When Blake and Jillian adopt a cat, things don’t go as planned.
Baskets (10 p.m., FX) – Chip welcomes a new clown to the rodeo.
Idiotsitter (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – Gene is granted a temporary release to attend a funeral, but her excitement for freedom paired with Billie’s funeral phobia creates a few roadblocks.
Grease Live! (7 p.m., Fox) – The Wiz Live! was a critically acclaimed hit, but Grease? White people usually ruin everything.
The X-Files (8 p.m., Fox) – When a body is found in a forest, the duo must determine whether the killer was man, animal or something in between.
Fresh Off the Boat (8:30 p.m., ABC) – The Huangs plan to celebrate a traditional Chinese New Year with family in Washington, D.C., but end up stuck in Florida with the Asian-American Association of Orlando’s interpretation of the holiday.