TV TODAY

Ken Burns Captures the Sweeping History of Country Music

ALSO: The Alec Baldwin Roast, Sunday Night Football, Succession, The Affair, and more
  • Ken Burns' eight-part documentary Country Music begins tonight. (PBS)
    Ken Burns' eight-part documentary Country Music begins tonight. (PBS)
    Primetimer's editors break down what's new and noteworthy on television today.

    Though the topics of his signature documentaries don't always jump out as the most electrifying subject matter, Ken Burns' epic films have only grown more incisive, even urgent, over the last decade. With subjects like prohibition, the Central Park Five, the Dust Bowl, the Roosevelts, Jackie Robinson, and the Vietnam War, Burns has found a common thread linking history to the present, and the inherent dangers in failing to remember and acknowledge the sins of the past. His latest film, Country Music, continues this tradition, shining a spotlight on the forgotten people who have found a voice through their music, and the generations that have built upon that legacy.

    SERIES PREMIERE: In the eight-part, 16-hour documentary Country Music, Ken Burns brings this American musical genre to life, tracing its roots from slave songs, to the 1920s, and up through the present day. Burns views the songs and legends of the country music world through a wide lens, encompassing hundreds of performers and pioneers who have contributed to this rich musical tradition. The series will air new episodes from tonight through Wednesday the 18th, then return with nightly episodes Sepember 22-25. Watch the preview. 8:00 PM ET on PBS

    COMEDY ROAST: Say what you will about Alec Baldwin — and his roasting panel certainly will — but he's an ideal candidate for Comedy Central's signature takedown series. With the amount of material Baldwin has given comics to work with over the years, it will be interesting to see which of his antics get skewered in The Comedy Central Roast of Alec Baldwin and which manage to fly under the radar. 10:00 PM ET on Comedy Central

    SPORTS: Football season is in full swing, with Sunday Night Football presenting the Philadelphia Eagles playing the Atlanta Falcon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 5:15 PM ET on NBC

    NEW EPISODE: The Roy clan races to get ahead of a breaking story on Succession. In a twist of irony, a family that has ostensibly built its corrosive wealth as a news media organization, may be brought down by a report by a competing outlet. 9:00 PM ET on HBO

    NEW EPISODE: In a flashback to 1989, The Righteous Gemstones each deal with news of an unexpected pregnancy in their own unique way. 10:00 PM ET on HBO

    NEW EPISODE: Noah attempts to interfere in Helen and Sasha's relationship on The Affair. Meanwhile, Colin and Whitney wrestle with relationship problems, and Joanie pays a visit to the cemetery. 9:00 PM ET on Showtime

    NEW EPISODE: Louise and Obie spearhead a motivational retreat in this week's On Becoming a God in Central Florida. We think this series has the makings of the next big TV show. 10:00 PM ET on Showtime

    ALSO TONIGHT

    • Islands of Fire studies the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a chain of volcanic mountains far-removed from the mainland which serve as a refuge for a variety of animal species. 9:00 PM ET on Smithsonian
    • Keeping Up With the Kardashians find Khloe, Kim, and Kourtney fighting through the drama for the sake of the viewers at home. 9:00 PM ET on E!
    • Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison documents the band's performance at Folsom Prison on the 50th Anniversary of Johnny Cash's legendary concert. Streaming on Netflix

    Mike Attebery is Senior Editor at Primetimer and the author of seven mystery thrillers. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeattebery.

    TOPICS: Country Music, PBS, Ken Burns