Are we ready for a culture clash in the kindergarten? "Breeders" (10 p.m., FX, TV-MA) stars British actors Martin Freeman ("Fargo," "The Hobbit," "Black Panther") and Daisy Haggard ("Back to Life," "Episodes") as Paul and Ally, beleaguered professionals and parents of two young children, with all of the interruptions and sleep deprivation that entails.
Often reaching for poignancy, American series depict parenthood in sentimental terms, presenting what used to be called "Kodak moments," captured in the great carousel of time. Dry and dyspeptic, British series tend to repress emotions, allowing black comedy to leak through the buttoned-down feelings.
"Breeders" tries to have it both ways, presenting Paul and Ally as remarkably indulgent parents, playing with their children at 3 in the morning and pleading with them to get back to sleep. Paul occasionally erupts in profanity-laced tirades and then appears consumed with guilt about the rage he's displayed in front of 5-year-olds. It's hard to say which behavior is more insufferable.
"Breeders" and its depiction of harried parents may be realistic. Even "unflinching," as its network describes it. But is it entertaining? The latest (and final) season of the long-past-its prime "Modern Family" opened with a scene of Alex phoning home from Antarctica only to find everyone consumed with putting the babies down. It was three minutes long, and that seemed belabored. Try watching an entire pilot episode devoted to parents dancing around the jangled emotions of frightened, crying, hyperactive children and you'll see why I found "Breeders" to be one of the most joyless and laughless comedy debuts in some time.
Michael McKean ("Best in Show," "Better Call Saul") shows up later as Ally's estranged dad, adding a very needy adult to their woes. As well as some blessed distraction.
-- A filmmaker captures water in all of its power and diverse forms, from rainfall to icebergs, in the 2018 documentary "Aquarela" (9 p.m., Starz).
-- The "Independent Lens" (10 p.m., PBS, TV-14, check local listings) documentary "The Bad Kids" looks at a special program for high school students at risk of dropping out of school.
-- Al Pacino, who chews up scenery in Amazon Prime's Nazi-busting fantasy "Hunters" as a Jewish stereotype, went way overboard as a Cuban immigrant drug dealer in the 1983 gangster epic "Scarface" (6 p.m., Starz Encore).
-- While playing an ever-more-complicated and interconnected "game," the gang discovers a fork in the road on "Dispatches From Elsewhere" (10:15 p.m., AMC, TV-14).
TONIGHT'S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
-- Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, John Legend and Blake Shelton mentor talent on "The Voice" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
-- Snakes and ladders on "9-1-1: Lone Star" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
-- No fewer than 17 women unload on Peter on "The Bachelor" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
-- A career opportunity on "All Rise" (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG).
-- A vacation postponed on "Prodigal Son" (9 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14).
-- New directions for the business on "Better Call Saul" (9 p.m., AMC, TV-14).
Principal duty on "The Neighborhood" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) ... Spencer ignores Billy's advice on "All American" (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG) ... Parenting advice goes unheeded on "Bob Hearts Abishola" (8:30 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) ... Here comes the Gravedigger on "Black Lightning" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14).
Ty Burell, John Heilemann and James Taylor are booked on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (11:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jimmy Fallon welcomes Rachel Maddow, Pamela Adlon and Joji on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Winston Duke and Surfaces visit "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (12:35 a.m., NBC).