A new series explores life under the Islamic State through the eyes of four young recruits. And the British crime drama “The Commander” arrives on Acorn TV.
What’s on TV
THE STATE 9 p.m. on National Geographic. Based on true accounts, this new four-part drama series by the writer and director Peter Kosminsky (“Wolf Hall”) centers on four young British recruits for the Islamic State who travel to Syria only to find that life under the militant group doesn’t live up to their expectations. The brutal reality drives some of them to escape, and pushes others to commit even further. The series begins with best friends Jalal (Sam Otto) and Ziyaad (Ryan McKen) preparing for battle, while the single mother Shakira (Ony Uhiara) and teenager Ushna (Shavani Cameron) learn the rules they must obey as women in the caliphate. The second half of the series will be broadcast on Sept. 19.
AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR 8 p.m. on NBC. Competitors try to climb a 75-foot rope in under 30 seconds in the final stage of the Mount Midoriyama course in this season finale.
DANCING WITH THE STARS 8 p.m. on ABC. This ballroom dance competition returns for its 25th season, pitting celebrities and their professional dance partners against each other. Among those who will take the floor: the former Los Angeles Lake Derek Fisher, the actress Sasha Pieterse (“Pretty Little Liars) and Vanessa and Nick Lachey. The spotlight this season is on Mr. Lachey, formerly of the boy band 98 Degrees. Not only is he competing against his wife, his brother, Drew, won the Mirrorball Trophy in Season 2.
THE COMMANDER on Acorn TV. Clare Blake (Amanda Burton) has a lot going for her: a 20-year veteran of London’s Metropolitan Police, she has assumed the role of serious crime group commander, the highest-ranking female officer at New Scotland Yard, and heads an elite team of murder investigators. Yet she puts her career on the line by striking up affairs with suspects to retrieve evidence. She falls under intense scrutiny when she gets a little too close with a convict she once arrested who has resurfaced as a murder suspect in a new case. Her self-serving colleague, Mike Hedges (Matthew Marsh), is out to get the suspect, too, and would love to see Clare fall.
BOY (2010) on iTunes, Amazon and Fandor. The New Zealand writer, director and actor Taika Waititi drew inspiration from his Academy Award-nominated short “Two Cars, One Night” for this heartwarming film. Shot in a Maori village and set in 1984, the movie stars James Rolleston as Boy, a quirky 11-year-old whose image of his absentee father, Alamein (Mr. Waititi), quickly fades when the two are reunited. While “Boy” has traumatic undertones — the title character lost his mother at an early age and spent seven years apart from his imprisoned father — it’s light and comical all the way through.
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