SANTA MONICA, CALIF. — “I watch my daughter when she watches TV, and she never turns on a TV,” David Duchovny said recently at a seaside lounge here.
He may have spent most of the past two decades starring in long-running TV series, but he’s still befuddled by how drastically things have shifted over the last few years, as hand-held devices, streaming services and binge watching have made appointment viewing seem increasingly antiquated. “I have no sense of the culture of TV watching,” he said.
It’s hard to blame him for not recognizing the landscape he’s returning to via “Aquarius,” a patchouli-drenched crime drama set in late-’60s Los Angeles.
The show, which has its debut on NBC on Thursday, stars Mr. Duchovny as a detective on the trail of Charles Manson before the Sharon Tate and LaBianca murders. It’s his first top billing in a network series since he played the U.F.O.-obsessed F.B.I. agent Fox Mulder on “The X-Files,” which remains his defining role. (One that he’ll be returning to soon.)