TV column for Tuesday, Sept. 18


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“America's Got Talent” finale, 8-10 p.m., NBC.

The show finally has
its 10 finalists, each with one more chance to impress. Tonight, they
perform and viewers vote; on Wednesday, the show “Talent” will
have its million-dollar winner.

There are four
singers (one operatic) and more. There's an electric violinist, a
close-up magician, two comedians (ages 30 and 60) and two acrobatic
acts – one massive, the other a duo. Seven are from the U.S.;
others are Dutch, English and Austrian. America, it seems, isn't the
only place that has talent.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “The Great American Read,” 8 p.m. Tuesday, PBS.

When Noelle Santos
was grumpy one day, her mom told her to read “A Tree Grows in
Brooklyn.” The girl grumbled ... and then became a passionate
reader. Now she has a new life plan.

“There are 1.4
million people and 10 colleges in the Bronx and no book stores,”
she says. So Santos – who had “never set foot in an independent
book store” -- is opening The Lit. Bar, a book/wine bar. That story
and others are in a fun hour, viewing books that make us ask, “Who
Am I?” We hear celebrities, authors and more; Shanna Peeples, a
past Teacher of the Year, has particularly cogent comments.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Paley Center Salutes 'This Is Us,'” 10 p.m.,
NBC.

In six days, the new
season will flood us with shows, some off them good and some not.
First, we can celebrate the splendid surprise from two years ago.
Here's a look, before it returns next Tuesday.

“This Is Us”
breaks all the rules. It doesn't have one of the usual franchises –
cops, courts, doctors – to give stories a finish point. It's on a
broadcast network, yet has the quality we expect from cable. It was
written by a comedy guy – Dan Fogelman's “Galavant” and “The
Neighbors” were sometimes hilarious – yet is deeply moving. And
it has killed two terrific characters ... who continue to thrive via
flashback.

Other choices
include:

“The Flash” and
“Legends of Tomorrow,” 8 and 9 p.m., CW. Last night, CW reran the
first half of this four-show crossover. Some Earth-X bad guys rudely
broke up the wedding of Barry and Iris. This second half brings a
good-guy confluence, including Supergirl, Green Arrow and White
Canary.

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. Lots of shows are rerunning their season-finales, preparing for
next week's openers. In this one, Sloane (Maria Bello) is convinced
she's seen the man – believed dead – who tortured her years ago.
Vance and Gibbs fear it's an obsession that will destroy her.

“Black-ish,” 9
p.m., ABC. This rerun offers a test of gender bias: When they learn
that their teens are sexually active, the parents lean toward
different reactions to the boy and the girl.

“American
Masters,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS. Fresh from “Great American Read,”
PBS reruns a compelling profile of one of the nominated authors:
Harper Lee grew up in small-town Alabama, the daughter of a lawyer
who once defended two black men charged with murder. She studied law
without graduating, worked as an airline reservation agent in New
York ... and received a gift from friends – a year's wages, so she
could focus on her novel. Four years later, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
won the Pulitzer Prize.

“Castaways”
season-finale, 10 p.m., ABC. One of the castaways quits and others
ponder the future.

“NCIS: New
Orleans,” 10 p.m., CBS. In another season-finale rerun, Pride –
still facing indictment – and his team try to stop a plot during
the Tricentennial Fleet Week celebration.

“Mayans MC,” 10
p.m., FX. The brutal battle between the Galindo cartel and the Samoan
gang has hit a new extreme. Miguel Galindo tortured and killed gang
leader; then his child was kidnapped. That puts the Mayans in the
middle – especially EZ, who is Miguel's wife's ex-boyfriend.