TV column for Wednesday, July 12

“Salvation” debut, 9 p.m., CBS.

With steady
competence, CBS has shown a smart approach to summers. Alongside the
reality-type flash (“Big Brother,” “Candy Crush”), it has
inserted a few richly crafted science-fiction shows -- “Under the
Dome,” “Extant,” “Zoo,” “BrainDead” and now another
good one.

An amiable grad
student, zipping through life on his bicycle, discovers a
world-changing (literally) secret. Soon, he links with a tech mogul
(Santiago Cabrera of “Heroes”) and a White House insider
(Jennifer Finnigan of “Tyrant”), trying to save mankind. The
opener is smart and involving.

“Odd Mom Out” season-opener, 10 p.m., Bravo.

For the first two
seasons, Jill and Andy were outsiders – almost-normal people, in a
New York neighborhood of wealth and excess. But now a Ponzi scheme
has seen others crash down.

Her sister (Abby
Elliott) faces life without household help ... his mom (Joanna
Cassidy) has moved in with them ... neighbors must learn how to use
ovens and irons and such. A sub-plot (Hazel is becoming a teen-ager)
is so-so, but the main story has some moments of sharp satire.

ALTERNATIVE: ESPY Awards, 8-11 p.m., ABC.

Peyton Manning has
already shown a dry sense of humor on “Saturday Night Live” and
in commercials. Now he's the host – a job usually reserved for
comedians or actors.

Manning has won nine
ESPYs, but never (despite three nominations) best male athlete. This
year, the nominees are Kris Bryant, Russell Westbrook, Sidney Crosby
and Michael Phelps; the women are Simone Biles, Serena Williams,
Katie Ledecky and Candace Parker. There will be music by Gallant and
celebrity presenters include Bryan Cranston, Dove Cameron and
four-time host Samuel L. Jackson.

ALTERNATIVE II: “Suits” season-opener, 9 p.m., USA.

For six seasons,
this has been a mixed blessing, with smart dialog uttered by
unlikable and un-varied characters. It has drawn moderate attention
... until now.

The difference is
that Meghan Markle is now dating Prince Harry; suddenly, romance
readers may be watching a show about corporate lawyers. Markle plays
Rachel Zane, who at times tonight seems to be the only sane and
balanced soul in the law office. Her fiance, Mike Ross, is returning
to the firm, which his former mentor, Harvey Spector, plans to
control. Others scheme and shout, in an un-royal manner

Other choices

“Queen Sugar,” 7
p.m. to 2 a.m., Oprah Winfrey Network. First, are reruns of the
previous three episodes, as Charly tries to manage her family's farm
while facing battles over her divorce from a basketball star. The new
episode (at 10, rerunning at 1 a.m.), has her therapist find
childhood issues.

“MasterChef,” 8
p.m., Fox. This episode is entitled “Silenced By the Lambs.”
First, the home-chefs prepare racks of lamb. Then some must try to
match Gordon Ramsay's lamb chop dish.

“Little Big Shots:
Forever Young,” 8 p.m., NBC. Steve Harvey meets one woman who's a
blues guitarist at 78, another who's a bodybuilder at 81. They are
young 'uns compared to two sisters, 98 and 103, who have become big
on the Internet.

“The Carmichael
Show,” 9 and 9:30, NBC. Bobby's ex-wife has been drinking a lot
lately; in the first episode, the family plans an intervention. In
the second, Maxine and Jerrod had rushed out to buy an after-the-fact
birth-control pill; instead, a storm forces them into his parents'

“This Is Us,” 10
p.m., NBC. This reruns a pivotal moment: Randall's fondness for his
adoptive mother is blurred when he learns that she'd always known
(and kept secret) the identity of his biologic father.

“Snowfall,” 10
p.m., FX. Last week's opener introduced a young man spreading cocaine
to the black community in 1980s Los Angeles; tonight, he learns how
difficult that can be. Also in this tough and well-made hour: A
federal agent's undercover scheme advances; and there are fierce
aftershocks to a burglary that went bad, leading to murder.