“The Americans” season-finale, 10-11:14 p.m., FX.
With subtlety and
depth, this hour delivers shellshocks of change. Russian spies are
embedded into 1980s America; one (superbly played by Dylan Baker) has
stolen a fierce virus from a U.S. lab and prepares to deliver it. An
FBI agent closes in ... unaware that his own neighbors are also
That puts fresh
pressure on Phillip and Elizabeth. At what point do they retreat to
their Russian homeland? What would that do to their teen son and
daughter? Huge emotions build quietly.
II: “CMT Music Awards,” 8-11 p.m., CMT, Nickelodon and TV Land.
Like the Grammys,
this will be strong on new combinations, sometimes crossing genres.
Billy Ray Cyrus links with Cheap Trick, Dierks Bentley with Elle
King, Cam with Fifth Hartmony.
There's more –
Blake Shelton with the Oak Ridge Boys; Keith Urban with his
tourmates, Brett Eldredge and Maren Morris. Also performing: Luke
Bryan, Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line.
“Night Shift,” 10 p.m., NBC.
Here is the exact
opposite of “Americans.” While one show builds emotions
delicately, the other plows them in with a bulldozer. This hour has
absurd conflicts, designed to rush the plot along; it also has three
moments when characters change their personalities instantly, for
Still, credit “Night
Shift” for merges medical stories with high-octane characters, most
of them ex-military. The show is richly diverse, now adding an
American Indian doctor played by Tanaya Beatty, whose roots are
Canadian First Nations and Himalayan. It's sometimes interesating,
flaws and all.
ALTERNATIVE: Macho men, everywhere.
have become adrenaline-overload night. Alpha males (and females)
abound in NBC's “American Ninja Warrior” (8-10 p.m.) and “Night
Shift” and in ABC's basketball finals (9 p.m ET, with previews at 8
and 8:30); there's even one leading a cooking show.
And in the midst of
this, cable has the best-crafted macho portrait in movie history. “A
Streetcar Named Desire” (1951, 8 p.m. ET on Turner Classic Movies)
was brilliantly written by Tennessee Williams and superbly acted by
Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden and more.
“Arrow,” 8 p.m.,
CW. Here's a rerun of the seaspn-opener, introducing the nasty Damien
Darkh, played by Neal McDonough.
p.m., Fox. Last week's season-opener showed how to add competitive
spark to auditions: Have two people compete in cook-offs for each of
the 20 spots. Now that phase continues.
9 p.m., Fox. Why was nasty Jason chosen to be the young leader of
this community? Tonight, we learn via flashbacks; other flashbacks
(bringing back Terrence Howard as the late sheriff) show why Theo was
chosen as the doctor. And Nurse Pam (Melissa Leo) returns, posing a
Movies, 9 p.m.,
cable. Here are three good comedies to choose from. “Vacation”
(1983, AMC) stars Chevy Chase ... “Mean Girls” (2004, Freeform)
was writtenn by and co-stars Tina Fey ... “The Intern” (2015,
HBO) is inconsistent, but links Oscar-winners Robert De Niro and Anne
p.m., DirecTV/AT&T. Beautiful and troubled, Ava (Lina Esco) has
driven from Miami to California to see Alicia. She knows nothing of
Alicia's violent new world – but is about to get a startling view.
That comes during a strong episode involving recent tragedy –
Alvey's stillborn baby, Ryan's injury; also, Nate learns what those
$10,000-a-month “personal trainer” payments were about.
Beyond Borders,” 10 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, a former U.S. serviceman
was killed in an Egyptian gas attack and his friend is missing. The
team heads there to investigate, aided by Penelope Garcia (Kirsten
Vangsness) of the “Criminal Minds” team.