“The Americans” season-opener, 10 p.m., FX.
One crowded hour
offers this show's dizzying extremes. Early on, there's a fierce,
smash-gut action scene; at the end, sex and violence merge
powerfully. And in between is subtle character drama.
Elizabeth and Philip
(Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) are 1980s suburbanites ... except
that they're really Russian spies, planted there decades ago. Now
their bosses want to recruit their teen daughter, who knows nothing
about this.We're in a richly drawn maze of ethical choices. Even
tonight's final shock is transformed via quick expediency; the spy
world can turn anything into an advantage.
II: “Nature,” 8 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
Welcome to the
southern-most post office on Planet Earth. A former British research
station in Antarctic, 700 miles south of Argentina and Chile, it's
open four months a year. An average of two ships a day unload
tourists to send post cards and view its museum, gift shop ... and
This charming hour
splits time between the four women who work there – including a
teacher and a law-school grad – and the penguins. Those penguins
are sometimes charming, sometimes rude – stealing nests, stealing
stones, cheating on a spouse – and usually great fun to watch.
ALTERNATIVE: “American Idol” and “Empire,” 8 and 9 p.m., Fox.
In this year's
auditions, judges insist, the San Francisco auditions were the best.
Now we'll see them, spread over the next two nights and leading into
has Lucious trying to steal a top act from a rival record company.
One son (Jamal) struggles with his songwriting; another (Hakeem) sees
his mom try to overcome their estrangement.
8 p.m., CBS. The focus is again on Abbott, neatly underplayed by
Rockmond Dunbar. With his old boss (Dylan Baker) going after him, he
needs help from Patrick Jane.
“Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit,” 9 p.m., NBC. In a rerun, a college student's
troubles started with a modeling ad. Soon, she was in
online-pornography and then an apparent rape victim.
9 p.m., ABC. This rerun is stuffed with guest stars: Steve Zahn
(“Treme,” “Mind Games”) and Andrea Anders (“Joey,”
“Better Off Ted”) play the noisy new neighbors; Tyne Daly, the
six-time Emmy-winner, is Lily's tough teacher.
9:31-11 p.m., ABC. For the second straight week, ABC has made late
switches in its comedies; now we get three straight “Black-ish”
reruns. In the first , Andre wants his son to have more black
friends. In the second, he tries to invoke a “Team Johnson”
family approach. In the third, the kids have lost interest in the
tradition of Halloween pranks.
10 p.m., NBC. Murder victims have dollar bills pinned to their
chests, in this rerun. Voight jumps into the case when his friend is
“It's Always Sunny
in Philadelphia” and “Man Seeking Woman,” 10 and 10:30 p.m.,
FXX. First is a semi-odd episode about the return of a reputed
cannibal. Then is an ultra-odd one, complete with a talking hand and
a missing male member; it's clearly not for general audiences.
debut, 10 p.m., Tru TV. At a go-kart track in South Haven, Ind., we
meet three boys and one girl who have shots at the top. We also meet
their parents, pouring money and emotion into this. Some are likable,
most are not, but the result is moderately interesting.