TV column for Sunday, Sept. 28

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Resurrection” season-opener, 9 p.m.,

Last season ended roughly. The sheriff called in the Army
and had most of the returned-from-the-dead people hauled away. The outside
world soon was convinced that it was all a hoax.

Now Martin (Omar Epps), a federal agent, wakes up dazed and
confused. What has happened? Is there a cover-up? This opener gives fresh
energy to an already terrific show; that includes an important arrival and a
powerhouse realization during tonight’s final minutes.

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “The Simpsons” season-opener, 8 p.m.,

First, we get a peek at what “The Simpsons” will look like
in a few millennia. (You really didn’t expect the show to ever end, did you?)

Then come two things that we’ve never seen in the first 25
seasons – a well-deserved roast of Krusty the Clown and a long look at a Jewish
Heaven. There are great moments, with brief guest spots from Sarah Silverman,
Jackie Mason and master roaster Jeff Ross.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Once Upon a Time” season-opener, 8
p.m., ABC, with preview at 7.

Driving home from a drunken party, two ruffians really don’t
expect this – a blonde beauty in an elegant ballroom gown, trudging down the
road. They zoom toward her; she blasts their truck into ice.

Ah yes, more trouble in this dandy show’s two worlds. In
fairy-tale land, we meet Elsa the Ice Queen (of “Frozen” fame) and her sister;
we see newlyweds Belle and Rumpelstiltskin. But Elsa finds Storybrooke … which
is already shaken by Emma saving Marian, whose husband Robin Hood had a romance
with Regina. Will Regina return to her evil ways? Will Storybrooke freeze? It’s
fun finding out.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE II: “The Strain,” 10 p.m., FX.

Yes, this hour delivers the big monster moments that “Strain”
fans expect. Eichhorst invades the pawn shop; Palmer, the mogul, learns whether
his deal with the devil will bring renewed life.

Alongside that, however, are quietly powerful emotions. We learn
the back story of Setrakian’s monster quest. And Ruta Gedmintas has great
moments as Dutch Velders, the young hacker now trying to make amends, after
realizing Palmer had hired her to do evil.

Other choices include:

“Masterpiece,” 8 and 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings). In
1875 London, John Moray ran a department store and prepared to marry Katherine,
the owner’s daughter … until she realized he loves Denise, the shopgirl. Moray
was banished; Katherine left. Tonight, both return, in a lush hour that starts
the second and final season of “The Paradise”; that’s followed by the season’s
third and final Miss Marple mystery.

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” season-opener, 8:30 p.m., Fox. Last
season ended with Jake (Andy Samberg) pretending to be a dirty cop, so he could
work undercover. Now he’s already cozy with the Mob. (Hey, he’s a charming
guy.) That’s the start of a fast, funny episode that also has station-house

“The Good Wife,” 9 p.m., CBS. The season started powerfully
last week, with Cary charged with aiding a drug deal. It’s apparently a ploy to
get to the drug kingpin he and Alicia represent … complicated by the
prosecutors’ rage at Alicia and her husband. Maneuvers continue, while Diane
prepares to switch firms.

“Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex” season-finales, 9 and 10
p.m., Showtime. Ray’s dad has a new scheme. Then Masters and Johnson finally
release their research results to the public.

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” season-opener, 10 p.m.,
CBS. Starting its new night, “CSI” has a bomb in Finlay’s car … a call from
(maybe) the Gig Harbor Killer … and a double role for Mark-Paul Gosselaar.

TV column for Saturday, Sept. 27

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Saturday Night Live” season-opener,
11:29 p.m., NBC.

The 40th season opens with Chris Pratt – a comedy
guy on “Parks and Recreation,” an action hero in “Guardians of the Galaxy” -- hosting
and Ariana Grande as music guest. It also brings key changes.

Michael Che (briefly of “The Daily Show”) joins “Weekend
Update,” becoming its first black anchor. Unfortunately, Colin Jost stays and
Cecily Strong will focus on sketches. Also, Nasim Pedrad has left, Pete Davidson
will be a writer and others (Brooks Wheelan, Noel Wells, John Milhiser) were

TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Music for Change: The Global Citizen
Festival,” 9 p.m., NBC.

This last-minute addition is stuffed with stars. Hugh
Jackman hosts from New York’s Central Park, in an annual concert designed to
fight worldwide poverty.

No Doubt is expected to have its first performance in two years.
Also scheduled are Carrie Underwood, Jay Z, Alicia Keys, Fun, Tiesta and The

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Friday Night Lights” (2004) and “The
Blind Side” (2009), 6:30 and 9 p.m., ABC Family.

Both movies have true stories with football backdrops; both
have country star Tim McGraw in support.

And both are well-crafted. Based on a non-fiction book about
high school football, “Lights” isn’t as good as the TV series that followed,
but it’s still a strong movie. “Blind Side” is propelled by Sandra Bullock’s
brilliant, Oscar-winning work as a rich Southerner who provided a home for a
good-hearted giant.

Other choices include:

Westerns, all night. Choose young or old Clint Eastwood.
“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966) is 4:45 p.m. on AMC; the Oscar-winning
“Unforgiven” (1992) is 8 p.m. on Reelz. Both are slow (“Ugly” is ultra-slow),
but well-crafted. AMC also has “Hell on Wheels” at 9; Cullen scrambles to free
his workers.

Football, 8 p.m. ET, Fox and ABC. Fox has 7th-ranked
Baylor and Iowa State; ABC has 8
th-ranked Notre Dame and Syracuse.
Cable has much more, all day.

“Madam Secretary” and “Scorpion,” 8 and 9 p.m., CBS. Here
are reruns of two pilot films, both so-so. “Madam” is earnest, but try; “Scorpion”
is fun, but strains believability.

“The Voice,” 8 p.m., NBC. This rerun is a logical lead-in
for the concert. One of the new “Voice” judges is Gwen Stefani, who will also
be performing in the Central Park show with her group, No Doubt.

Cedar Cove,” 8 p.m., Hallmark Last week, every blonde woman
was in dismay, but many of the brunettes were OK. Tonight, troubles – guy woes,
cyber-bully woes – are equal-hair offenders. 
All this is against the gorgeous backdrop of waterfront Washington. In
snappy little scenes (written and acted competently), beautiful and
well-meaning people face life’s problems.

“Outlander” mid-season finale, 9 p.m., Starz. Last week’s
episode (rerunning at 8) saw Claire marrying a Scotsman in 1742, to legally
block the English from interrogating her. It turns out that she really likes
the guy … but then she spots a possible link to her 1940s self. It’s a strong
scene, setting up a cliffhanger. 

“Doctor Who,” 9 p.m., BBC America. The fierce Skovox Blitzer
is ready to destroy mankind.

“The Intruders,” 10 p.m., BBC America. New information may
block the ascension of Rose (Miranda Cosgrove). Also, she asks Jack why Amy
(Mira Sorvino) has been acting so odd lately.

TV column for Friday, Sept. 26

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “The Amazing Race” season-opener, 8
p.m., CBS.

For its 25th season, “Race” slides from one of
the highest-viewership nights (Sundays), to one of the lowest. Still, we can expect
the skill that has brought 10 best-reality-competition Emmys in 12 years.

This edition has plenty of couples – three dating, one
engaged and two married; that includes Bethany Hamilton (who returned to
surfing after losing an arm to a shark at age 13) and her husband. There are
also sisters, friends and a mother-daughter duo. They’ll try to race 26,000
miles in eight countries.

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Live From Lincoln Center,” 9 p.m.,
PBS (check local listings).

Other networks avoid stage performances, unless there’s a
prize involved. PBS savors them; over the next 11 Fridays, it will include two
theater events (“Porgy and Bess” and “The Nance”), several concerts (Tony
Bennett and Lady Gaga, Kristin Chenoweth, an “Austin City Limits” anniversary)
and more.

First is this hybrid -- the New York Philharmonic’s semi-staged
concert production of Stephen Sondheim’s powerful “Sweeney Todd.” Bryn Terfel,
an operatic bass-baritone, sings the title role of the demon barber; Emma
Thompson is his pie-baking companion

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Shark Tank” season-opener, 8 and 9
p.m., ABC.

The new season quickly hits the extremes. One notion has
several investors tossing around big-money offers; another is proclaimed by
Kevin O’Leary as “one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard.”

During that first hour, we hear such phrases as “re-engineering
the athletic sock” and “pre-revenue” (in short, they’ve made zero so far) and “put
the ‘man’ in ‘manicure.’” And yes, these sometimes work; an update shows six
products (including dog food created by a 10-year-old) that have soared.

Other choices include:

 “The Mysteries of
Laura,” 8 p.m., NBC. In a rerun of Wednesday’s episode, a woman has been killed
after making a date Online. Now Laura (Debra Messing) must go undercover.

“Gotham,” 9 p.m., Fox. If you missed Monday’s debut, here
(after an 8 p.m. “Utopia”) is a second chance to enter Gotham City at its low
point, before Batman emerged. The story gets a bit monotone, heavy on the
darkness and torture; still, the visuals are gorgeous as “Gotham” creates its
own world.

“Hawaii Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS. While other networks are
content to include Friday reruns, CBS has a full night of season-openers. This
one offers a scheme that also spiced this summer’s “24”: Terrorists have seized
control of armed drones; now they’re using them against regular people.

“Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS. Two police detectives, Danny
Reagan and Maria Baez, are escorting drugs to a remote incineration spot. Then
they’re attacked; she’s seriously injured, he seeks revenge.

“The Knick,” 10 p.m., Cinemax. After a flashback preamble, “Knick”
quickly hits overdrive. Irishmen are convinced a black man has killed an Irish
cop; soon, a race war erupts. Most intriguing is how far some of the characters
have gone. When “Knick” started, the chief surgeon (Clive Owen) was a bigot and
the ambulance driver was a rude oaf; now both have their heroic moments. It’s a
big, tough episode that leads to some small, tender moments.