TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “America’s Got Talent” finale, 8-10:01
After endless summer hours of auditions and commotion, we’re
about to get a million-dollar winner.
That could be a singer – which happened in five of the first
six seasons; this year, there’s Miguel Dakota, Emily West and 12-year-old
Quintavious Johnson. But the last two seasons have been won by specialty acts;
now we have the gymnastic AcroArmy, magician Mat Franco and music group Sons of
TONIGHT’S SHOULD-TRY: “Red Band Society” debut, 9 p.m., Fox.
As teens confront mortality, they find fresh drama and even
some fun. Lately, that has brought “The Fault in Our Stars,” “If I Stay,” “Chasing
Life” and now this uneven but interesting series.
A children’s-hospital wing links teens who wouldn’t be seen
with each other otherwise. Ranging from a cheerleader to a nerd, they’re united
by illness and spare time. Mix in a decent doctor and a cranky-but-caring nurse
(Octavia Spencer) and you have a fair mix of comedy, drama and (maybe) romance.
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Extant” season-finale (CBS) or “The
Mysteries of Laura” debut (NBC), 10 p.m.
One show ends, another arrives, putting popular stars in
tricky places. For “Extant,” it’s Oscar-winner Halle Berry. Her problems merely
began when she became pregnant during a solo space mission; now her offspring
endangers the world. She hopes to re-direct the Seraphim and save us from
And for NBC, it’s Emmy-winner Debra Messing, playing a
police detective who has a semi-attentive (and estranged) husband and immensely
naughty twin boys. The opening case is so-so and the light moments (especially
involving the boys) seem horribly strained. Still, Messing makes it fairly
Other choices include:
“Jaws” (1975), 6:15 and 9 p.m., IFC. Here’s the start of a
surprisingly strong movie night. Also starting early is “The Amazing
Spider-Man” (2012), from 7-10 p.m. on FX.
“The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” 8 p.m., PBS,
rerunning at 10. The mid-section of this superb, seven-night documentary no
longer has Teddy Roosevelt to propel it. In the aftermath of his death, his
cousin Franklin seeks the vice-presidential nomination, fails, then fades for
seven years while battling polio. He bounced back in 1928 (New York governor)
and ’32 (president).
“Big Brother,” 8 p.m., CBS. Here’s one more eviction night.
That will be followed by an episode Friday and the finale next Wednesday.
More movies, 8 p.m., cable. On a superfluously strong night,
“Crazy Heart” (2009, CMT) has Jeff Bridges’ Oscar-winning perfection … “Men in
Black” (1997, AMC) has humor and special effects … “Holes” (2003) has a kids’
story with sardonic wit … and “For Your Eyes Only” (1981, BBC America) has James
“Modern Family,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., ABC. Fresh from winning
its fifth straight best-comedy Emmy, this reruns the two-part season-finale.
Mitch and Cam get married, amid semi-chaos.
“The Bridge,” 10 p.m., FX. When Sonya finally captured evil Eleanor
last week, it looked like a big breakthrough. Not so; an inter-agency battle
creates frustration in this excellent episode, propelling Marco to attempt
something absurdly dangerous.