1) “The Red Line” opener, 8 and 9 p.m. Sunday, CBS. For years, CBS has remained No. 1 by playing it safe — dependable dramas with an ending (happy, usually) for each hour, Now comes a bold risk, a story spread over eight hours on four Sundays. We see a tragic mistake and its tangled impact. There are flaws here: The incident is too clear-cut; a key admission (late in the first hour) is unmotivated. Still, this is beautifully done; in the second hour, Noah Wylie (shown here) delivers some deeply moving moments.
2) Earth Day shows, today. Holidays come in a bunch this year. On the day after Easter, how can we celebrate Earth Day? Kids get a special “Nature Cat” episode, at 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on most PBS stations and 6 p.m. on PBS Kids. Adults might try National Geographic for “The Last Animals” at noon and a new jungle episode of the splendid “Hostile Planet” at 9 p.m., rerunning at 11. Or they could all go to a movie theater; “Penguins,” a delightful DisneyNature film, is still in its first week.
3) “Gotham” series finale, 8 p.m. Thursday, Fox. It’s been a rough ride. People died, buildings crumbled, hopes faded. Last week, Jim Gordon became police chief of a city in ruins; even Wayne Tower was gone. Now we jump ahead a decade: Bruce Wayne – who left as a teen – returns for the opening of the new tower, amid crises: Bullock (Gordon’s old police partner) has been framed for murder … and Penguin and the Riddler may be looming. It could be time for Bruce to become Batman.
4) “Independent Lens: Charm City,” 10-11:30 p.m.. today, PBS. Now for a real city with “Gotham”-size (almost) problems. Baltimore has been the brutal backdrop for the fictional “The Wire,” “The Block” and “Homicide”; Marilyn Ness spent three years filming a documentary. She did find big troubles – this encompassed Freddie Gray’s 2015 death in police custody – but also met an idealistic councilman, a police captain and a kindly old man who holds barbecues and delivers mini-lectures.
5) “American Idol,” 8-10 p.m. today and Sunday, ABC. It’s time to pause and see who’s left. Last week, “Idol” sifted to its top 10, then — after a night of Disney tunes – sent two more home. Now it tries something that wasn’t in the first 16 seasons: Tonight has a “Meet the Finalist” special, profiling each person and how he or she got this far. After that, the Sunday-and-Monday eliminations resume. Also at 8-10 p.m. today, NBC’s “The Voice” continues one-on-one battles between singers on different teams.
6) “1969” debut, 10 p.m. Tuesday, ABC. Last year, a CNN series called 1968 “the year that changed America.” After all, ’68 was when it all fell apart: Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were killed, cities burned, Vietnam persisted. Now ABC starts a six-part look at the year that followed. The triumph of the July 20 moon landing is told in detail, alongside the Manson murders, Chappaquiddick, Woodstock, John Lennon’s “bed-ins” and the Stonewall Inn raid that sparked the drive for gay rights.
7) “Brockmire,” 10 p.m. Wednesday, IFC. Wednesdays have become the time for weird cable comedy. FX’s “What We Do In the Shadows” has a new episode at 10 p.m. (rerunning at 11) and reruns last week’s hilarious episode at 10:30. “Brockmire” has a harsher tone, rooted in the cynicism of its hero, a baseball sportscaster. Now we see where he gets it from, when his sister unearths the mom who abandoned them. She’s played by Linda Lavin, 81, in scenes that manage to be both fun and depressing.
8) Football draft, three days. CBS was planning to have the first championship game of the Alliance of American Football, on Saturday. Alas, the AAF has gone bankrupt, owing millions – some of it to CBS. Fortunately, football fans can obsess on the NFL draft … which, for the first time, is on both ABC and ESPN. They’ll have separate broadcasts from 8-11:30 p.m. Thursday (first round) and 7-11:30 p.m. Friday (second and third). A simulcast, from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, catches the last four rounds..
9) “Love Takes Flight,” 9-11 p.m. Saturday, Hallmark. Yes, there are lots of movies on the Hallmark channels, many of them pleasantly interchangeable. But this is different; it’s under the “Hallmark Hall of Fame” banner, which goes all the way back to 1951 and has won piles of awards. These films have fewer commercials and more quality. Tonight, a doctor (Nikki DeLoach) is running her hospital and caring for her ill daughter. Then an emergency-medicine pilot (Jeff Hephner) broadens her world.
10) “The Son” season-opener, 9 p.m. Saturday, AMC, rerunning at 10:05. Sprawling across the Tex-Mex border, this hour leaps between 1852, 1915 and even 1988. A young Eli (who grew up with his American Indian captors) leads their raid … An old Eli (Pierce Brosnan) has been looking for his son Peter, who rescued a neighbor when Eli attacked her home … And Peter’s daughter is a matriarch. All reflect the slow pace of a western – and the deadly intensity that seems to infect anyone in Eli’s life.