1) “Country Music: Live at the Ryman,” 8-10 p.m. Sunday, PBS. Some of country’s best songs are done superbly. Many are high-octane, with great instrumentalists – Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, an awesome band that includes Vince Gill. But there are also ballads, sung with heartbreaking passion – a Johnny Cash one by his daughter Roseanne, a Hank Williams one by his granddaughter Holly (shown here at left, with Ketch Secor, Rodney Crowell, Kathy Mattea and Riders in the Sky). The night’s (and year’s) highlight has Willie Nelson’s “Crazy,” sung by Rhiannon Giddens in the style of Patsy Cline.
2) Pro football season-opener, 8:20 p.m. ET Thursday, NBC; then Sunday, CBS, Fox, NBC. Most seasons start with the Super Bowl champions at home. This year, that won’t be until 5:15 p.m. PT Sunday, when the Patriots host the Steelers. Instead, we get some history: The league’s 100th season starts with two of its oldest franchises – the Green Bay Pasckers at the Chicago Bears. The Bears were there from the start, when they were called the Decatur Staleys; the Packers joined the next season.
3) “Mayans M.C.” season-opener, 10 p.m. Tuesday, FX. On one hand, this is a tough, taut drama, built on the complexity of people with sparse words and fierce emotions. On the other, it’s brutal, filled with close-up violence. If you get past that, you have the layers of EZ Reyes: Last season, the feds forced him to go undercover in his brother Angel’s motorcycle club. Now he’s shed that and stays in the club, but Angel hates him, their dad has dark secrets and EZ’s former teen love is married to the cartel boss.
4) “America’s Got Talent,” 8-10 p.m. Tuesday, 8-9 p.m. Wednesday, NBC. Now things get serious, with 22 acts reaching the semi-finals. Half of them perform Tuesday, with five advancing Wednesday to the finals; next week, the others have their turn. As always, it’s a varied bunch. There’s lots of music — seven singers, three vocal groups, a violinist and a guiarist. Bu there are also two magicians, two comedians, two dance groups, acrobats, an impressionist and a backlight painter, plus a wildcard pick.
5) “The Big Bang Theory,” 8:30 p.m. today, CBS. Next week, “Big Bang” will start rerunning its terrific, one-hour finale over two Mondays. To set that up, here’s an excellent rerun that addresses some of the supporting characters: Leonard ‘s mom (Christine Baranski) visits, seeming suspciousy warm; also, Stuart has finally overstayed his welcome at the home of Howard and Bernadette. That’s followed by a good “Young Sheldon,” with his rival (Mckenna Grace) stirring trouble at a science museum.
6) “Conan Without Borders: Greenland,” 10 p.m. Tuesday, TBS. When Denmark scoffed at selling Greenland to the U.S., Donald Trump cancelled his Danish visit. Now Conan O’Brien plans (perhaps tongue-in-cheek) to broker a deal. “If we don’t move quickly, some other country is going to swoop in and overpay for it,” he said. This will be O’Brien’s 12th overseas special. Some of the others will rerun, replacing his 11 p.m. show today (Haiti), Tuesday (Italy), Wednesday (Japan) and Thursday (Australia).
7) “MasterChef,” 8 p.m. Wednesday, Fox. We expect some shows (“Bachelor,” “Amazing Race”) to nudge contestants around the globe; now “MasterChef” does it, too. The six remaining chefs are flown to Gordon Ramsay’s flagship restaurant in London. There, they must quickly serve 36 guests, including Ramsay’s family and the judges. That’s part of a no-rerun night for Fox. At 9 p.m., “BH90210” has the old “90210” stars playing fictional versions of themselves; after a threat, they suspect a former co-star.
8) “Live From Lincoln Center,” 9-10:30 p.m. Friday, PBS (check local listings). This isn’t live AND it isn’t from the Lincoln Center; other than that, the title is accurate. We follow the Chamber Music Society, as it visits iconic Greek settings. It performs in the Ancient Amphitheater of Larissa, the Church of the Taxiarchon in Pelion and more. And if you want less classical and more cops? CBS’ strong Friday reruns start at 8 p.m. wih McGarrett helping his sister (Taryn Manning) spy on her neighbors, on “Hawaii Five-0.”
9) “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m. Saturday, NBC. Back when she was a Jersey girl named Ashley Frangipane, Halsey says, she saw “SNL” every week. A lot happened after that – drugs, homelessness, attempted suicide and (as, simply, Halsey) stardom. At 24, she did the superb episode that reruns here. As music guest, Halsey had Gaga-esque moments of visual and vocal splendor. She also hosted and blended into sketches, on a night that had a so-so start, then soared with satires of blackface politicians.
10) “Chesapeake Shores” and “Witness to Murder,” 8 and 9-11 p.m., Hallmark. A week with lots of repeats ends with Hallmark’s no-rerun block. First, “Shores” has an old friend try to lure Trace (Jesse Metcalfe) back to his country-music career. Then “Witness” brings back Kimberly Williams-Paisley as defense attorney Claire Darrow. After a slow start, the case is smart and complex. The scenes with her mom and daughter are mostly lame, but the ones with competing lawyer Tom Cavanagh are excellent.