1) “The Resident” and “Empire” season-openers, 8 and 9 p.m., Fox. Once just another hospital show, “Resident” turns strongly cinematic. It opens in the imagination of Nicolette, mourning a death; then it heads to the basement (shown here), for a spectacular action scene. There are flaws here – the villains are badly overdrawn and transparent – but this has become a first-rate drama. And “Empire”? Well, it stays itself – fun and fascinating, yet way overboard. The one Lucious/Cookie scene is great, but the hour ends with waves of melodrama.
2) More season-openers, NBC and CBS. It’s big night for fans of passionate, serialized drama. NBC returns “This Is Us” at 9 p.m. (flashing back to Jack meeting Rebecca’s parents) and “New Amsterdam” at 10 (jumping ahead three months, we learn if Max’s wife survived the ambulance crash). But it’s also a big night for the CBS shows, ratings leaders that tell a complete story in an hour. That starts at 8 with “NCIS”: Ziva – gone for six years, presumed dead for three – is in Gibbs’ basement with a warning.
3) “Mixed-ish” debut, 9 p.m., ABC. “Black-ish” fans know the basics about Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), a brainy doctor from a biracial, hippie family. But now she narrates her girlhood, in the “Young Sheldon” style. It was a blissful time … until authorities closed the commune. Suddenly, Bow was in suburbia and in school, getting a jarring introduction to race and image and more. This is an excellent episode, but it covers so much ground that we don’t know if it can keep up the quality.
4) “Emergence” debut, 10 p.m., ABC. Allison Tolman burst to fame in the first “Fargo” mini-series, as a small-town cop. Now she’s a small-town police chief, raising her daughter with the help of her father and her ex-husband. A plane crashes, leaving a girl who remembers nothing … and a lot of suspicious, outside forces. At its best, this has the “Aliens” blend of sci-fi and maternal instinct; at the worst, it makes us worry that networks have started fascinating sci-fi shows and abruptly dumped them.
5) “Country Music,” 8 p.m., PBS, rerunning at 10:30. Country music was getting slick and fancy. The Opry moved out of its classic home and into a new auditorium. There were two cable channels, a “countrypolitan” sound and crossover stars like Kenny Rogers. But was it country? This great chapter sees the rise of the Waylon-and-Willie era. We meet the amiable secretary who coined their “outlaws” description. There’s much more, including the story behind Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”