1) Basketball. Last week, baseball finally started; now basketball resumes, helping fill the shutdown void. It starts with doubleheaders, at 6:30 and 9 p.m. ET Thursday (TNT) and Friday (ESPN). Then ESPN tops that with four games Saturday, 1, 3:30, 6 and 8:30 p.m. ET. ABC takes over Sunday at 13:30 and 8:30 p.m. Sunday. The two league-leaders each reach TV twice: The Bucks ar 6:30 Friday (facing the Celtics) and 8:30 Sunday (Rockets); LeBron James (shown here) and the Lakers are 9 p.m. Thursday (Clippers) and 8:30 Saturday (Raptors).
2) “Tell Me a Story,” 9 p.m Tuesday, CW. After two years of semi-obscurity on CBS All Access, this show offers reruns to a new audience. There are three interweaving stories, which producers claim re-tell classic fairy tales. That connection is thin, at best, but these are strong stories that, after a slow start, grab our attention. James Wolk is terrific (as usual) in one story, nudging his girlfriend toward marriage and family; newcomers (including Danielle Campbell Davi Santos) seize attention in the other stories.
3) “Ultimate Tag” and “Bulletproof” season-finales, 9 p.m. Wednesday, Fox and CW. Two high-octane shows – one reality, the other fiction – wrap. “Tag” is a hyper version of reality – people leaping around a three-dimensional course, while tag pros (really) chase them. All are top athletes, as are the hosts – J.J., T.J. and Derek Watt. “Bulletproof” is a British show that has big action scenes. All seasons; these cops have been undercover. Now they’re ready to make their move … until their boss gets in the way.
4) “America’s Got Talent,” 8-10 p.m. Tuesday, NBC. Here’s a creative adjustment to COVID concerns: It’s time for the “judges’ cuts,” trimming the audition survivors. That usually takes several episodes, but now it will be done in one busy night, viewing performances on a mega-screen, similar to a drive-in movie. Indeed, the judges – including Heidi Klum, back from a non-COVID illness – will arrive in fancy cars. In two weeks (after a 15th-anniversary special next week), the live shows will begin.
5) “POV: Advocate,” 10 p.m. Monday, PBS (check local listings). From “To Kill a Mockingbird” to John Grisham novels, we’ve seen lawyers try the impossible fight. Now meet Lea Tsemel, 75, who takes that to the extreme: Once a volunteer Israeli soldier (believed to be the first Jewish woman to
reach the Wailing Wall), she represents Palestinians who are accused of terrorism. “We always lose,” she once said. Still, there are slivers of triumph. It’s a tough but solid hour, with English sub-titles.
6) Carl Reiner movies, 8 p.m. ET Tuesday to 5:30 a.m., Turner Classic Movies. Reiner – who died June 29, at 98 – had his best moments on TV, but he was also a gifted movie director. Here are five of his films: “Enter Laughing” (1967), 8 p.m.. is semi-autobiographical; “All of Me” (1984). 10 p.m., has great bits from Steve Martin, as a lawyer sometimes inhabited by Lily Tomlin; “The Comic” (1969) and “Where’s Poppa” (1970), midnight and 2 a.m., turn dark, but “Oh, God” (1997), 3:30a.m., is a delight.
7) “Young Sheldon,” 8 p.m. Thursday, CBS. This comedy has expanded so deftly that sometimes it doesn’t even need Sheldon. Tonight, a camping trip is supposed to be a bonding experience for his brother and dad; things get complicated when if adds Meemaw’s past and current boyfriends (Wallace Shawn and Craig T. Nelson). CBS’ “Mom” also has good reruns at 9 p.m. (recalling Bonnie’s sins of Christmases past) and 9:30 (Kathleen Turner as Tammy’s scheming aunt, suddenly showing up.)
8) “Little Women” (2019), 8 p.m. Friday and 10:06 p.m. Saturday, Starz. Jo March is one of fiction’s great characters, with depth, passion and hesitant wisdom. She’s been played by gifted actresses – Katharine Hepburn, June Allyson, Winona Ryder, Maya Hawke and now Saoirse Ronan. Adapted and directed perfectly by Greta Gerwig, this is an American classic, paired with terrific British films from 1998. At 10 p.m. Friday is Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth”; at 8 p.m. Saturday is “Shakespeare in Love.”
9) “Great Performances: Present Laughter,” 9 p.m. Friday, PBS. The title is partly true: There is some laughter and a truly great performance. That’s Kevin Kline as a self-centered actor, surrounded by women who pamper and/or seduce him. He’s superb and won a Tony; Kate Burton and Cobie Smulders are also first-rate. But several other roles – a mad playwright, a young lover, a distraught friend – are horribly overwrought. Uneven and too long, the show has just enough laughter to keep us present.
,10) “The Real Housewives of Potomac” opener, 9 p.m. Sunday, Bravo. First the past two seasons rerun, from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 3 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Then the new one starts amid change – a new baby for Ashley Darby, new house for Karen Hager, new parrot for Monique Samuels, old feuds for Candiace Bassett, new/old relationship with her ex-husband for Gizelle Bryant. Joining this glitzy world is Nigerian-born Wendy Osefo, a professor with the diligence of a hard-working immigrant.