1) “The Conners” season-opener, 9 p.m., ABC. No show is better set to view the pandemic’s impact on regular Americans. Since its start (as “Roseanne”) 32 years ago, it’s been about a blue-collar family, just getting by. Now Dan’s construction business is wobbling; so is Jackie’s restaurant and Darlene’s magazine. The sisters — Darlene and Becky (shown here in an earlier episode) — must change their lives again. The result brings a fair amount of laughs, alongside despair and (occasionally) warmth.
2) More comedy season-openers, ABC. “Black-ish” (9:30 p.m.) also views the pandemic. It starts in the early days, with Bow (a doctor) considered a hero. That enthusiasm soon wears thin … especially when she learns someone is breaking the shutdown rules. “The Goldbergs” (8 and 8:30) is set in the ‘80s and COVID-free. It has an “Airplane” take-off and then finds Adam suddenly being cooler than his friends.
3) CMT Music Awards, 8 p.m., CMT, MTV, Pop, Paramount, Logo and TV Land; also 10:15 p.m. and 12:30 a.m., CMT. Some promising combinations are planned – Kelsea Ballerini with Halsey, Luke Combs with Brooks & Dunn, Jimmie Allen with Noah Cyrus. Kane Brown and Sarah Hyland host; also performing: Shania Twain, Gabby Burnett, Sam Hunt and Morgan Wallen – whose “Saturday Night Live” appearance was dropped because he violated masking/social-distance protocols.
4) “Nature” season-opener, 8 p.m., PBS. Any series is wise to start its season with pandas. They are rare (only about 2,000 living wild), enigmatic … and really cute. Once listed as endangered, they’ve been upgraded to merely vulnerable, thanks to a heroic effort by the Chinese. We see that in this film, which took years. A baby panda gets three years of training, before being introduced to the wild. And in the wild, a team keeps learning new things about the way pandas hide, fight and mate.
5) Also: It’s a few-rerun night, with the Dodgers-Rays in the World Series on Fox (8 p.m. ET), “Big Brother” and “Amazing Race” on CBS (8 and 9 p.m.) and new drama hours on CW: In “Devils” (8 p.m.), Massimo – suspected in his colleague’s death – tries to see if his boss (Patrick Dempsey) has been secretly handling business for Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi. In “Coroner” (9 p.m.), a lab technician has been killed; the probe becomes complicated by Jenny’s personal interest in the research. In “Coronerf” (9 p.m.), a lab technician has been killed; the probe becomes complicated by Jenny’s personal interest in the research.