1) “This Is Us” season-opener, 9-11 p.m., NBC. The best drama on broadcast TV is back – and sooner than originally announced. That has to be a good sign for viewers who want a dab of normalcy. When they last saw, Kevin was furious at Randall (Sterling K. Brown, shown here) for convincing their mother to leave town for an experimental Alzheimer’s treatment; he even blurted that he wishes his parents had never adopted Randall. Now we jump forward a few months, to the 40th birthday for both men and their sister Kate.
2) ”Frontline: The Choice,” 9-11 p.m., PBS. Here’s a second chance to see this deep and compelling portrait of Donald Trump and Joe Biden. It lingers on key mistakes for both men – Biden’s plagiarism of speeches and possible mis-handling of the Clarence Thomas hearings, Trump’s business failures and his demands to execute Black youths (later proven innocent) called the Central Park Five. It also finds a key difference: Biden admitted his mistakes and changed his approach; Trump did not.
3) “The Book Makers,” 7 p,m. and 2 a.m. ET (4 and 11 p.m. PT), PBS World. In a world of tiny tweets, this is re-assuring: There are plenty of people who love real books. We meet those who read them, write them and, especially, make them. We follow one artist who spends almost two years creating a fresh edition of the novel “Ham on Rye”; others have hand-made books, filled with fold-outs and pop-ups. Gorgeously filmed, this is a reassuring look at both the printed word and the human soul.
4) “Swamp Thing,” 8 p.m., CW. There are potent scenes here – way too potent for some viewers. People imagine things – snakes, monsters, killers – so vivid that they’re ready to chop or shoot. “How are such things possible?” our heroine asks the Swamp Thing. We were wondering, too, especially since Thing – half-plant, half-person – is built from the memories of a biologist. For all of its quirks, this is a well-made (if nasty) hour … far better than the cruel “Tell Me a Story” that follows at 9.
5) Games and such, 8 p.m. For Fox, it’s time for the sixth game of the best-of-seven World Series, with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays. Meanwhile, CBS has a different sort of game: Its daytime hits. “The Price is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal,” have primetime specials at 8 p.m., with essential workers as the contestants.