1) Presidential inauguration, Wednesday. A new era begins in two phases: At noon ET, Joe Biden is sworn in as president and gives his inaugural address. And from 8:30 to 10 p.m., Tom Hanks hosts “Celebrating America” on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, news channels and more. The evening will include music – Demi Lovato (shown here), Bruce springsteen, Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Ari Clemons, John Legend, Foo Fighters and, reportedly, Jennifer Lopez – plus remarks by Biden and Kamala Harris and tributes to medical people, teachers, police and others.
2) “Riverdale” and “Nancy Drew” season-openers, 8 and 9 p.m. Wednesday, CW. Anyone skipping the inaugural special can find a strong, two-part alternative. First, the prom is coming to Riverdale – just as the town is astir with creepy videos and maybe snuff films; it’s a big – and sometimes overwrought – episode. Then Nancy confronts the Midnight Wraith. That part of the hour is potent; the rest will linger over the season, as she ponders her own roots and the visions that she ad friends had of their deaths.
3) “Walker” debut, 8 p.m. Thursday, CW. This is CW’s week; the mini-network delayed its entire fall line-up until now. Sunday had a terrific “Batwoman”; at 8 p.m. today is an OK “All-American.” Also coming are “Legacies” (9 p.m. Thursday) and “Charmed” (9 p.m. Sunday). And here’s the one series debut – a “Walker, Texas Ranger” prequel, starring Jared Padalecki. The good news is that he has a terrific Latina partner. The bad is that he’s a distant dad who is – for now, at least – difficult to like.
4) “American Masters,” 9-11 p.m. today, PBS. On Martin Luther King Day, we get a beautifully crafted look at the pioneering black women in film and music. At first, stardom only seemed available to light-skinned women – Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll; even then, Horne couldn’t land the role of a light-skinned black woman in “Show Boat”; it went to Ava Gardner. Only later did others – Cicely Tyson, Pam Grier, Nina Simone – make inroads. Many also became powerful political forces.
5) “Bob (Hearts) Abishola,”, 8:30 p.m. today, CBS. Already one of TV’s best comedies, this finds fresh turf, starting a terrific, two-week story. Bob and Abishola are engaged, but she’s still married to a guy who returned to Nigeria eight years ago, while she stayed in Detroit with their son. There are great scenes with Abishola’s uncle and her work colleague … and some so-so scenes with Bob’s family. But the real emphasis is on Bob and Abishola, two soft-spoken and sturdy souls, surrounded by chaos.
6) “9-1-1” and “9-1-1: Lone Star” season-openers, 8 and 9 p.m. today, Fox. At last, Fox has a full line-up in place. These shows, the last to arrive, keep trying to top themselves in mega-crises. This time, “9-1-1” has the Hollywood Reservoir break. A cyclist is trapped, an agoraphobic woman is evacuated … and a bus crashes into a building, several stories high. In Texas, the problems are, maybe, milder: There’s a military tank rumbling in downtown Austin; also there’s a human pile-up at the roller derby.
7) “The Resident,” 8 p.m. Tuesday, Fox. After a so-so start, this keeps getting better. That peaked with last week’s superb season-opener: It started and ended in a post-pandemic era, then flashed back to the arrival of COVID. This excellent follow-up stays in the future, with aftershocks: Devon’s father, a cab driver, died of COVID. Dr. Cain, nudged by a greedy administrator, scheduled unneeded surgeries. And at the Nicolette/Conrad wedding, Austin and Okafor had a surprise kiss; now they face an ethical crisis.
8) “In Concert at the Hollywood Bowl,” 9 p.m. Friday, PBS. In 1924, the Bowl had its first Mexican-themed concert. It has continued that emphasis ever since; now we see splendid examples. In the second week of its six-week series, “In Concert” focuses on Mexican music. There’s a sensational guitar duo (Rodrigo y Gabriela), a great singer (Natalia Lafourcade) and more. They’re backed by the LA Philharmonic, led by Gustavo Dudamell whose father was a salsa-band trombonist in Venezuela.
9) “Salt-N-Pepa.” 8 p.m. Saturday, Lifetime. Back in 1985, two nursing students (working at Sears) made a rap record that caught on. That “marked the beginning of a new era in hip hop,” Mimi Valdes wrote in “The Vibe History of Hip Hop.” They performed everywhere, even on cafeteria lunch tables. With a 15-year-old DJ, they developed what rap historian Nelson George called “clean-cut sexuality,” in the Supremes mold. They became the first female rappers to go platinum; now that’s dramatized.
10) AND MORE: Documentaries range from “President Biden” (10 p.m. Tuesday, PBS) to the start of the epic “A Wild Year on Earth” (8 p.m. Saturday, BBC America). Also, the Martin Luther King Day movies are led by “Black Panther” (2018), at 8 p.m. today on TBS. There are double features on FX – “Hidden Figures” (2016) at 6 p.m, “The Hate U Give” (2018) at 10 – and BET, with “Miss Juneteenth” (2020) at 6 p.m. and “Creed” (2015) at 9. And HBO has “The Photograph” (2020) at 10:05 p.m.