1) “The Black Church” (shown here), 9-11 p.m., PBS. One of the season’s best shows begins its joyous, two-night run. Henry Louis Gates does point out flaws in some Black churches – biases against women and gays and more. Mostly, though, he looks at immense progress. He ranges from tiny shacks to a 14,000-seat arena with video screens and a band. He tells of slaves who brought religions – Christian, Muslim, more – from Africa and transformed them, making into pillars of survival, change and great music.
2) “Prodigal Son,” 9 p.m., Fox. Often teetering on the edge of reality, “Son” now finds a clever way to drift to the opposite side. After a severe trauma, Malcolm’s mind wanders; his sub-conscious is in an alternate world … which may offer clues about the real one. It’s a smart and well-played episode, against the backdrop of his secret: His sister still doesn’t know that she (not he) killed an abusive guy.
3) “Young Rock” debut, 8 p.m., NBC. Let’s credit Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for trying something different, while taking an honest look at himself, flaws and all. The only thing this comedy is short on is … well, humor. Johnson narrates it (indirectly) on-camera, but the focus is on three points in his life. A 10-year-old awed by his dad (a wrestler) and his dad’s friends, including Andre the Giant … a 15-year-old, shopliftig cool clothes … and an 18-year-old, making an impact in college football.
4) “Kenan” debut, 8:30, NBC. Here’s the precise opposite of “Young Rock” – a remarkably unoriginal show. It feels like it wandered here from the early 1960s, albeit with diversity; the lone saving grace is the immense likability of Kenan Thompson. He plays a widowed dad who juggles life at home with his two daughters and at his goofy workplace, a morning TV show. People stretch hard for laughs.
5) ALSO: One show starts its season – “Queen Sugar,” 8 and 11 p.m., Oprah Winfrey Network – on a night when two end theirs: The stylishly filmed “Two Sentence Horror Stories” is at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on CW, followed by “Trickster” (not expected to have a second season) at 9. That’s a double-feature for Joel Oulette, a promising teen actor with Cree and Metis roots. In the 8:30 “Horror,” he plays a filmmaker, upset by a faux-Indian project; in “Trickster,” he stars as Jared, on the run with his mother.