1) “9/11: One Day in America,” 9-10:30 p.m. Sunday, National Geographic, rerunning at 11:30; continues Aug. 30-31. Here’s the start of six hours of riveting television. In a three-year project, people dug through 950 hours of film from Sept. 11, 2001(shown here) and added fresh interviews. There are deep waves of tragedy, of course, but also surprising bursts of feel-good stories. This is human nature at its best – heroism and stoic survival, mixed in with bursts of sheer luck. The stories are beautifully related.
2) “The Ultimate Surfer” debut, 10 p.m., ABC; continues Tuesday. From “Gidget” to “The 100 Foot Wave,” surfing has become a key part of our summer images. Now Kelly Slater, the 11-time world champion, adds a tech level. At his inland Surf Ranch (30 miles south of Fresno). he has man-made waves. Contestants live together, but this eight-parter is a sports event, not a dating show. Former pro quarterback Jesse Palmer will anchor, with Erin Coscarelli, Slater and surfing expert Joe Turpel.
3) “Making It” finale, 9 p.m.,Thursday, NBC. This gentle gem has offered good-natured competition among crafts folks. The first two seasonswere each nominated for Emmys (best hosts, Amy Poehler and Nick Offeman) and Television Critics Association awards (best reality show). Then came an 18-month gap, before this summer season; now the finalists build huts that are their happy places. That follows new “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” episodes at 8 and 8:30 p.m.; the first ripples with clever plot twists.
4) “Supergirl” return, 9 p.m. Tuesday, CW. After a brutal time in the Phantom Zone, Kara (or Supergirl) was rescued by friends. She emerged with fierce PTSD … and with her father, who’d been trapped for decades. Now, after a thee-month pause, the show returns, with 13 more episodes in its final season. Kara’s dad finds that our oceans are dying, pushing Earth toward the same fate as Krypton; a clean-up effort goes awry. Despite one problem – the dad seems a tad wooden – it’s a smart, emotional episode.
5) “Motherland: Fort Salem” season-finale, 10 p.m. Tuesday, Freeform. It’s been a fierce year for these young witches. Tally fought successfully to dump the imposing General Alder … Abigail – whose mother takes over as commander – was pressured to marry and perpetuate the bloodline … Raelle was kidnapped; her long-absent mother died while rescuing her. But now the three have a bigger foe: The Camarilla are attacking. The result, Freeform says, will bring “impossible, world-changing choices.”
6) “CMT Giants: Charley Pride,” 9-10:30 p.m., CMT. Charley Pride was a potent pioneer, country’s first (and, often, only) Black superstar. He had 30 No. 1 country hits and was Entertainer of the Year in 1971. Pride died of COVID last December; now his music will be performed by his son Dion Pride, plus Garth Brooks, George Strait, Gladys Knight, Alan Jackson, Wynonna, Darius Rucker, Lee Ann Womack, Mickey Guyton, Jimmy Allen and Luke Combs with Robert Randolph and Reyna Roberts.
7) “Archer” season-opener, 10 p.m. Wednesday, FXX. Last season, the team saved the world, but failed to get credit or compensation. Now it has no money for the essentials, including bullets and a phone. It gambles on a job that only pays the winner … and pits them against high-tech, high-class spies. The result is the usual blend of action and bash comedy. It’s a funny start to the animated show’s 12th season, the last one with Jessica Walter – who died in March, at 80 – voicing Sterling’s mom and boss.
8) “Great Performances: Vienna Philharmonic,” 9-10:30 p.m Friday, PBS. This opens with a Verdi overture that is slow and mournful … then turns into vibrant glee. That fits the event: Amid COVID, the orchestra skipped last summer’s PBS concert and trimmed its audiences this season. But it invited 3,000 teachers and medical people, for this beautifully filmed event. Pianist Igor Levit does a dazzling Rachmaninoff piece; there’s more, including a “West Side Story” medley and a closing Strauss waltz.
9) Football, 1 p.m. ET Saturday, Fox. The college season kicks off with Nebraska and Illinois. That’s in a small opening day: ESPN has Hawaii-UCLA at 3:30 p.m.; the CBS Sports Network has Fresno State-Connecticut at 2 p.m. and Southern Utah-San Jose State at 10 p.m. Also, the pros have their final pre-season week. Today, ESPN has Jacksonville-New Orleans at 8 p.m. ET; on Sunday, it’s Minnesota-Cincinnati (4 p.m., CBS) and Cleveland-Atlanta (8 p.m., NBC), with more games on the NFL Network.
10) “Wicked in Concert,” 9 p.m. Sunday, PBS. The 18-month Broadway break is finally ending, with some shows re-opening Sept. 14. First, here’s a cleverly crafted celebration of one of them: Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Manzel, the original stars, sing a closing song and introduce others, performed in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. There’s too much talk, but the singers – Ariaa DeBose, Jennifer Nettles, Amber Riley, Alex Newell, Ali Stroker, Isaac Powell, Cynthia Erivo – are superb.