1) “Monarch,” about 8 p.m. ET Sunday (after football), Fox. Eight days before the season officially starts, here’s the first arrival, Planned for last spring, then delayed, it links music and soap-style drama, just as “Empire” did … but with country music. Trace Adkins and Susan Sarandon play the leaders of a Nashville dynasty (shown here). They have one daughter who looks like a star (Anna Friel) and one who sings like one (Beth Ditto), plus a business-like son.
2) Pro football opener, 8:20 p.m. ET Thursday, NBC, then Sunday. And here’s the reason “Monarch” is starting on Sunday: NFL games provide a huge lead-in. The season starts Thursday with the Super Bowl champion Rams hosting the Bills. The pre-game show is at 7, including music by J. Balvin. On Sunday (also at 8:20), NBC has the Cowboys and Bucs. Other games are in regional doubleheaders, at 1 and 4:25 p.m. Sunday on Fox and CBS.
3) “What We Do in the Shadows” season-finale, 10 p.m. Tuesday, FX. Things have gone oddly well this season. The vampire nightclub thrived, thanks to a fast-growing boy singer who popped out of the late Colin’s chest. Nadja and Guillermo have each hidden stacks of cash. But last week, Laszlo insisted the boy wants more money; now things crumble. It’s a big and funny finish for a season that has often been weird and sometimes been hilarious.
4) “Claim to Fame,” 10 p.m., today and Tuesday, ABC. Lots of secret family connections have been revealed. The show has ousted the sisters of Simone Biles and Tiffany Haddish, daughters of Brett Favre and Al Sharpton, grandchildren of Chuck Norris and Whoopi Goldberg, cousin of Zendaya and twin of Laverne Cox. Now four remain. Tonight (after overnight dates on “Bachelorette”), that will be trimmed to three; Tuesday has the winner.
5) “The Bad Seed Returns,” 8 p.m. today, Lifetime. When she plays geniuses (in “Young Sheldon” and the movie “Gifted”), McKenna Grace seems sweet and pleasant. But she has great range, from vengeful victim (“Handmaid’s Tale”) to cunning villain. She was 12 when she did the latter in the “Bad Seed” remake, rerunning at 6 and 10:03 p.m. today. Now, at 16, she’s co-written, co-produced and stars in this sequel; it’s beautifully done, if a bit repetitious.
6) “America’s Got Talent,” 8-10 p.m. Tuesday and 8-9 p.m. Wednesday, NBC. Two spots remain for next week’s top-10 finale. So far, there’s been lots of talent, only half of it American. Metaphysic, a Belgian-Austrian team using special-effects, advanced last week with Mike Winfield, a Baltimore comedian. They join magicians from France and South Korea and four music acts – three from the U.S. and one from Poland. Now 11 acts try for the last spots.
7) “MasterChef,” 8 and 9 p.m. Wednesday, Fox. The show nudges into the start of its finale, which will continue next week. Dara Yu, runner-up in the first “MasterChef Junior” season, is still in the running. She’s 20, facing four people – Emily Hallock, Shanika Patterson, Michael Silverstein and Christian Green– in their 30s. In the first hour, they try baked Alaska and lobster tortellini; then four start the finals, making an appetizer before a studio audience..
8) “College Bowl” (NBC) season-opener or “Secret Celebrity Renovation” (CBS), 8 p.m. Friday. Two supersized athletes share a timeslot. In his basketball days, Shaquille O’Neal was 7-foot-1, 325 pounds; he won three championships with the Lakers and one with the Heat. On CBS, he helps rehab an uncle’s home. Peyton Manning was a mere 6-5 and 230 in his football days; he was MVP five times. He starts the second “Bowl” season, with another episode at 9.
9) Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, 9-10:30 p.m. Friday, PBS. Amid war, Ukrainians manage to make soaring music. This Kennedy Center concert includes refugees, plus Ukrainians who perform in their homeland and abroad. Led by Canadian-Ukrainian conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson, it does Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony, the Seventh Symphony of Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov and a Chopin concerto with Ukrainian piano virtuoso Anna Fedorova.
10) “American Gigolo” debut, 9 p.m Sunday, Showtime. In the 1980 movie, Julian (Richard Gere) was in control, even when being framed for murder. Not in this eight-part mini-series: Julian (Jon Bernthal) spent 15 years in prison. Now free, he’s perplexed by this new world. Rosie O’Donnell, Gretchen Mol and Wayne Brady are in support. This goes against the finale of PBS’ “Guilt” sequel, which has great dialog and a plot that’s often impenetrable.