1) Mysteries, 8-11 p.m. Sunday, PBS. We could call this the start of the fall season; three well-crafted shows return for six-week seasons “Unforgotten” (9 p.m.) uses all six weeks for one murder case – and a dilly. In the opener, the new inspector (shown here) arrives on what’s already the worst day of her life. “Van der Valk” (10) has three two-part stories; the first is tangled and intriguing. “Professor T” (8) has a new story each week, with an enigmatic criminologist.
2) College football. Or maybe this is the real start of the season. With strikes shuttering most scripted shows, networks will obsess on football. There were seven extra-early games last week, but now comes the deluge: 11 major-college games Thursday, led by Nebraska-Minnesota at 8 p.m. ET on Fox …. Six games Friday … A flood Saturday, including 7:30 p.m. on ABC, CBS and NBC … And LSU-Florida State, at74:30 p.m. Sunday on ABC.
3) “Claim to Fame” finale, 8 and 9 p.m. today, ABC. Unlike the first season, this has been peppered with wrong guesses. Chris? Despite obvious clues, people guessed he’s related to Elvis Presley, Elton John and Billy Idol. (“Elton John is from Utah, isn’t he?,” one person asked.) Karsyn? People guessed the wrong race-car driver (Jeff Gordon). Now both remain, alongside Monay and Gabriel. One person is ousted the first hour, two in a fun finale.
4) “Stars on Mars” finale, 8-9 p.m. today, Fox. This started with a dozen semi-celebrities in a fake-Mars, then added four more in the fifth episode. William Shatner, 92, gave the verbal orders – and showed up in person last week. Now two of the latecomers remain – basketball’s Paul Pierce and “Iron Chef” champ Cat Cora – plus three others: Olympic skater Adam Rippon, singer Tinashe and Porsha Williams Guobadia from “Real Housewives of Atlanta.
5) “Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland,” 9 and 10 p.m. today and Tuesday, 10 p.m. Wednesday, PBS. For 30 years, “The Troubles” rocked Northern Ireland. What started as a civil-rights protest by Catholics escalated to a war that included British military and the Irish Republican Army. The result left 3,500 dead, 100,000 wounded, many more shattered emotionally. This powerful documentary has people on all sides, reflecting on their hatred and pain.
6) “Justified: City Primeval” finale, 10 p.m. Tueday, FX. This brutal tale pits the manic Mansell against Raylan, the stoic U.S. marshal (who is sleeping with Mansell’s lawyer). Now both have been grabbed by mobsters, while police frame someone for Mansell’s murders. The story seems to end early, then re-starts, then leaves time for some neat surprises. It’s a big week for FX, which has the “What We Do In the Shadows” season-finale at 10 p.m. Thursday.
7) “Archer” season-openers, 10 and 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, FXX; rerunning hourly until 3:30 a.m. The 14th and final season of this animated action comedy has adjusted its chaos. Now Lana is the boss, worrying about budgets, human-resource issues and the skeleton in the office wall. That leaves Sterling Archer – as cocky as ever – on a spy mission, working with a beauty who matches him in skill and ego. The two-parter is inconsistent, but entertaining.
8) “Family Law” season-finale, 8 and 9 p.m. Friday, CW. This Canadian drama tends to be an adequate mixture of lightweight court cases and personal dramas for the lawyers. The first hour is ike the Britney Spears case – a superstar, tied to a conservatorship because of reckless behavior. In the second, Abby tries to help her half-sister get legal status as a baby’s parent. As Abby’s probation ends she can stick with her dad’s firm or take a lucrative offer.
9) “Yellowstone,” Saturday (10 a.m. to 3 a.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. to 2 a.m.), Paramount Network. Already a ratings leader, this drama keeps re-airing. This fall, CBS will rerun it on Sundays; it’s also on Paramount+ … and now the Paramount Network reruns it from the beginning. That starts with John Dutton (Kevin Costner) in control of his mega-ranch in modern Montana. These reruns will take us mid-way into the third of five seasons.
10) “Dark Winds” finale, 9-10:10 p.m. Sunday, AMC. For Joe Leaphorn, this is deeply personal. He finally captured the serial killer who terrorized the Navajo Nation … and who (hired by a local business mogul) bombed a mine, killing Joe’s son. But as last week ended, a transport vehicle had crashed, officers were dead and the villain was loose. That sets up the emotional finale, as Joe deals with two villains and deep furrows of pain.