Daily Best Bets

Best-bets for Sept. 25: A farewell season begins

1) “Modern Family” season-opener, 9 p.m., ABC. It’s the 11th and final season for one of TV’s best comedies. For five straight years, this won the best-comedy Emmy; one year, all six adults were nominated. A lot has happened since this began: Haley, then barely a teen, tonight (shown here) is arguing with her parents about how to raise her twins. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 24: Two debuts and a ton of season-openers

1) “The Resident” and “Empire” season-openers, 8 and 9 p.m., Fox. Once just another hospital show, “Resident” turns strongly cinematic. It opens in the imagination of Nicolette, mourning a death; then it heads to the basement (shown here), for a spectacular action scene. There are flaws here – the villains are badly overdrawn and transparent – but this has become a first-rate drama. And “Empire”? Well, it stays itself – fun and fascinating, yet way overboard. The one Lucious/Cookie scene is great, but the hour ends with waves of melodrama. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 23: Music collides on PBS, NBC

1) “Country Music,” 8 p.m., PBS, rerunning at 10. By the late 1960s, country music – like America itself – was filled with extremes. George Jones and Tammy Wynette created achingly beautiful songs and lived achingly painful lives. Kris Kristofferson (shown here) was their opposite – a long-haired Rhodes Scholar with a poet’s flair. Johnny Cash fit both extremes and more – a hard-scrabble country boy who stood up for the oppressed. This chapter beautifully profiles them and others. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 22: It’s Emmy time

1) Emmy awards, 8-11 p.m. ET, Fox. Sadly, there’s no host this year; Fox says it wants to focus on tributes to departing shows, including “Game of Thrones” (shown here, leading with 32 nominations), “Veep” and “The Big Bang Theory.” At least, fun people will be presenters. Many have been awards hosts in the past — Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers. Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler and Anthony Anderson. Others include Bill Hader, Lilly Singh, Billy Porter, Maya Rudolph, RuPaul, Ben Stiller and Cedric the Entertainer. Read more…

Best-bets for Sep. 21: Splendid Sandler and “Schitt’s” reruns

1) “Schitt’s Creek,” 4-11 p.m., Pop. It took five years for this oft-clever show to get attention. Now “Schitt’s Creek” has Emmy nominations for best comedy and for its costumes and stars, Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara (shown here); TV Guide named it the best current show. It’s not THAT good, but it is above average, with a once-rich family settling for life in the tattered town it once bought. The sixth and final season starts in January; here’s the fifth, starting with O’Hara’s awful horror movie. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 20: Season-finale reruns on CBS

1) “Magnum P.I.” (shown here), 9 p.m., CBS. A week before their season-openers, all three CBS shows rerun their season-finales – big, busy ones. In this case, Magnum’s ex-girlfriend (Jordana Brewster) arrives. It’s not a cheery reunion because: a) She has a gunshot wound; b) She needs a favor; and c) She’s the reason Magnum and his SEAL team became POW’s. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 19: Salutes to “Good Place,” “Downton”

1) “The Paley Center Salutes: The Good Place,” 9 p.m., NBC. The trouble with great shows is that they insist on staying great. They end early, while bland shows go on forever. “Good Place” (shown here) — wonderfully weird show, richly imaginative – plans to end after this season, which is only its fourth. It started with four undeserving people seemingly getting an ideal afterlife … then kept twisting and re-twisting. This special was originally set for 8 p.m., then moved to 9 … exactly a week before its season-opener. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 18: Cash soars; “Talent’ has a winner

1) “Country Music,” 8 p.m. (rerunning at 10), PBS. When Johnny Cash (shown here) left the Air Force, he had no clear plan. He was an Arkansas guy, newly married to a Texan he’d met during training. After moving to Memphis, where his brother lived, he was a bad salesman and an aspiring musician. He learned from a black bluesman and eventually met Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and more. That story – plus others, including the rise of Patsy Cline – wraps up the first half of Ken Burns’ brilliant, two-week series. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 17: Last chance for “Talent” ten

1) “America’s Got Talent” finals, 8-10:01 p.m., NBC. The 10 finalists get one more chance to impress us. Then viewers vote; on Wednesday, the show will have its 14th champion. There are lots of singers – Kodi Lee, Emanne Beasha and Benicio Bryant, plus the Detroit Youth Choir (shown here), the Ndlovu Youth Choir and Voices of Service. But there’s also variety — comedian Ryan Niemiller, violinist Tyler Butler-Figuera and two dance groups, the acrobatic V.Unbeatable and the light-up Light Balance Kids. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 16: “Dance” ends, “Dancing” starts

1) “So You Think You Can Dance” finale, 8-10 p.m., Fox. As usual, this started with a rich blend of genres, from tap and ballroom to salsa and hip-hop. And as usual, contemporary dancers fill most of the final four. There are three – Sophie Pittman and Mariah Russell, from Tennessee, and Gino Cosculluela from Miami. The lone exception is Bailey Munoz, who’s a “b-boy” or breakdancer from Las Vegas. Read more…