Daily Best Bets

Best-bets for June 24: Amid a finale flurry, “Making It” begins

1) “Making It” season-opener, 8 p.m., NBC. This has never been your ordinary reality competition. As hosts and producers, Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman (shown here) provide offbeat humor and a warm view of the contestants. They’re a likable bunch of laymen – taxidermist, muralist, market researcher, etc. – who do crafts at home. One was a pitcher, ready for the majors until his arm gave out; another’s dad (Dave Kingman) hit 48 home runs one season. Blue-collar artistry ripples through the opener. Read more…

Best-bets for June 23: Season ends for “Black,” starts for “Dark”

1) “The Blacklist” season-finale, 10 p.m., NBC. After eight years of tangled twists and smart dialog, “Blacklist” might be ready to share a few secrets. Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) has shattered her FBI career, while obsessing on catching Raymond Reddington (James Spader), the former mentor who killed her mother. (They’re shown here in an early episode.) Now he has a disturbing request, before he’ll reveal his true identity. Read more…

Best-bets for June 22: College kids are brainy or witchy

1) “College Bowl” debut, 10 p.m., NBC. This notion goes back to 1953 on radio and ‘59 on TV. Now it has droll, dry work from Peyton Manning (shown here) as the host and his brother Cooper as sidekick. The opener has Auburn-Alabama and Michigan-Minnesota, with eight more schools arriving on the next two Tuesdays. A few of the categories (including spelling) make so-so viewing and the “speed round” makes the first round fairly insignificant. Overall, however, it’s a modestly interesting hour. Read more…

Best-bets for June 21: Start summer on the beach

1) “Gidget” (1959), 9:45 p.m., Turner Classic Movies, and more. On the first full day of summer, TCM has a spree of summer movies (see separate story, above). “Gidget” is partly old-school — sweet girl, warm family — and partly new, with a teen (Sandra Dee, shown here) who surfs with the guys. Other summer settings are in Betty Grable’s “Moon Over Miami” (1941, 8 p.m.), the French comedy “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday” (1953, 11:30), the Bogart-Bacall “Key Largo” (1948, 1:15 a.m.) and Andy Hardy’s “You’re Only Young Once” (1938, 3:15 a.m.). Read more…

Best-bets for June 19: A busy, passionate Juneteenth

1) “Fight the Power: The Movements That Changed America,” 8 p.m., History. On Juneteenth – a day that celebrates the end of slavery — this film views the impact of key movements. Co-produced by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, it ranges from early civil rights protests to current Black Lives Matter (shown here) ones, plus others involving gays, women and union members. The channel also has documentaries on the Tuskegee Airmen (7 p.m.), the Tulsa massacre (9:02 p.m. and 12:03 a.m.) and civil rights (11:05 p.m.). Read more…

Best-bets for June 18: Juneteenth (almost) parties and streaming debuts

1) “Juneteenth: Together We Triumph,” 9-11 p.m., ABC. For the second year, ABC has a special keyed to the celebrations (shown here) on Juneteenth weekend. This one (on the eve of the holiday) is hosted by Leslie Odom Jr., with music by Jimmy Allen, Chloe Bailey (of Chloe x Halle) and Leon Bridges. Michael Strahan interviews Barack Obama; there are features on Black farmers, artists and businesses, plus looks at soul food and at new links with whites in small towns and with Asian-American religious leaders in cities. Read more…

Best-bets for March 16: Games begin, “Blacklist” continues

1) “The Blacklist,” 10 p.m., NBC. Despite its late start, this slickly crafted show has a full, 22-episode season. That gives it two more episodes, borrowing Wednesdays this week and next. Tonight (after the Olympic swimming trials, from 8-10 p.m.) is a key one: Red takes Liz (they’re shown here in a previous episode) to the epicenter of his operations and offers some secrets about their shared past. Read more…

Best-bets for June 15: dramas, bold and cruel

1) “Cruel Summer” season-finale, 10 p.m., Freeform. A potent story peaks, amid revelations. On one side is Kate (Olivia Holt, shown here), a cheery and popular teen who disappeared; on the other is Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia), a geeky kid with two friends and loving parents. When Kate vanished, Jeanette seemed to take her friends, her boyfriend and her life. Then Kate was freed from a hostage situation … and accused Jeanette of seeing her and failing to help. It’s a complex story, with secrets ready to emerge. Read more…

Best-bets for June 14: drama & dating debuts

1) “The Republic of Sarah”(shown here) debut, 9 p.m., CW. The quiet, autumn beauty of a New Hampshire town is pierced by the arrival of heavy equipment. For Sarah and her friends, life is suddenly transforming. “Republic” gets halfway through the hour before its plot starts to kick in; it also toys with assumptions about Sarah and Billy and others. Stick with it, surprises and all, and you’ll be rewarded. Its villains here are absurdly overdrawn, but Sarah (newcomer Stella Baker) is immensely likable. Read more…