Daily Best Bets

Best-bets for Jan. 22: Forte, films, football

1) “Saturday Night Live,”  11:29 p.m., NBC. A decade after leaving “Saturday Night Live,” Will Forte finally returns as host. That fits neatly with the fact he’s now doing “MacGruber” (shown here) – originally an “SNL” character, then a failed movie, now a series – on Peacock. Forte did eight years on “SNL,” then had his own “Last Man on Earth” series for three years. He’s been busy with voice work and had a serious turn in “Nebraska.” Tonight’s music guest is Maneskin. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 21: “Judas” goes solo

1) “Stars on Stage,” 9 p.m., PBS. This wraps up a series that gave three Broadway-style talents each an hour-long concert. Now it’s Brandon Victor Dixon’s turn. On Broadway, he’s portrayed the music greats – Eubie Blake and Berry Gordy; he’s won a Tony (for producing the “Hedwig” revival) and been nominated for two more. Still, more people may know him from two live TV performances – in “Rent” and a sensational, Emmy-nominated turn as Judas in “Jesus Christ Superstar” (shown here). Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 20: comedies and historic tragedy

1) “Women of the Movement” conclusion, 8 p.m., ABC. With the world watching, two women testified in a packed Mississippi courtroom. One was a store clerk, 27; after Emmett Till (14, visiting from Chicago) talked to her in 1955, he was kidnapped and killed. The other was Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. The case would propel the civil rights movement; Till-Mobley (played by Adrienne Warren, shown here with Cedric Joe as Emmett) would go on to get a master’s degree and be an educator and an activist. This wraps an intense mini-series; a documentary follows at 10:31. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 18: Broadway revives, Naomi frets

1)“Great Performances: The Broadway Revival,” 9 p.m., PBS. Right now, Adrienne Warren is starring as Emmett Till’s mother in an ABC mini-series that concludes Thursday. Before that, she drew raves in a Tina Turner musical (shown here) … until COV ID closed Broadway, “It crushed me,” she says here. After a 19-month break, the show returned … and she had to relearn everything. “It was hilarious,” she says, “and also terrifying.” She’s one of many people in an involving (but repetitive) look at Broadway’s comeback. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 17: buried by blizzards

1) “9-1-1: Lone Star” and “Ordinary Joe,” 8 p.m., Fox and 10 p.m., NBC. Suddenly, our TV sets are filled with snow.; both episodes have blizzards. For “Lone Star,” that’s a surprise; Texas doesn’t get much snow. It’s also a rerun of the season-opener, starting an excellent, multi-week story: Owen (Rob Lowe,shown here), bearded and brooding, is in a cabin when the world transforms. And for “Ordinary Joe,” all three of these extraordinary Joes – the cop, nurse and rock star – see their lives battered. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 16: Marilyn memories, football playoffs

1) “Reframed: Marilyn Monroe” opener, 9-11 p.m. ET, CNN, rerunning at midnight. Early stories had Monroe (shown here) as the product of accidents (discovered while babysitting) and manipulative men. Well, she was discovered by accident – but as a factory worker, not a babysitter. She refused to sleep with mogul Harry Cohn and co-wrote a piece about male predators. In an excellent (if overstated) start to a two-week, four-hour portrait, we meet a savvy and ambitious woman who mastered projecting her beauty. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 15: Big dudes play superhero or football

1) “Peacemaker” opener, 10:15 p.m., HBO. Chris (John Cena, shown here) is a superhero, but not the modest sort. He has a pet eagle, a red-white-and-blue car and a weird helmet he even wears in a restaurant. He’s also a survivor; in the second “Suicide Squad” movie (8 p.m. on HBO), he was shot and a building fell on him. Now he’s out of the hospital; the result – launching an HBO Max series – leaps between fierce action and sharp wit, beautifully written by director James Gunn and perfectly played by Cena. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 14: Tough “Ray” pierces reality overload

1) “Ray Donovan: The Movie,” 9 and 10:40 p.m, Showtime. The “Ray Donovan” series ended a year ago, with lives shattered. Ray’s daughter was widowed, his half-brother was wanted by police and his dad was running loose with $20 million in stolen stock. Now Ray (Liev Schreiber, shown here) phones his therapist to say he’s killed his father. Then the story backs up a little – and a lot; flashbacks show the rift that sent the dad to prison for decades. This is beautifully acted and sharply crafted, but it’s also a tough, bleak ride. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 13: Lots of laughs … and real-life agony

1) “Call Me Kat,” 9 p.m., Fox. Low-key and kind of goofy, this is also oddly enjoyable. In the season-opener (after football on Sunday), Kat (Mayim Bialik, shown here in a previous episode) was in the unfamiliar position of choosing between two guys. She chose Oscar; now the show settles into its regular slot as they try to celebrate and their friends, Randi and Carter, build their own romance. The result, as usual, is light and likable. Read more…