Daily Best Bets

Best-bets for Oct. 20: great bees, troubled humans

1) “Nature” season-opener (shown here), 8 p.m., PBS. Martin Dohrn had been traveling the world, filming lions and leopards and even mass migrations. Then the pandemic confined him to his home and yard in Bristol, England. He fashioned special cameras and found more than 60 species of bees. Some carefully crafted homes, scooting across town to find the right sticks; others just stole homes. He even named some and followed one’s adventures. It’s a charming start to this show’s 40th season. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 19: strong dramas, true or (very) fictional

1) “Impeachment,” 10 p.m., FX. Last week, this superb mini-series hit a peak: Monica Lewinsky learned that her “friend” Linda Tripp had taped their conversations for the FBI. Now come the aftershocks, as life closes in on both women. It’s another strong episode, boosted again by great work from Beanie Feldstein (shown here) and Annaleigh Ashford as Lewinsky and Paula Jones. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 18: a dramatic leap and a departed star

1) “The Big Leap.” 9 p.m., Fox. “Leap” tries to do everything. It has light comedy, dark drama and bits of romance, all while adding zesty dance numbers and satirizing a manipulative reality show. Tonight has two drama twists. One – Mike learns that his new love, Paula, was the executive who eliminated his job – is fairly good; the other is quietly powerful. Gabby finally reveals (and confronts) her son’s biologic father; with subtle perfection, Nicole Recasner (shown here in a previous episode) projects deep pain and rage. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 17: “Succession” (at last) and “Baptiste” return

1) “Succession” season-opener, 9 p.m., HBO. We’re back – at last – to the story of a media mogul and his offspring and minions … each hoping to take over the empire. When the second season ended, his son Kendall (shown here) had publicly said he’s corrupt. The show won seven Emmys (including best drama), then had a long COVID pause. After a two-year absence, it’s back, simultaneously rippling with humor and intense drama. Kendall fidgets, then plans his next move; his siblings and others jockey for position. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 16: second chance to see “Diana,” “Ghosts,” more

1) “Diana,” 9 p.m. ET, CNN. If you missed the opener last Sunday (a crowded night), here’s a second chance. This starts a six-week documentary that mixes old film, new commentary and the audio tapes Diana (shown here) made for Andrew Morton’s biography. Tonight, we meet near-opposites: As a nanny, her first employer says, Diana was “very tactile,” warm and loving. And Prince Charles? “There was never anything tactile about him,” Diana said. On Sunday, we’ll see the wedding and some ominous signs. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 15: Reality shows offer togetherness

1) “Home Sweet Home” debut, 8 p.m., NBC. Each week, people with opposite lives will trade places. That’s been done before (“Wife Swap,” “30 Days”), but now Ava DuVernay (shown here, working on an upcoming episode) – the “Selma” director and “Queen Sugar” producer – is in charge, awash in good intentions. In the opener, a Greek Orthodox family swaps with a two-mom Black family. Both families are deeply evolved, so similar phrases – “we’re all the same,” etc. – persist. The intentions are sweet, but quite repetitious. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 14: Annaleigh is back; so is “Runway”

1) “B Positive” season-opener, 9:30 p.m., CBS. Lately, the world has been discovering the remarkable Annaleigh Ashford. Already a Tony-winner, she did this year’s Emmy and Tony shows; she sang in the “Wicked” concert, the “Broadway’s Back” special and the vibrant opening of CBS’ fall preview … and has been brilliant as Paula Jones in “Impeachment.” Now she’s back as Gina (shown here), the good (if daft) soul who donated a kidney to a guy she barely knew. Tonight, they adjust to post-surgery life; also, he tries a new romance and she learns about a friend’s death. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 13: blissful “Conners,” bitter “Dopesick”

1) “Dopesick” debut, any time, Hulu. On the national level, this epidemic is massive. Each year, studies say, two million people misused opioids; in a 20-year stretch, almost a half-million died of ovedoses. Danny Strong (“Game Change,” “Recount”) has written a brilliant eight-parter that does it all. We see the big picture, as Purdue Pharma mis-represents OxyContin. We also see moving stories about composite characters, with great work from Michael Keaton, Kaitlyn Dever and Rosario Dawson (shown here), as an earnest doctor, a pain-plagued miner and an investigator. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct.12: Monica & movie magic

1) “Impeachment,” 10 p.m., FX. The second half of this superb, 10-week series starts with an hour that’s simultaneously funny and tragic. Monica Lewinsky (wonderfully played by Beanie Feldstein, shown here) is suddenly detained by the FBI. She’s free to go, but advised not to. For 12 hours – some of them spent waiting for her mom – she and some bewildered FBI guys (one of them played by Colin Hanks) co-exist in a hotel room and wander a shopping mall. It’s a bizarre half-day in American political history. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct.11: angst for aliens, Earthlings and dancers

1) “Roswell” season-finale, 8 and 9 p.m., CW. “This is better than a soap opera,” one character says. And longer, too. In these two hours, we get way too many heart-to-heart talks. Individually, each is written and played well; combined, this feel like Dr. Phil has invaded the sci-fi universe. The story mixes aliens with special powers and mere Earthlings without. Most aliens are good, but Mr. Jones is pure evil … and looks like good-guy Max (shown here with Liz, the brainy scientist). That stirs science talk we can’t pretend to understand. Read more…