Daily Best Bets

Best-bets for Aug. 18: a must-stream Thursday

1) “Reservation Dogs,” any time, Hulu. Crafted with subtlety and depth, “Dogs” (focusing on young native Americans) is taking big detours this season For two episodes, Elora (shown here, left) was fleeing to California with her former nemesis … until their car broke down. In the third, Bear (right) got his first job; that one ended with Elora saying her grandmother was dying. Now the community gathers for a deathwatch; the result is a great blend of warmth, humor and more. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 17: an “Abbott” mini-marathon

1) “Abbott Elementary,” 8-10 p.m., ABC Arriving at mid-season, “Abbott” has soared. It swept the Television Critics Association awards – program of the year, plus best new show, comedy and comedy individual (Quinta Brunson, shown here); it also has seven Emmy nominations, including best comedy. Now ABC celebrates with four reruns, starting with the pilot. At 8:30, Janine (Brunson) tries to know her colleagues better. Then come a step-dance class and “desking. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 16: Dramas debut, ancient bikini returns

1) “Devils” season-opener, 9 p.m., CW. With sleek visuals, this European series makes financial schemes feel like tech thrill rides. In the first season, Massimo battled his ex-mentor (Patrick Dempsey; they’re shown here) and took control of a mega-bank. Now we jump between crises – Brexit in 2016, Covid in 2020 – that created financial chaos. There are murders, past and present, and careers wobble. It’s hard to follow some of the fiscal-babble, but easy to feel engaged. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 15: Call “Saul,” one last time

1) “Better Call Saul” series finale, 9 p.m., AMC, rerunning at 10:38. A great series concludes. Since this is a prequel, we know where part of it is headed. We know Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk, shown here), re-dubbed “Saul,” will be the scheming lawyer working with the “Breaking Bad” guys. But in the flashforward scenes after that, he’s bottomed out. His wife has left (a flashforward showed her new life in Florida); he calls himself “Gene” and has done a cruel theft. We’ll see how or if he survives. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 14: Four seasons end, one begins

1) “Masterpiece: Grantchester” season-finale, 9 p.m., PBS. It’s been a terrific season, a quick rebound from the drab “Masterpiece: Endeavour.” Alongside some solid mysteries, there have been personal crises for Geordie (lost in an alcoholic funk) and Will (shown here, center, last season), who dallied with a temptress while overlooking Geordie’s good-hearted niece Bonnie. Last week, Geordie’s wife let him return home; now come more key moments, including another murder of a homeless man. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 13: Movies have Diana, DeBose, “Desire”

1) “The Princess” debut, 8 p.m., HBO. This feels like a wonderfully mismatched triple-feature. HBO’s new Diana (shown here) documentary is surrounded by Oscar-winning performances in terrific 2021 films. At 5:30 p.m., Will Smith is an unstoppable tennis dad in “King Richard”; at 10, Ariana DeBose is a potent Anita in Steven Speilberg’s superb “West Side Story.” Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 12: feel-good night from Chen, chefs

1) “Secret Celebrity Renovation,” 8 p.m., CBS. Nathan Chen (shown here) grew up in Salt Lake City, the son of a research scientist and a medical translator. His own interests were elsewhere – piano, ballet, gymnastics and, especially, figure-skating. He’s won three world championships and Olympic gold and holds the all-time best under the current scoring system. Now he returns home to help create a skaters’ lounge in the Salt Lake City Sports Complex. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 11: baseball’s field of memories

1) Baseball, 7 p.m. ET, Fox. Baseball (shown here) may be slow and stodgy, but it has acres of history. The National League began in the wild-West era; that was 1876, the year Custer and Hickok were killed, Earp became sheriff and Bell made the first phone call. Now two of the original eight teams – Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds – meet on the Iowa diamond created for “Field of Dreams.” They’re about 40 games below .500 (combined), but bring a living history. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 10: “Dance” ends, “Alien” returns

1) “So You Think You Can Dance” finale, 9 p.m., Fox. Two gifted dancers (shown here with host Cat Deely), trained in opposite styles, remain. Keaton Kerrmode, 20, is a husky guy who was a 190-pound running back and safety in small-town Indiana; he’s a contemporary dancer. Alexis Warr, 21, trained in the Utah dance studio where Derek Hough began, then backed him on tour. She hopes to be the show’s first ballroom champ. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 9: A great game returns

1) “Password” debut, 10 p.m. Tuesday, NBC. For 61 years, off and on, this game has provided quick, slick fun. The new version has Keke Palmer hosting, with Jimmy Fallon (also the producer) playing each time; they’re shown here. Tonight, he’s with Jon Hamm (who’s especially good), then at 9 p.m. Wednesday, he’ll be with Heidi Klum. In the modern trend, people work way too hard at being cheerful. Still, these are smart, likable souls who make an old game feel fresh in its 60s. Read more…