Daily Best Bets

Best-bets for May 19: “Voice” ends, “Stargirl” begins

1) “Stargirl” debut. 8 p.m. CW. When her mom remarries, Courtney is whisked from California to small-town Nebraska, where the high school is full of Hollywood-stereotype mean kids. She’s not happy. Then, of course, she finds her dad ha s a magic staff that only she can control. After a messy start, “Stargirl” becomes a well-crafted tale of angst and awe. Brec Bassinger (shown here) is immensely likable as Courtney and Luke Wilson brings real depth as her dad. Read more…

Best-bets for May 18: A night for music and (maybe) lust

1) “The Voice” finale, 8-10 p.m., NBC. The final five singers have one more shot at our votes, before the winner is announced Tuesday. Performing from home, they’re a varied bunch. Toneisha Harris, in Georgia, is 44; Todd Tilghman, a Mississippi pastor, is 41 and a father of eight. Others are from South Carolina (CammWeiss, 21), Hawaii (Thunderstorm Artis, 23, shown here) and Japan (Micah Iverson, 25). Read more…

Best-bets for May 18: Lotsa music, strong and Swift

1) “American Idol” finale, 8-10 p.m., ABC. We can expect a couple powerhouse moments. One has Cynthia Erivo lead the show’s final 11 in an Aretha Franklin medley; the other has Lionel Richie and some “Idol” alumni sing “We Are the World,” which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson. (They’re shown here, with famous friends.) There’s much more – a song by each of the other judges, two songs by the final five contestants – and a champion. Read more…

Best-bets for May 16: A classy commencement

1) “Graduate Together: America Honors the Class of 2020,” 8 p.m, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and social media. This is the graduation ceremony we all deserve – Barack and Michelle Obama (shown here) as the commencement speakers, joined by music people – Pharell Williams, H.E.R., Bad Bunny, Ben Platt and the Jonas Brothers. LeBron James will also be there. He organized this event because three million people will graduate from high school this year without a prom or a full graduation ceremony. Read more…

Best-bets for May 15: Performing en masse and in isolation

1) “Great Performances: Bernstein’s Mass,” 9-11 p.m., PBS. Even during this social-distance time, we can savor the epic power of supersized music. Leonard Bernstein wrote this powerful piece for the 1971 Kennedy Center opening; this performance (shown here) is from last July at the Ravinia Festival, near Chicago. Paolo Szot (a Tony-winner for “South Pacific”) is superb, backed by the Chicago Symphony, a children’s choir, a vocal quartet, a 22-person “street chorus” and, yes, a marching band. Read more…

Best-bets for May 14: Annalise (dead or alive) leaves

1) “How to Get Away With Murder” series finale, 10 p.m., ABC. For six seasons, this show has delivered tangled mysteries, spiced by spectacular performances from Viola Davis (shown here with Tom Verica) as Annalise. She already has an Emmy and three more nominations; now come pivotal moments. On trial for murder, she learns there’s a surprise witness. Then there’s the pesky mattert of a flashforward that showed Annalise’s funeral. ABC promises we’ll learn what that’s all about and who (if anyone) killed her. Read more…

Best-bets for May 13: “Survivor” gets a champion of champions

1) “Survivor” finale, 8-11 p.m., CBS. Surviving in a field of previous winners are two cops (Tony Vlachos, 45, and Sarah Lacina, 34) and an ex-Marine (Ben Driebergen, 36). They face the edition’s oldest person (Denise Stapley, 48), one of the youngest (Michele Fitzgerald, a travel consultant, 29) and one more, with Nick Wilson (shown here) as the newest member of the jury. Lacina and Stapley are both from Iowa, but Stapley is said to be the state’s only certified sex consultant. The final hour – including results and follow-up – will be done long-distance. Read more…

Best-bets for May 12: Let’s visit happier days

1) “The Happy Days of Garry Marshall,” 8-10 p.m. ABC. For two years, Marshall had TV’s two most-watched shows, “Happy Days” (shown here) and “Laverne and Shirley”; the next year, he had three of the top four, adding “Mork & Mindy.” He went on to movies and more, dying in 2016 at 81. Some of his top stars – Penny Marshall (his sister) and Robin Williams – have died, but others gather here, including Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Pam Dawber and (from “Pretty Woman”) Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. Read more…

Best-bets for May 11: Britton’s back, “Asian” compels

1) “9-1-1” season-finale, 8 p.m., Fox. The series started with terrific work from Connie Britton as Maddie, a passionate 9-1-1 operator. She left – Britton had only planned to do one season – but returns two years later for this guest shot. Maddie (shown here) was one of the victims, when a train plunged off the tracks; people race to the rescue, including her ex-lover Buck. Then the second “9-1-1: Lone Star” episode reruns at 9:01. Read more…

Best-bets for May 10: Mother’s Day (revised)

1) Mother’s Day movies, cable. Is this our revisionist view of motherhood? FX has “Bad Moms” (2016, shown here) at 8 and 10 p.m.; Lifetime includes “Mommy Group Murders” (2018) at 4 p.m. and “Mommy Is a Murderer” (2020) at 8. Moms come across much better in “I Remember Mama,” at 8 p.m. ET on Turner Classic Movies. Irene Dunne and three of her co-stars received Academy Award nominations. Read more…