Daily Best Bets

Best-bets for Feb. 18: Endless Amazon, headless Marie

1) “Frontline: Amazon Empire,” 9-11 p.m., PBS. Yes, Amazon (shown here) has had startling success. By 2013, it had 40 per cent of U.S, book sales – then gobbled other fields.; now it’s nearing a million employees worldwide. This balanced documentary also views the dark side. There’s “a strategy to monopolize the markets,” says anti-trust expert Stacy Mitchell. Dealing with Amazon “was like going out to dinner with the Godfather,” a publisher says. Other issues range from taxes to unions and working conditions. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 17: New champion, old George

1) “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” finale, 8-10 p.m., NBC. This started by throwing together 40 acts that had done well in “Got Talent” shows – 22 in “America’s Got Talent.” Now the field is down to 10 – six from “AGT,” four from elsewhere. There are three singers (one — Hans, shown here — adding accordion and dance) and three dance groups (one adding acrobatics), plus acrobats, a trapeze act, a dog act and a violinist. Last Monday, viewers had their final vote; tonight, one act is named “world champion.” Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 16: “Idol” leads new-show swarm

1) “American Idol” opener, 8-10 p.m., ABC. For almost a month, TV’s Sunday line-up has been in limbo. It was the Grammys … then the Super Bowl … then the Oscars. After waiting patiently, other shows now start their seasons. Leading the way is “Idol,” starting its 18th season overall and its third at ABC. Ryan Seacrest still hosts, with Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie and lots of eager people — including Nick Merico, shown here — auditioning. Tonight has auditions in Milwaukee, Savannah, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Sunriiver, Oregon. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 15: Great movie, nice continent

1) “Casablanca” (1942), 8 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies. The Oscar season has concluded now, but not on TCM. Its “31 Days of Oscar” – continuing through March 2 – peaks with Humphrey Bogart (shown here) and Ingrid Bergman in this bittersweet, black-and-white wartime drama. It won Academy Awards for best picture winner, director Michael Curtiz and its script. The American Film Institute puts it at No. 3 all-time, behind only “Citizen Kane” and “The Godfather.” Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 14: Charlie leads Valentine flurry

1) “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Valentine,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., ABC. Valentine’s Day turns out to be a cartoon event. Holiday specials are scattered throughout the day on PBS Kids, then reach ABC at night. One is a 1975 classic with the usual crises – no cards for Charlie Brown, no love for Lucy, a mix-up involving Sally and Linus. “A Charlie Brown Valentine” was created in 2002, after Charles Schulz’s death. Charlie(shown here with Sally) finally dares to call the little red-haired girl. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 13: Drama and comedy cohabit

1) “Grown-ish,” 8 p.m., Freeform. This well-crafted comedy-drama leans way to the drama side tonight. Nomi(Emily Arlook, at right with Yara Shahidi) takes the first ultrasound of her pregnancy; that’s followed by celebration … arguments … and life-changing questions. It’s a smart and serious episode, peppered by some comedy, with Sky in the midst of a serious debate: Is her new boyfriend black or white? Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 12: All-champ “Survivor”

1) “Survivor” opener, 8-10 p.m, CBS. For its 40th edition, “Survivor” is bringing back 20 champions (shown here) … including Sandra Diaz-Twine, who’s won it twice. This goes as far back to Ethan Zohn, who won the third edition, in 2001 … and is as recent as the 2018 winners, Nick Wilson and Wendell Holland. It also includes Rob and Amber Mariano: He proposed (and she said yes) in 2004, when they were the two finalists. She won; seven years later, he won. Now they have four daughters, ages 5 to 10. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 11: Jailhouse grit, Valentine fun

1) “For Life” debut, 10 p.m., ABC. Isaac Wright has a real comeback story: Convicted via New Jersey’s drug-kingpin law, he faced life imprisonment. As a paralegal, he helped 20 fellow inmates win freedom or reduced sentences … then won freedom for himself. Now he’s a defense lawyer and he’s the consultant for this solid series, which adjusts the story slightly: The protagonist (Nicholas Pinnock, shown here) becomes a lawyer, but remains in prison; with a progressive warden, he leaves with a guard and tether to argue cases. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 10: Elusive romance

1) “Bob (Hearts) Abishola,” 8:30 p.m., CBS. As Valentine week begins, this terrific show makes a quick detour. Last Monday, Bob was bitter when his mom resumed control of the company, with Abishola (her nurse, his loved one) as her assistant. He quit the job and the romance and had a drunken spree with a forklift. Now, cleaned up, he takes Abishola to dinner (shown here) … and is ready to say he loves her. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 9; Oscars … and much more

1) Academy Awards, 8 p.m. ET, ABC. For the second straight year, here’s no host. Last year was salvaged by music from Queen and Lady Gaga, but it was still dull and humorless. This year? The music is promising again, with nominated songs done by Elton John, Randy Newman, Chrissy Metz and the immensely talented Idina Menzel and Cynthia Erivo. Viewers will recognize some of the nominated films (“Joker,” “Ford v. Ferrari,: “Once Upon a Time in America,” shown here with Brad Pitt) and actors (Pitt, Tom Hanks, Renee Zellweger, Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino). Read more…