Weekly Previews

Week’s top-10 for June 21: Debuts and finales cross paths

1) “Making It” season-opener, 8 p.m. Thursday, NBC. It’s been a long wait for one of TV’s best competition shows. The first two seasons brought Emmy nominations for its hosts (Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, shown here) and a Television Critics Association nomination for best reality show. Then came an 18-month shutdown. But now it’s back, with likable contestants (taxidermist, muralist, etc.) making projects that have personal links. “So many tears in episode one,” Poehler says. And quite a few laughs. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for June 14: Strong dramas begin, end

1) “The Republic of Sarah” debut, 9 p.m. today, CW. In this New Hampshire town, nestled against the Canadian border, life is quiet and autumn is gorgeous. Then heavy equipment rolls in; everything will change. The real plot doesn’t click in until the second half of this hour; “Republic” toys with our first assumptions about Sarah and others. We won’t spoil any surprises; just expect some neat twists. The villains here are absurdly overdrawn, but Sarah (newcomer Stella Baker, shown here) is immensely likable. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for June 7: “Bachelorette” starts, dramas end

1) “The Bachelorette” opener, 8-10 p.m. today, ABC. Now the annual summer leaders are in place – “Bachelorette” on Mondays, “America’s Got Talent” on Tuesdays. Last year, “Bachelorette” was delayed until fall and did well; this year, it gets both – Katie Thurston (shown here) now, Michelle Young in September. Thurston, 30, is older than at least 20 of the 30 men she’ll meet. They range from a deputy district attorney to two athletes and a zipper sales manager. Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristow host. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for May 31: Busy start to summer season

1) “America’s Got Talent” opener, 8-10 p.m. Tuesday, NBC. We’re in the summer season now – a time when “AGT” dominates the ratings. It slipped a bit last year, with remote performances; now it returns to onstage auditions … and Simon Cowell (shown here) returns after an injury. At first, traditional acts kept winning; five of the first six champions were singers, alongside one ventriloquist. Since then, however, the winners have included only two singers, plus two more ventriloquists, a magician, a dancer, a dog act and, last year, a spoken-word poet. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for May 24: music, music, music

1) “The Voice” finale, 8-10 p.m. today and Tuesday, NBC. This will revolve around Blake Shelton – as life often does. He has two of the five finalists, Jordan Matthew Young (shown here) and Cam Anthony. (The others are Victor Solomon, Rachel Mac and Kenzie Wheeler.) His fiancee Gwen Stefani will be there, singing with Saweetie; so will his friend Adam Levine, with Maroon 5. Other performers Tuesday: Justin Bieber, Thomas Rhett, OneRepublic, Kelsea Ballerini, Snoop Dogg, Ben Platt and Lauren Daigle. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for May 17: finale flurry and pop-music overload

1) “American Idol” finale (ABC) or “Billboard Music Awards” (NBC), both at 8 p.m. Sunday. To complicate our lives, two pop-music events are simultaneous. “Idol” is down to its final three now and is ready to choose a champion. Billboard has Nick Jonas hosting and Pink and The Weeknd performing. Drake (shown here) – who has had nine No. 1 singles – gets the artist-of-the-decade award. He and Weeknd are up for artist of the year, alongside Taylor Swift, Pop Smoke and Juice Wrld. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for May 10: “Mom” leads flood of finales

1) “Mom” series finale, 9 p.m Thursday., CBS. At times, this has been TV’s best comedy, a dandy blend of quiet emotion (as recovering alcoholics cope with life) and loud humor. The latter part is propelled by by Bonnie’s unapologetic adventures. Allison Janney (shown here with William Fichtner) has mastered the role, winning two Emmys and three more nominations – to go with four Emmys and an Oscar elsewhere. Now some news gives Bonnie a new outlook on sobriety. And Jill and Andy, now re-connected, take a big step. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for May 3: big changes on Monday, Friday

1) “The Voice” (shown here), 8-10 p.m. today, NBC. In a sudden surprise, this ratings-leader has the night to itself. It had been competing with “American Idol,” and winning by 3-2 margins. (“Voice” ratings have dropped 10 percent this year, but “Idol” on Monday is down 27 percent; in the 18-49 age groups, the drops are steeper.) Now “Idol” has been pulled from Monday; it’s Sundays-only, concluding May 23. Tonight, with 16 of its final 17 chosen, “Voice” will pause to review the season and the 19 previous seasons. Read more…

Week’s top 10 for April 26: TV’s eternal classics

1) “Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days,” 8-10 p.m. today, ABC. The week starts and ends with eternal concepts. First, “Sesame” (shown here), which began 51-and-a-half years ago. It soared via TV savvy – clever songs, fun graphics, crisp editing and (especially) Muppets. But this special will focus strongly on the serious side – from a 1992 attempt (which was scrapped) to address divorce to the current look at racial justice. Guests include Anthony Fauci, Jill Biden, Stevie Wonder, Whoopi Goldberg and more. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for April 19: Earth Day is strong; Oscar night is weak

1) Academy Awards, 8 p.m. ET Sunday, ABC. For the third straight year, the Oscars will go without a host … and might pay little attention to the songs. That can be disastrous: Humor and music are key, when many winners give dreary speeches (thanking agents and such) and many viewers haven’t seen the films. Nominated for best picture are “Promising Young Woman” (shown here with Carey Mulligan), “Mank,” “Minari,” “Nomadland,” “Trial of the Chicago 7,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “The Father” and “Sound of Metal.” Read more…