What's On: 'America's Got Talent,' 'World of Dance' Jump-Start Summer TV; Finales of 'Americans,' 'Prison Break,' New Season of 'House of Cards'
America's Got Talent (8/7c, NBC): Hope you enjoyed the relative quiet of the holiday weekend, because TV is back with a vengeance, wasting no time in launching what used to be the "off season," with a premiere for every finale. The most noise will be generated by summer TV's biggest hit competition series, the variety sideshow now hosted by Tyra Banks after Nick Cannon exited NBC in a huff last year. Simon Cowell again heads the judges' table.
World of Dance (10/9c, NBC): Talent is joined by yet another talent competition, with executive producer and head cheerleader Jennifer Lopez judging top dance acts of all types—from solo performers to boisterous dance crews, representing all ages (including a junior division)—alongside Dancing With the Stars refugee Derek Hough and Ne-Yo. A typical response: "She just wiped her head with her feet!" Hugs and tears are common as the panel celebrates new and established dancers competing for a $1 million prize in the final round, 10 weeks from now.
House of Cards (streaming on Netflix): Sorry, Francis Underwood, your outrageous antics seem almost tame compared with real-life current events in the White House these days. But as the fifth season ensues, with President Underwood (Kevin Spacey) running for re-election with his Lady Macbeth first lady Claire (Robin Wright) as running mate, expect them to take no prisoners in their quest to retain West Wing power.
Downward Dog (8/7c, ABC): This is the episode where Martin (the droopy dog played by Ned) finally thinks aloud what we knew from the start: "I'm only human." How can you not adore a pooch who muses of his relationship with owner Nan (Allison Tolman), "I think the gradual lowering of expectations is possibly the highest form of love." This endearing comedy takes a pivotal turn when Nan brings her pet to work, and Martin feels betrayed upon discovering Nan has an entire other world of "playmates." Which may explain why he cheats on her, cozying up to her awful boss, Kevin (Barry Rothbart)—who, as luck would have it, is terrified of dogs.
The Americans (10/9c, FX): TV’s best spy drama ends its fifth, and next to last, season with Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) in soul-searching mode as they debate going back home to Russia and the toll it would take on their children. Their ambivalence must be contagious, because FBI neighbor Stan (Noah Emmerich) is also expressing disillusion with his career. Lots of emotional ticking bombs here.
Inside Tuesday TV: Highlights of a very busy night: Sarah Silverman returns to stand-up in the Netflix special A Speck of Dust, reliving a nearly fatal throat surgery while riffing on far funnier subjects. ...TNT's Animal Kingdom (9/8c) returns for a second season, with the crooked Codys once again turning on Smurf (Ellen Barkin) after another heist goes awry. … There will be casualties in the season finale of Fox's Prison Break reboot (9/8c), depicting the "ultimate showdown" between our heroes and Poseidon. … In a new chapter of National Geographic Channel's Genius (9/8c), personal indiscretions threaten to eclipse Einstein's (Johnny Flynn) theory of general relativity. … MTV resurrects the gross-out competition series Fear Factor (10/9c), with Ludacris as host. … Real-life NCIS agents relive some of their most challenging cases on CBS's 48 Hours: NCIS (10/9), including the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and the hacking of the Navy's Smart Web Move database, containing the records of 220,000 enlistees.