Critic’s picks: Television


Last Tango in Halifax

8 p.m., Channel 2

The premise sounds as hackneyed as a Geritol ad: Two widowed 70-somethings reconnecting on Facebook after 60 years. But this six-part series is much more interesting than you might expect. Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi are fresh as the new lovers of a very, very certain age, and the stories of their adult children and their grandchildren are poignant.


The World Before Her10 p.m., Channel 2

This installment of PBS’s “POV” looks at life for women in India by studying two very different paths. Filmmaker Nisha Pahuja goes behind the scenes of a monthlong beauty boot camp for the Miss India pageant and she visits a fundamentalist Hindu training camp for girls.


The Mindy Project 9:30 p.m., Fox

Mindy Kaling’s sitcom returns for a second season tonight, and my fingers are crossed. The show was perpetually on the verge of being good, and maybe Kaling and her writers have found the key over the summer. The premiere guest stars James Franco, which could be funny or awful. His character’s name is Dr. Paul Leotard. Coming later in the season: Tim Olyphant and Adam Pally.


The X Factor 8 p.m., Fox


If you feel that the world can never be too crowded with singing contests, then this is your era. The show is back for more auditions and more judges panel drama from Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio, whoever she is. They’re looking for singers 12 years old or over, both solo artists and vocal groups.


Valerie’s Story: A Meredith Vieira Special 10 p.m., NBC

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Nice title-bombing, Meredith Vieira. In this hour, she talks to Valerie Harper, who announced in March that she has a rare form of brain cancer and that she had only about three months to live. Still going strong six months later, and starring on the next season of “Dancing With the Stars,” Harper has had a remarkable turnaround. Rhoda forever.


Shark Tank 9 p.m., ABC

This often entertaining series returns for a fifth season, as aspiring entrepreneurs make their pitches to a panel of investors, a.k.a. sharks. Over the years, “Shark Tank” has grown in popularity. Panelists Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymon John, and Kevin O’Leary are scheduled to return. Guest sharks will include Steve Tisch and John Paul


It Happened One Night 8 p.m., TCM

This Frank Capra classic from 1934 won Oscars in five major categories: best actor, best actress, best picture, best screenplay, and best director. The only other movies that has happened to are “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable star as a spoiled heiress and a roguish newspaper reporter who fall in love after some screwball adventures.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.