PBS devotes three nights and six hours to “The Story of China” (7 p.m. and 8 p.m.).
Host and historian Michael Wood has been traveling for more than three decades to the fast-changing country, and he insists that understanding China’s past is the key to comprehending the culture and economy that will have a crucial impact on the unfolding 21st century.
“The Story of China” offers a survey course in the dynasties, poets, painters and warriors that have defined China since the era of the Shang Dynasty, some 1,500 years before the Christian era.
Any documentary effort, even one six hours long, will seem like only scratching the surface of a story 4,000 years in the making. For that reason, the series has created a companion website www.pbs.org/storyofchina offering behind-the-scenes content, a timeline of China’s dynasties and even a game to learn the Shang language.
- “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” (9 p.m., HBO, TV-PG) reports on the decline of bullfighting in Spain. This extreme sport was once seen as a high art and revered in Spanish culture and celebrated by writers including Ernest Hemingway. But its ritualized blood sport has increasingly alienated the country’s young, who see little to champion or celebrate.
- The desert island comedy “Wrecked” (9 p.m., TBS, TV-14) returns for a second season. For the uninitiated, “Wrecked” pretty much plays “Lost” for laughs in the way that “Lost” turned “Gilligan’s Island” into a cosmic head-scratcher.
While “Gilligan’s Island” was derided as dumb escapism, it offered a neat microcosm of mid-century American society. Just singing the theme song gave you a rundown of class structure from movie stars and millionaires to “the rest.”
In contrast, the folks on “Wrecked” are pretty much cut from the same clueless cloth. Played by a large ensemble cast of comedians, they’re often seen whining about lost iPads and missing detergent. This season they contend with pirates.
- The Bordelon siblings move on as the melodrama “Queen Sugar” (9 p.m., OWN) enters its second season.
- The documentary “Cast From the Storm” (8 p.m., Fuse) looks at an Australian program for refugees.
- TV-themed DVDs available today include “Under the Dome: The Complete Series.”
- Auditions continue on “America’s Got Talent” (7 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
- A visiting puppy upsets Martin on “Downward Dog” (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
- Some things can’t be unseen after Liv dines on the brains of Ravi’s old friend on “iZombie” (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).
- Albert Einstein (Geoffrey Rush) becomes accustomed to life in America in the two-hour finale of the miniseries “Genius” (8 p.m., National Geographic, TV-14).
- Pride protects a child witness on “NCIS: New Orleans” (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
- “World of Dance” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) enters the duels phase.
- “Frontline” (9 p.m., PBS, r, TV-PG) looks at the dubious marketing of vitamins and supplements.
Michael Stuhlbarg stars in the dark 2009 comedy “A Serious Man” (7 p.m., Cinemax), a Coen Brothers take on the Book of Job set in Minnesota in the late 1960s. Stuhlbarg appears in this season of “Fargo,” concluding tomorrow night.
A vet chimes in on “NCIS” (7 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) ... More questions than answers on “Lethal Weapon” (7 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14) ... Mirror Master arrives on “The Flash” (7 p.m., CW, r, TV-PG) ... Baby love on “The Middle” (7:30 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG).
A setback revisited on “Bull” (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14) ... A romance wilts on “The Mick” (8 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14) ... On two helpings of “blackish” (ABC, r), career day (8 p.m., TV-PG), jury duty (8:30 p.m., TV-14) ... Eric Roberts guest-stars on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (8:30 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14) ... More to love on “American Housewife” (9 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG) ... Jessica plays peacemaker on “Fresh Off the Boat” (9:30 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG).
2 Chainz is booked on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” (10 p.m., Comedy Central) ... Elle Fanning, Ally Maki and James Acaster appear on “Conan” (10 p.m., TBS) ... Jimmy Fallon welcomes Amy Poehler, Zendaya, Imagine Dragons and Dweezil Zappa on “The Tonight Show” (10:35 p.m., NBC).