Stars of long-running hit series can do pretty much anything they want. Johnny Galecki moves from a sitcom about scientists on “The Big Bang Theory” to a cable series that uses real science to comic effect. On “SciJinks” (9:07 p.m., Science, TV-PG), the actor assembles a team of experts with a taste for practical jokes. They punk and prank unsuspecting strangers in ways that show off the principles of chemistry, physics and medicine.

Galecki isn’t the first TV star to promote science. “House” star Kal Penn hosted the Fox game show “Superhuman,” which showcased neuroscience by featuring contestants with remarkable memories and other mental skills. “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane produced a remake of the multipart science series “Cosmos,” made famous by the late Carl Sagan.

Science also airs the third season opener of “BattleBots” (8 p.m., TV-PG), seen last week on Discovery.

  • On a similar theme, “NOVA Wonders: Can We Build a Brain?” (8 p.m., PBS, TV-PG) visits scientists on the verge of creating artificial thinking machines. Is this a good thing?

Some have predicted that artificial intelligence will transform society unlike any change since the Industrial Revolution. We already share our cars, phones, bank accounts and doctor’s offices with intelligent machines and systems, and assistants like Siri and Alexa gather information about us and make profiles from our questions and web searches.

“NOVA Wonders” offers a scary look at programmers who are mapping the human brain in order to reverse-engineer that flesh and blood organ to build faster and more efficient devices that can learn, adapt and improve themselves.

  • Many experts interviewed predict a future where AI makes our lives better, where machines can do grunt work or diagnose illnesses at lightning speed. Others see a dark side a time not that far off when military drones start choosing targets on their own, independent of human oversight. You don’t have to be a fan of “The Terminator” to find that chilling.

Season finales

  • The owner of the bag of bones is revealed on “The Blacklist” (7 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
  • A prom date jilt drives Barry to extremes on “The Goldbergs” (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
  • Archie campaigns hard for his dad’s (Luke Perry) mayoral bid on “Riverdale” (7 p.m., CW, TV-14).
  • A rival may poach the podcast’s talent on “Alex, Inc.” (7:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
  • Jason covers up his concussion on “SEAL Team” (8:01 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
  • Jane Krakowski guest-stars as Gloria’s rival on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
  • A local party sparks contention on “American Housewife” (8:31 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
  • Kirkman’s announcement takes the world by surprise on “Designated Survivor” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14)
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Other highlights

  • Cookie and Lucious take a desperate step to save the company on “Empire” (7 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
  • A malpractice suit has Elliot doubting his abilities on “Code Black” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
  • Inside the Royal Wedding: Harry and Meghan” (9 p.m., NBC) anticipates the big event by interviewing celebrities. How special! Not to be confused with “Royal Wedding Watch” (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG
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Cult choice

An ordinary guy (Tom Hanks) falls for a mystery woman (Daryl Hannah) who turns out to be a mermaid in the 1984 comedy fantasy “Splash” (7:30 p.m., Pop).

Series notes

Easy money on “Survivor” (7 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... A dementia patient’s rape claims go unheeded on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14)


© 2018 United Feature Synd.