Asurprise party draws an A-list crowd on "Nash ville" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG), including music stars Dan Auerbach (Black Keys), Vince Gill, Pam Tillis, Kip Moore and Kate York.
To my mind, the best female singer on this great show isn't Rayna (Connie Britton) or her bratty rival, Juliette (Hayden Panettiere), but the young Scarlett (Clare Bowen), whose duets with Gunnar (Sam Palladio) have been moving and memorable alternatives to the arena anthems of the show's big stars.
Melodramas often create characters you love, or love to hate, but Scarlett brings out a protective instinct in her Uncle Deacon (Charles Esten) and her songwriting partner, Gunnar, as well as the audience. Viewers may be surprised that Scarlett, the naive and vulnerable Mississippi talent, is played by an Australian actress.
There's no guarantee that "Nashville" will be renewed for a second season. But I'm pretty confident that Rayna and Juliette will be rivals again, with Britton and Panettiere vying for best actress honors at the Emmys. And if I had to choose, I'd opt for Panettiere. Juliette hasn't always been likable, but she's been
intense and real, and above all, her character has grown.
---Boston native Donnie Wahlberg, who plays a New York cop on "Blue Bloods,"
returns to his hometown to produce and narrate "Boston's Finest" (9 p.m., TNT, TV-14). This documentary series follows members of the police department's anti-gang squad as they make their rounds observing and breaking up drug deals and battering down doors of homes not far from their own.
"Finest" has a more cinematic flair than "Cops," a fact that owes much to the advancement of digital camera technology over the past two decades. It also lacks that long-running series' almost slapstick approach to the low lives of the criminal class. Wahlberg's cops have a certain Jack Webb, "just the facts" intensity about them.
---Every episode of the new series "Stranded" (10 p.m., Syfy) features the self-recorded footage of three would-be ghost hunters in locations with a reputation for hauntings. The sites have also been equipped with undetectable security cameras to follow the participants without their knowledge. So, unlike reality shows where people pretend to be survivors while actually standing in front of a camera crew, the folks on this "Paranormal Activity"-inspired venture are getting scared witless all by themselves. Don't be surprised when participants say "Did you hear that?" with great frequency.
---Deadshot returns on "Arrow" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---A hip-hop star tries to beat a domestic violence rap on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---Mitchell and Cam are best men in the worst way on "Modern Family" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Ivory poaching puts pachyderms in peril on "Battle for Ele- phants" (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG).
---Careful viewers of the mini-
series "Parade's End" (9 p.m. and 10 p.m., HBO, TV-MA) will notice two "Boardwalk Empire" regulars, Stephen Graham and Jack Huston, in the cast.
---Killing more than time at the poker table on "CSI" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Treat Williams guest stars as Severide's father on "Chicago Fire" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---An agent's personal turmoil threatens the KGB's Washington cell on "The Americans" (10 p.m., FX, TV-MA).
---"Duck Dynasty" (10 p.m., A&E, TV-PG) returns for a third season of contrived shenanigans.
A hack writer (Joseph Cotten) follows a disgraced friend (Orson Welles) from the top of a Ferris wheel to the sewers of Vienna in the dazzling 1949 mystery "The Third Man" (10 p.m., TCM).
---New alliances form on "Survi vor" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).
---Alex's motorcycle memories prove irksome on "Whitney" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---A coerced confession on "The Middle" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---An awkward divorce party on "Guys With Kids" (8:30 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
---A rustic getaway on "The Neighbors" (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Philadelphia fright on "Crim- inal Minds" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Prometheus takes on zombies on "Supernatural" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---The death of a loved one on "Suburgatory" (9:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---R.J. Cutler is scheduled on "The Daily Show With Jon Stew art" (11 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Johnny Galecki and the Miz appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).
---Eli Roth, Brad Wollack, Morgan Murphy and Matt Braunger are booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).
---Tina Fey, Jesse Tyler Ferg-
uson and Solange appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes David
Duchovny, J.B. Smoove and Father John Misty on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Stanley Tucci and Gold Fields appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC).
---Christian Slater and Jason Aldean visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Tom Lennon and Mike Tyson on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.