SERIES PREMIERE: “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (ABC at 8 p.m.) is the Joss Whedon comic book series based on the “Avengers” characters. Critic Hank Stuever says the show “launches with a plucky, adventuresome and remarkably non-pretentious pilot episode, but if you haven’t been reading Marvel Comics lately (or at all — Stan Lee first dreamed up a S.H.I.E.L.D. story line in 1965), then the show can feel somewhat exclusionary and, frankly, a little too cornball and cutesy about its own geekiness.”
RETURNING SHOW: “NCIS” (CBS at 8): Season 11 kicks off at a splashy black-tie event in Washington, but quickly goes awry when an explosion at the party results in a casualty, and DiNozzo and McGee must investigate the case as civilians.
RETURNING SHOW: “NCIS: Los Angeles” (CBS at 9): The fifth season opens with Sam and Deeks recovering from their traumatic torture as the team keeps busy looking for stolen nuclear weapons.
SERIES PREMIERE: “Trophy Wife” (ABC at 9:30), a comedy about a party girl (Malin Akerman) who marries a guy (Bradley Whitford) with two ex-wives and three kids. Stuever says it’s “the only new sitcom that clears the double hurdles of cast chemistry and story pacing in the pilot episode . . . ‘Trophy Wife’ is no ‘Modern Family,’ but it’s as close as we’ll hope to see this season.”
SERIES PREMIERE: “Lucky 7” (ABC at 10), the story of a group of gas station employees who win the lottery. Stuever says: “I’m immediately impressed with ‘Lucky 7’s’ ensemble cast and how quickly the story drew me in and hinted at some further mysteries. Part of that has to do with my relief at watching any drama that isn’t a crime procedural, yet ‘Lucky 7’ also has some moral rumination and complexity to it.”
RETURNING SHOW: “Person of Interest” (CBS at 10): The Machine has a mind of its own as Season 3 begins, giving Finch “irrelevant” numbers of people who could be in danger.
RETURNING SHOW: “Chicago Fire” (NBC at 10): The Dick Wolf-produced drama is back for a second season as Severide realizes that after a string of fires, he’s being targeted by an arsonist.
Musical guest Cher is on “The Late Show With David Letterman” (CBS at 11:35), along with actress Lizzy Caplan.
“The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” (NBC at 11:35) hosts actress Olivia Wilde, actor Adam Scott and singer Cher Lloyd.
Justin Timberlake performs a special concert on Hollywood Boulevard on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC at 11:35).
— Emily Yahr