Deconstruction: Science of the Backyard (Science Channel, 9-10 p.m.): How does a lawnmower work, and why is compost important? This mildly entertaining how-to for the not-so-handy gives the scientific answers to your most embarrassingly naïve questions.
Wildfire (ABC Family, 8-10 p.m.): The season première of this predictable yet satisfying family drama follows the careening fortunes of the Ritter family and their horse farm. As an unscrupulous businessman tries to take over the farm (and marry the pretty owner), a young girl is hired by the foreman straight out of the juvenile corrections' equine training program. Veteran performer Dennis Weaver stars.
Rescue Me (FX, 10-11 p.m.): Nobody does frustrated rage better than Denis Leary. In the Season 2 opener, firefighter Tommy Gavin (Leary) sinks lower into alcoholism because his wife has left with the kids. His halfhearted attempts to clean up his act fool no one. The writing is raw and often splendid, the acting always electrifying, the stories humane and profoundly moral. Writer Leary knows that reclamation is costly, and he knows how to earn the sentiments he evokes.
Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk (PBS, 9-11 p.m.): The middle class used to be open to kids with a high school diploma, but no longer. A young person now requires a college education. But do colleges measure up to their responsibilities? This disquieting documentary investigates university education outside the Ivy League. But too much credence is given to too few teachers.