Baby, baby

"Nature" kicks off its 34th season in "aw shucks" fashion with "Miracle Orphans," a look at people who give abandoned animals a chance at survival. Koalas, wallabies, fruit bats and sloths are among the adoptees or the members of coach on Noah's Ark. Part 2 airs next week. 7 p.m. TPT, Ch. 2

Cookie monster

Can "Empire" strike back? Expectations are great for the second season of this hit drama — and so is a guest star list that includes Chris Rock, Mariah Carey and Marisa Tomei. But the real draw remains Taraji P. Henson. Let's hope this Cookie hasn't gotten stale. 8 p.m. KMSP, Ch. 9

Familiar faces

"Modern Family," which returns this week, may be getting a bit creaky in its middle age, but it remains one of network TV's most well-crafted sitcoms. Yes, the characters tend to fall into the same ol' predictable patterns — but doesn't everyone in your real-life family do the same? The most significant change? A sudden growth spurt in Gloria and Jay's "baby." 8 p.m. KSTP, Ch. 5

Neal Justin