What to Watch: Thurs, November 1

Check out the British crime drama Vera, about a hard-drinking, brutally honest Northumbrian cop who solves particularly grim cases

Vera (New Series)
9 p.m., KCTS
This British crime series (based on the novels of Ann Cleeves) stars Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope, a hard-drinking, brutally honest Northumbrian cop who, along with her beleaguered young sergeant (David Leon), takes aim at particularly grim crimes. Case-in-point: the premiere concerns a teenage boy found strangled in a bathtub strewn with flowers.

Beauty and the Beast
6 p.m. & 9 p.m., Showcase; 9 p.m., The CW
Cat and Tess investigate the murder of a teenager, which may be linked to the boy’s secret romance with a club-owner’s daughter. Meanwhile, Silverfox offers Cat a tempting deal: he’ll tell her the truth about her mother if she gives up Vincent.

The Big Bang Theory
8 p.m., CTV & CBS
Sheldon’s relationship with Stephen Hawking is threatened over a game of “Words With Friends.” Meanwhile, Penny secretly enrolls in a class at the local college.

The 46th Annual CMA Awards
8 p.m., ABC
Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, The Band Perry and other country acts perform at this three-hour awards ceremony hosted (for the fifth time) by Brad Paisley at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

Joanna Lumley’s Greek Odyssey (New Series)
8 p.m., Knowledge
It may seem like an absolutely fabulous holiday, but AbFab’s Joanna Lumley is actually hard at work as she travels sun-drenched Greece, exploring ancient history and its enduring influence. In this episode, she visits with some marble cutters who work with the same tools their ancestors did thousands of years ago.

Nissan GT Academy (New Series)
8:30 p.m., Spike
Nissan and PlayStation track down the top five Gran Turismo 5 gamers, taking them out of their basements and putting them behind the wheel to see which one can qualify to become a professional racecar driver.