TV best-bets for Sunday, March 17


1) “Tricky Dick”
or “Billions,” 9 p.m., CNN or Showtime. Here are two sweeping
stories of smart schemers, fighting the odds; one is true, one isn't,
both are fascinating. On CNN, we see Richard Nixon leap from Whittier
College – he was accepted to Harvard, but couldn't afford it – to
Washington. This opener (at 9 p.m. and midnight ET, barring breaking
news) ends with him almost being president in 1960. On Showtime,
Rhoades has been fired as U.S. attorney; the season-opener has him
use smarts (and a parking pass) for leverage.

2) “NCIS: Los
Angeles,” 9 p.m., CBS. For nine years, Kensi (Daniela Ruah) and
Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) have been saving the world and realizing
(gradually) that they're both attractive and single. Now it's time
for their wedding. A villain, Anatoli Kirkin, shows up, reviving a
favorite TV notion: Buffy the vampire slayer once karate-kicked bad
guys in her prom dress; now Kensi can do it in a wedding dress.

3) Basketball, CBS.
Here's a frantic stretch: At 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS has the Big Ten
tournament finals. At 6 – shortly after the game ends, barring an
overtime – it has the announcement of the brackets for the NCAA
tourney. Indeed, there might be last-minute changes, caused by that
tourney or others. There are also finals for the Ivy League (noon ET,
ESPN2), SEC (1 p.m, ESPN), Atlantic 10 (1 p.m., CBS), Sunbelt (2
p.m., ESPN2 and American Athletic (3 p.m., ESPN).

4) “Supergirl,”
8 p.m., CW. It was 32 years ago that Jon Cryer played Lenny Luthor in
“Superman IV.” His uncle Lex considered him incompetent, but
Lenny did help create the second Nuclear Man, which very nearly
destroyed Superman and the Statue of Liberty. Now Cryer gets a major
promotion: He plays Lex himself – furloughed from prison, near
death and begging his sister to help find a cure.

5) “The Quiet
Man,” 8 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies. A few channels noticed this
is St. Patrick's Day. Syfy has 20 hours of evil-leprechaun movies
.... Many PBS stations, wrapping their pledge drives, have Irish
specials ....TCM has a full day of Irish films, peaking with a boxer
(John Wayne) returning to his homeland. It was nominated for the
best-picture Oscar and John Ford won for best director.

-- Mike Hughes, TV
America