TV column for Saturday, Feb. 16


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Planet Earth: Dynasties” finale, 9 p.m. ET, BBC America and IFC,
9 p..m. ET/PT, AMC and Sundance; rerunning at 12:25 a.m. ET, BBC
America.

So you think you've
had tough days? Try this: It's 40 below zero and you're outside,
sheltering the baby under your legs. Your mate will be back in a few
weeks with some food; just wait.

That story was
beautifully told in the movie “March of the Penguins”; now it's
retold here, with extra crises. There are chicks that get lost ...
and ones that are kidnapped by chick-less adults. There's even a
cave-in ... leading to an heroic escape by one parent and then to a
rare intervention by filmmakers. Beautifully filmed, edited and
scored, this finale is the best chapter of a superb, five-week
series.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Ransom” season-opener, 8 p.m., CBS.

This Canadian series
is loosely based on two real-life hostage negotiators, Laurent
Combalbert and Marwan Mery. Now they have guest roles as themselves,
as th third season opens.

A man has been
killed and his widow is threatened. Eric (Luke Roberts) try to
negotiate a payoff.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: Basketball, 8 p.m. ET, TNT.

This is all-star
weekend for the pros. That peaks a 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday, with the
all-star game; tonight, we get some specials at 5 p.m. ET and then
the skills contests at 8.

There's the
slam-dunk challenge plus a three-point shooting contest filled with
the best. Previous champions Steph Curry and Devin Booker will be
there, plus Seth Curry (Steph's brother), who is the league's current
leader in three-point accuracy.

Other choices
include:

Olivia Newton-John
night, Lifetime. At 5:30 p.m., we see Newton-John star in “Grease”
(1978). Then a new movie about her life is at 8 p.m.; it reruns at
11:03, sandwiching a documentary about her at 10:03.

“America's Got
Talent: The Champions,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. In a rerun, the 10
finalists perform. That sets up Monday's finale, picking a winner.

“America's
Funniest Home Videos,” 8 and 9 p.m., ABC. The first rerun offers a
rare chance to see a camel grab a bag of snacks from a little girl's
hand. The second has Halloween mishaps.

“It's a Mad, Mad,
Mad, Mad World” (1963), 8 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies. Bigger
isn't always better, when it comes to comedy. This Stanley Kramer
movie is followed at 11 p.m. ET by Blake Edwards' “The Great Race”
(1965). Both have big budgets, sprawling stories and some laughs ...
but not as many as Edwards got in other movies, when he simply had
Peter Sellers in a funny situation.

“NCIS,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. Here's a rerun of the season-opener: It's been a month since
Vance was kidnapped. Now Gibbs is the acting director, while his
people search worldwide.

“20/20,” 10
p.m., ABC. After being demoted from Sundays to Saturdays, “The Alec
Baldwin Show” has now vanished entirely.

“Saturday Night
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. Don Cheadle has ranged from dead-serious
dramas (getting an Oscar nomination for “Hotel Rwanda”) to the
quick-talking comedy of his current “Black Monday.” Now he hosts,
with Gary Clark Jr. as the music guest.