TV column for Saturday, Nov. 15


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC.

Woody Harrelson has
been a dead-serious drama actor lately. He drew an Emmy nomination
for his brilliant “True Detective” work; the next “Hunger
Games” film – he's been in all three – opens Friday.

Still, Harrelson
started in comedy, as an Emmy-winner on “Cheers.” Now he hosts
“SNL” for the third time ... and the first time in 22 years;
Kendrick Lamar is the music guest.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Northpole,” 8-10 p.m., Hallmark.

For scattered
moments, this film looks and sounds glorious. Those are the moments
when we visit Santa's home town, a visual delight; or when “American
Idol” winner Candice Glover sings hymns.

For the rest of the
time ... well, it's a mostly OK story (little boy sparks Christmas),
before the plot takes an awful plunge. This is the sort of story that
would have crumbled instantly, if people had just answered questions.
We'll have to ignore that and enjoy the intermittent magic.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Missing” opener, 9 p.m. Starz, rerunning at 10.

We meet Tony (James
Nesbitt) at the bottom. He's drinking heavily and wandering this
French town,. showing a photo to strangers. When their son
disappeared eight years ago, we learn, Tony and his wife (Frances
O'Conner) went through different reactions.

This is the start of
an eight-week mini-series, bouncing between the original search and
the renewed one. Brilliantly acted, it dives to the edge of total
despair ... then grabs us in tonight's final minutes.

Other choices
include:

Football, all day.
The biggest game is in the afternoon, with top-ranked Mississippi
State visiting 5th-ranked Alabama.
Nighttime games include Auburn
(No. 3) at
Georgia (20)
at 7:15 p.m. on ESPN, Texas at Oklahoma State at 7:30 on Fo
x
and Florida State (No. 2) at Miami at 8 p.m. on ABC,
r

“Aaliyah: The
Princess of R&B,” 8-10 p.m., Lifetime. Before dying in a plane
crash at 22, Aaliyah packed in a lot of life. At 10, she sang on
“Star Search” and with Gladys Knight, her uncle's ex-wife. At 14,
she recorded a hit album; at 15, records (which she later disputed)
said she married R. Kelly. She had more hits – more than 50 million
of her albums have been sold worldwide – and she reportedly was a
straight-A student in Detroit's public schools. She's portrayed here
by Alexandra Shipp.

“The Lego Movie”
(2014), 8 p.m., HBO; or “On the Waterfront” (1954), 8 p.m. ET,
Turner Classic, Movies. These movies have approximately zero in
common except that they're beautifully made. “Lego” is bright and
bouncy; “Waterfront” is dark and deep, possibly the best-acted
film ever.

“Criminal Minds,”
9 p.m., CBS. Here's a rerun that see Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness)
re-visit her past as a computer hacker. Probing murders in San Jose,
she meets her ex-lover (Paulo Costanzo).

“Atlantis”
season-opener, 9 p.m., BBC America. The second season starts a year
after the first ended. With her father dead, Ariadne is the young
queen of a troubled land; she needs help from Jason, while Pasiphae
– her enemy, his mother – wants him dead.

“Beyond the
Headlines,” 10:01 and 11:02 p.m., Lifetime. After the Aaliyah
movie, here's another look at her life.