TV column for Sunday, April 22


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: Fox memories, 7-10
p.m., Fox.

In April of 1987, the Fox network
stepped gingerly into prime time. Some of its shows seemed ordinary
and disappeared; many didn't.

“Married With Children” – billed
as “the anti-'Cosby'” – was darkly perverse; “The Tracey
Ullman Show” had sketches, wit and cartoon Simpsons. Fox was best
when being different.

Tonight, it has key reruns – the
first “Married With Children” episode (a funny one) at 7 p.m.,
the 500th “Simpsons” (an OK one) at 7:30. Then “Fox's
25th Anniversary Special” focuses on “Married,”
“X-Files,” “In Living Color,” “Beverly Hills, 90210,”
“That '70s Show” and, of course, “American Idol.”

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Firelight,”
9:01-11 p.m., ABC.

We meet Caroline in mid-crisis –
fleeing from cops, trying to keep up with a bad boyfriend.

Soon, she's in a youth correctional
facility, surrounded by much anger and two decent people – a
counselor (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and an older inmate. “Firelight”
tends to be predictable, but is in the “Hallmark Hall of Fame”
tradition: Skillfully written, directed and acted, it has a good
heart.

WEEKEND'S,MUST-SEE: “Veep” debut,
10 p.m., HBO.

As vice-president, Selena (Julia
Louis-Dreyfus) has a tattered life. The president ignores her, others
scheme and an aide (Tony Hale) keeps whispering in her ear.

This is the first half of a smart
comedy duo. At 10:30 p.m., “Girls” has its second episode, one
that's sexually explicit and terribly witty.

Other choices include:

– “Heaven's Rain,” 7 p.m., GMC;
repeats at 9 and 11 p.m., plus 9 p.m. Monday. Brooks Douglass was 16
when robbers killed his parents and left him and his sister for dead.
He would go on to be an Oklahoma state senator and now to co-write
and co-star in this film, which was well-made on a tight,
independent-film budget. Mike Vogel (“Pan Am,” “The Help”) is
likable as Douglass – who does a solid job portraying his own
father. The real gem is Taryn Manning's superb work as his sister.

– “Once Upon a Time,” 8 p.m.,
ABC. David wants to apologize and reconcile with Mary Margaret.
Viewers will root for them, because in th other world they are Prince
Charming and Snow White.

– “Space Shuttle: The Final
Countdown,” 8-10 p.m., Smithsonian. The plan seemed impossible –
build a four-million-pound behemoth that was re-usable. “I thought,
'There's no way anything that big would ever get off the planet,”
one man recalls. It did, often. Rich in first-person accounts, this
documentary traces 30 years of the shuttles, including mistakes,
tragedies and triumphs.

– “Masterpiece Classic,” 9-10:30
p.m., PBS (check local listings); concludes next week. Beautiful and
maddening, “Birdsong” gives us two attractive and stoic people.
One is an upper-class Englishman, the other is a married French
woman; both are attractive, neither emotes. Their relationship is
against the fierce backdrop of his World War I duty. “Birdsong”
is lyrical, lovely and extremely remote.

– “The Good Wife,” 9 p.m., CBS. A
week before the season finale, Alicia defends a judge who faces
charges from his prosecutor days. Also, Cary makes a career decision
and Kalinda faces repercussions from the investigation by Agent
Delaney.

– “NYC 22,” 10 p.m., CBS. After a
fairly good opener, this Robert De Niro production slips. A couple of
stories are OK, but the third has a rap star (played by rapper Sticky
Fingaz) shadowing the cops; it's the sort of stretch a show does in
it fifth year, not its second episode.

– “The Real Housewives of New
Jersey” season-opener, 10 p.m., Bravo. There's already lots of
“Jersey Shore” today (with reruns on MTV from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.),
but now these people also trek to the Jersey shore to eat, drink and
(often) argue. Buried in financial problems, Teresa Giudice wrote a
cookbook that included some mild digs about her friends and family;
now there are noisy confrontations.