TV column for Thursday, March 22


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE : “Awake,” 10
p.m., NBC.

Here's a fresh twist on this terrific
series, which finds a cop envisioning two worlds, only one of them
(he's not sure which) real.

Now he meets his son's former
babysitter (superbly played by Brianna Brown, who was Lisa Niles on
“General Hospital”); she's crumbling in one, thriving in the
other. The contrast has a deep impact.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Missing,” 8
p.m., ABC.

Last week's powerhouse episode saw a
suburban widow (Ashley Judd) rush to Europe to find her kidnapped
son. We eventually learn what he didn't know: She's a former CIA
agent, tough and talented.

She needs to be. The opener saw her
surviving fierce fights, then plunging into a river after a gunshot.

That leads to the show's flaws:
“Missing” makes her almost absurdly unbeatable, forever topping
impossible odds. It's also serialized, keeping us hanging for 10
weeks.

Still, it has great action, strong
emotion, European settings and perfect performances by Judd and
others, including Cliff Curtis as the CIA bureau chief, scrambling to
keep up.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: Basketball, 7
p.m. CBS; 7:15 p.m., TBS.

The NCAA tournament is down to 16
teams, with a pair of doubleheaders tonight and two more Friday.

CBS starts with Syracuse and Wisconsin
(tip-off at 7:15) and follows with Cincinnati and Ohio State at about
9:45. TBS has Louisville-Michigan State (7:47 p.m.), then
Marquette-Florida (about 10:17).

Other choices include:

– “American Idol,” 8 p.m., Fox.
Last week, two singers were dumped – Shannon Magrane by viewers,
Jermaine Jones for failing to report arrests. That brings the top 10,
all of them making the tour. Now (barring a judges' save), that goes
to nine. Also, there will be songs by Haley Reinhart (who finished
third last year) and Lana Del Ray (whose “Saturday Night Live”
performance drew criticism).

– “Touch,” 9 p.m, Fox. An earnest
widower (Kiefer Sutherland) realizes his mute son is passing on
messages that connect the world. But how do you interpret them?
Tonight, in a fairly good hour, a pawn-shop robbery links to a young
Moscow magician, a visitor from India, a mobster and more.

– “Grey's Anatomy,” 9 p.m., ABC.
Here's the rerun of a superb episode in which a weary Meredith dreams
of an alternate world in which her mom is healthy and supportive.
That brings back Kate Walsh, Emmy-nominee Kate Burton and more.

– “Project Runway,” 9 p.m.,
Lifetime. In last week's episode (rerunning at 8 p.m.), we saw the
three finalists – Michael Costello, Mondo Guerra and Austin
Scarlett – preparing. Tonight, they have their fashion shows and
“Runway” picks a winner.

– “Up All Night,” 9:30 p.m., NBC.
Work becomes more complicated for Reagan when her husband gets a
segment on the TV show she produces. Also, Henry Winkler guests as
Ava's dad.

– “Private Practice,” 10:02 p.m.,
ABC. In a change, ABC is rerunning the episode in which Sam finds his
sister (the gifted Anika Noni Rose) in jail, heavily medicated and
near-catatonic).