TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “The Sing-off” opener, 9-11 p.m., NBC.
This show offered three amiable seasons of a cappella music,
then died when producer Mark Burnett drew bigger ratings in the same slot for “The
Voice.” Now, after a year off, it’s back … this time with Burnett producing and
NBC wedging it into December, when other shows are resting.
That cramming – Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, through
Dec. 23 – is a plus. Seven episodes air in 15 days, going from 10 groups to a
winner. Returning are Nick Lachey as host and Ben Folds and Shawn Stockman as
judges, joined by Jewel. “Sing-off” has smart people, bright music, good
TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “The Great Christmas Light Fight”
debut, 9 p.m., ABC.
Who are these people who fill their yards with endless
lights and figures? Hollywood depicts them as bumbling zealots, but this
reality show finds them merely to be amiably odd.
There’s a guy who grew up in a small trailer, now using his
wealth to brighten his California estate. And a farm family, filling acres on a
garage-sale budget. And a retired firefighter and a guy who dresses as an elf.
All are upbeat; so, alas, is judge Michael Moloney, whose gushing makes this
seem too one-note.
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Six by Sondheim,” 9-10:30 p.m., HBO.
Stephen Sondheim is an astute analyst of musicals, including
the most important subject – the life and work of Stephen Sondheim. Now his
friend James Lapine has deftly weaved decades of interviews.
We get brief glimpses of Sondheim’s first 83 years – the coldness
of his mother, the warmth of his boyhood neighbor Oscar Hammerstein – and cascades
of ideas about songwriting. There are lots of clips, plus new mini-films by
other directors, re-staging three songs.
The “I’m Still Here” film is oddly unsettling, but “Opening
Doors” and “Send in the Clowns” have brilliant films. Also highlighted via
clips are three songs that typify Sondheim’s life – “Something’s Coming,” “Being
Alive” and “Sunday,” which builds to the appropriate final word: “Forever.”
Other choices include:
“The Voice,” 8 p.m., NBC. This is down to its final five,
with Adam Levine dominating. He has Will Champlin, James Wolpert and Tessanne
Chin. Christina Aguilera – whose Matthew Schuler was dumped last week – has only
Jacquie Lee; Blake Shelton has Cole Vosbury and CeeLo Green has no one.
“How I Met Your Mother,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Robin and
Barney are heading to their wedding weekend, when they learn a family secret.
Also, Lily urges Ted to face his lingering passion for Robin.
“Mike & Molly,” 9 p.m., CBS. The only new episode in
tonight’s comedy line-up finds Molly’s shoe-buying addiction creating money
“Sleepy Hollow,” 9 p.m., Fox. This rerun (following a new “Almost
Human”) has a great guest role for James Noble, who was the brilliant “Fringe”
“Bonnie & Clyde” conclusion, 9 p.m., History, Lifetime
and Arts & Entertainment. If you missed the first half, catch the rerun at
7 p.m.; then things peak: Savoring the attention, Bonnie wants bigger risks.
“Mom,” 9:30 p.m., CBS. In a funny rerun, Christy tries her
first date since being sober.
“Castle,” 10 p.m., ABC. In a rerun from last spring, Beckett
has stepped on a bomb and must remain still. Castle tries to distract her with
a discussion of who fell for the other one first.