TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Raiders of the
Lost Ark” (1981), 7 p.m., Spike.
On a night overstuffed with reality,
cable offers scripted fun. That's led by this classic and its sequel.
George Lucas created “Raiders,”
giving the hero the first name of his boyhood dog (Indiana). Tom
Selleck was cast, but a TV deal intervened; Lucas ended up with
people from his “Star Wars” films – actor Harrison Ford, writer
Lawrence Kasdan, composer John Williams. Steven Spielberg directed,
making “Raiders” a wonderful swirl of action, adventure and
TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Shark Tank”
season-finale, 8 and 9 p.m., ABC.
The first hour shows how different
entrepreneurs can be. One man is a self-described geek, doing
made-to-order furniture; two women use their Army and West Point
backgrounds to inspire jewelry. Other proposals range from a luggage
pick-up service to re-imagining scones.
Then the second hour adds a whimsical
bit: Dr. Doofenshmirtz – the villain from the “Phineas and Ferb”
cartoon – pushes his latest evil invention.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Great
Performances,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
Maybe this is appropriate: CBS has just
canceled “Vegas,” set in 1960s Las Vegas. Now – in exactly the
same time slot – PBS inserts an opera set in 1960 Vegas.
Verdi's “Rigoletto,” based on a
Victor Hugo play, was set four centuries ago; now it has a new time
and place. Director Michael Mayer (a Tony-winner for “Spring
Awakening”) gives it a wonderfully brash, early-Vegas look;
Rigoletto is a comedian whose sweet daughter is loved by a casino
Other choices include:
– “Home Alone” (1990) and “Home
Alone 2” (1992), 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., ABC Family. The same lad
(Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally abandoned twice – yes, his
parents are sheepish – and out-thinks some dim crooks. The sequel
is OK; the original neatly mixes big sight gags and small bits of
– Real-life overload, all night, NBC,
CBS and ABC. There are still six days left in the TV season, but you
can't prove that by these networks; none has a scripted show. NBC has
two hours of “Dateline” and one of “Rock Center”; ABC has two
“Shark Tank” and “20/20.” Even CBS – the steadiest Friday
force – has two hours of “Undercover Boss” and (in the “Blue
Bloods” spot) one of “48 Hours.”
– “Nikita” season-finale, 8 p.m.,
CW. Amanda's scheme could force Nikita to choose between saving
Michael or saving herself.
– “Bones,” 9 p.m., Fox. While
turning Mondays into a summertime comedy night, Fox slides”Bones”
reruns to Fridays. Tonight, a corpse is stuck in glue.
– “Da Vinci's Diaries,” 9 p.m.,
Starz, repeats at 10:05. This richly crafted drama keeps sticking
Leonardo da Vinci into the brashest dramas of the Renaissance era.
Now comes a dilly – confronting Vlad III … who was later called
Vlad the Impaler and inspired the legend of Dracula.
– “Indiana Jones and the Temple of
Doom” (1982), 9:45 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Spike.This sequel is only
half as good as “Raiders” – which still makes it a zesty bit of
– “Merlin,” 10 p.m., Syfy. A
wounded druid turns out to be Kara, Mordred's former love. Soon, he's
helping her … and she tries to kill Arthur. Now Mordred could
become an enemy of the crown.