“Modern Family,” 9 p.m., ABC.
This has become an
ABC specialty – holiday episodes from each comedy. Tonight, six
days early, we get Valentine's Day tales, peaking with the
Emmy-winning “Modern Family.”
Elizabeth Banks and
Nathan Fillion are back as guest stars. Also returning is “Clive
Bixby,” the alter-ego Phil summons when trying to spice his
marriage. Meanwhile, Valentine complications include Manny's dating
indecisiveness and a secret admirer for Haley.
“Nature,” 8 p.m., PBS.
The second “spy in
the wild” chapter studies animal intelligence. We see the use of
tools, both copied – oragnutans use soap and a saw – and
original. Tools are neatly crafted by crows, otters and more.
Most delightful is
the use of trickery. A squirrel pretends to hide a nut, then scampers
off with it while a thief searches futiley. A drongo sounds his alarm
so meerkats will disperse ... then steals their food; when they quit
falling for that, he starts mimicking their own alarm sound, with
ALTERNATIVE: “Madiba,” 6-10 p.m., BET.
In last week's
opener (rerunning at 6 p.m.), viewers had to overlook the fact that
Laurence Fishburne, 55 and burly, doesn't remotely resemble Nelson
Mandela from ages 21 to 32. Once they got past that, they had an epic
story, filmed in South African by gifted actor-turned-director Kevin
That ended with
Mandela and his colleagues acquitted of treason, after a case that
lasted six years, including long chunks of prison time. He returned
home, where Winnie was expecting their second child. Tonight's
chapter (8 p.m.), the second of three, has the tug between politics
and guerrilla warfare.
ALTERNATIVE II: “Legion” debut, 10 p.m., FX,
It was four years
ago that Dan Stevens left “Downton Abbey,” leaving his character
(Matthew) dead and fans stunned. Since then, his career has been
so-so – until now. Next month, he has the half-title role in
“Beauty and the Beast”; first, he has this spectacular acting
Stevens is David
Haller, in a semi-permanent life in a mental home, with one friend
(Aubrey Plaza) and few complications. Then a beautiful patient
arrives and everything changes. David soon wonders what is real; so
do we. It's a fascinating (if perplexing) start to a promising
8 p.m., Fox. Suddenly, the guys are questioning the past of Cahill
(Jordana Brewster). She has a deadly stalker; also, a file about
Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) is in her car.
8 p.m., ABC. The string of Valentine comedies starts with Erica
feeling the breakup blues; her mom tried to snap her out of it in
time for the holiday.
8:30, ABC. Maya is planning a Valentine surprise for her husband,
requiring help from his former roommate ... who happens to be her
former fiance. Also, Ray has a secret admirer and JJ is in charge of
“Star,” 9 p.m.,
Fox. New crises appear. Derek organizes a rally after losing a
friend, but it gets out of control. Star misses a key rehearsal, so
someone else steps in. And Eva's intentions become clear.
p.m., ABC. Zoey's plan for an anti-Valentine party gets complicated
when her friend has a date. Meanwhile, her parents plan a party to
announce the gender of their baby. It's Dre's turn to choose a name
... but his culturally relevant choice isn't very popular.
season-finale, 10 p.m., CBS. This second season has only 16 episodes,
even shorter than the first year's 18. Tonight, Jesse welcomes the
new interns at a perilous time: Doctors are working with the Centers
For Disease Control, trying to stop the outbreak that's sweeping
through the hospital.
“The Quad,” 10
p.m., BET. Last week's opener had some strengths (especially the
terrific Anika Noni Rose in the lead as Eva, a college president)
nearly overwhelmed by an overwrought plot. Two female students nearly
died – one in a band hazig, the other (Eva's daughter) by
binge-drinking. Then a body was found and a student was arrested. Now
the aftershocks begin.