TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Phil Spector,”
9-10:30 p.m., HBO.
Any film about Phil Spector – a
brilliant music producer, a strange person – and his murder trial
would be fascinating. But writer-director David Mamet decided to
create his own reality.
Mamet doesn't claim this is a
docudrama. He invents brilliant bursts of dialog, then gives them to
some of the world's best actors. Al Pacino soars as Spector; Helen
Mirren and Jeffrey Tambor are perfect as his wary lawyers. The result
– whether truth or fiction – is compelling.
TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “The Good
Wife,” 9 p.m. (or later, with basketball overrun), CBS.
In a neat switch of styles, this
episode covers only a few hours on St. Patrick's Day.
That starts and ends at a black-tie
dance. (Julianna Margulies, as Alicia, looks great in her red gown.)
Soon, police tell of a murder and Alicia's daughter learns her mom
was pregnant when she married.
Several people lie and one lands a
punch. There are fine moments with recurring guest stars – Matthew
Perry, Stockard Channing, Amanda Peet – plus the great John Noble
(“Fringe”) as the slain client.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The Bible,”
8-10 p.m., History.
Here's the fourth piece of the
five-part miniseries (with reruns of the previous ones starting at
2). It shows off the strength and weakness of the series.
The strength – a big story, told with
rich detail and an appealing cast. Diogo Morgado plays Jesus, with
Roma Downey (who produced this with her husband Mark Burnett) as
The weakness: This keeps veering
darkward, almost obsessively. We're now to the gospel (a word derived
from “good news”), but the grim schemes quickly overshadow the
Jesus joy. Also, the casting – sweet faces for the disciples,
fierce ones for the Jewish elders – borders on bias.
Other choices include:
– Basketball, all-day. CBS starts
this with a triple-header at noon ET. It will finish at 7 (or a bit
later), with cable taking over at night. TNT has two games, starting
at 6 p.m.; TBS has two, starting at 7, and TruTV has one at 7:30. At
the end of the night, the college tourney will have its sweet 16.
– “Live at Lincoln Center” and
“Masterpiece Contemporary,” 8 and 9 p.m., PBS. As pledge drives
conclude, some stations (check local listings) have a big
show-business night: Kristin Chenoweth sings a tribute to Broadway's
women; then there's a rerun of “The Song of Lunch,” a neatly odd
little two-person playlet, smartly written and drolly played by Alan
Rickman and Emma Thompson.
– “Married to Medicine” debut, 9
p.m., Bravo. Fresh from the “Real Housewives of Atlanta”
season-finale at 8 p.m., we meet some more Atlanta women. Two are
doctors, four are doctors' wives, all are attractive, many are
overwrought. By talking a lot, they turn harmless comments into a
– “Vikings,”10 p.m., History. The
first western invasion was simple, butchering some helpless monks.
This second one takes strategy and then an all-out battle. And once
he's back, Raynar faces the tribal chief and a murder trial, in
another fairly good episode.
– “Red Widow,” 10:01 p.m., ABC.
Even in a multi-tasking world, Marta's life is overcrowded. Her older
son has sex; her younger son has show-and-tell. She's a widow, a
businesswoman, a police informant and a novice for Schiller, the
crime lord. In an excellent episode, things gets more complicated
when Schiller works with a big-time crook who shares Marta's Russian