TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Nature: Animal Misfits,” 8 p.m., PBS
(check local listings).
If you think you have romantic troubles, imagine the leaf
chameleon – so tiny he has trouble finding a mate (literally). Or the parrot whose
females only want to mate every five years.
They’re part of a fun jaunt. We meet fish that fly and
parrots that don’t; we see penguins waddle in the New Zealand jungle and mud
skippers flounder on fins. In a typical day, pandas eat for 16 hours and defecate
40 times; sloths, by comparison, rest for two days after every meal.
TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Toy Story of Terror” and “It’s the
Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., ABC.
The 1966 Charlie Brown cartoon is considered a classic …
even if it does seem slow and spare by modern standards. For contrast, there’s
the dandy, 2013 “Toy Story” special.
During a road trip, the gang stops at a motel. Then – shades
of “Psycho” – a toy disappears. The result has a few scares and a lot of laughs;
Carl Weathers (as Combat Carl) joins the voice line-up that brings back Tom
Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles and (as Mr. Pricklepants) Timothy
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “How We Got to Now” debut, 9 and 10
We take a lot for granted, assuming things have been like
this forever. Not so. In the second half of the 19th century, Americans
knew little about health; they also couldn’t agree on what time it was.
The first hour (“Clean”) includes two Chicagoans’ bizarre
gambles: One raised the buildings to make room for a sewage system; another
chlorinated the drinking water … an untested (and successful) concept. The
second hour views an era before time zones. Four more fascinating hours are
Other choices include:
“Arrow,” 8 p.m., CW. Bad news for Oliver’s image: Another
archer, Komodo, has a lethal impact.
“The Mysteries of Laura,” 8 p.m., NBC. At first, it seems
that someone was killed in his own bathroom. Then the real home-owner shows up;
Laura’s first job is to figure the victim’s identity
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” 9 p.m., NBC. After
creating a video about his troubles with women, a young man goes on a killing
“Modern Family,” 9 p.m., ABC. With their house under repair,
the Dunphys are confined to a cramped hotel room. Phil thinks this will be a
great time for bonding; the others disagree.
“Blackish,” 9:31 p.m., ABC. Dre as supermom? He tries to take
over Rainbow’s projects for a week.
“Nashville,” 10 p.m., ABC.
Rayna is intent on landing rising star Sadie Stone (Laura Benanti) for
her label. For Benanti, 35, this is already the eighth recurring series role,
alongside a busy time in musicals. She’s had four Tony nominations (winning for
“Gypsy”) and played Elsa Schrader in NBC’s “Sound of Music.”
“American Horror Story,” 10 p.m., FX. Last week’s stylish
opener was led by the introduction of a two-headed woman, a triumph for the
technical people and actress Sarah Paulson. It was a great start, despite a
surplus of gore. But now a circus strongman (Michael Chiklis) arrives, bullying
and badgering. The visual charm is still there, but this second episode turns
darker and tougher to watch.