TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Kennedy Center Honors,” 9-11 p.m., CBS.
Each year, this mixes talent and intelligence to create TV’s
most soaring moments. Now comes one of its most promising years: Four of the
five honorees are musicians, two of them reaching the top of pop charts.
The night starts and ends with those two. To honor Carlos
Santana, the music ranges from Buddy Guy to Steve Winwood and Sheila E.; to
honor Billy Joel, the finale has Garth Brooks and Rufus Wainwright, plus Don
Henley of the Eagles and Brendon Urie of Panic at the Disco.
In between, jazz greats perform for Herbie Hancock and opera
stars for Martina Arroyo. The fifth honoree is Shirley MacLaine, who started
her career doing musical theater. Her Broadway songs are performed by
Tony-winners Sutton Foster, Karen Olivo ad Patina Miller, plus movie star Anna
TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “The Simpsons,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., Fox.
Both reruns have people pondering past dreams.
In the first, Homer brings in a long-ago friend to help him
fulfill the to-do list he made when he was 10. In the second, four people
ponder lost opportunities: Burns has a missed love, Kent Brockman failed to
follow his colleague (Rachel Maddow) to the big time and Marge, of course, has
parenting issues. Then there’s Homer, who long ago sold his Apple stock to buy
a bowling ball.
TONIGHT’S FINALE: “Treme” finale, 9-10:20 p.m., HBO.
High in quality and low in ratings, this series has been an enigma.
Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, it has dangled dozens of interesting
characters, often just leaving them there.
Tonight, it tries to resolve a few of them. There’s Colson
(David Morse), the honest cop in a corruption-riddled department. And Toni
(Melissa Leo), the crusading lawyer fighting police abuse. And Delmond (Rob
Brown), a New York trumpeter whose dad died last week, after insisting the son
take over his Mardi Gras position.
And back together are Janette (Kim Dickens), the chef and
restaurant owner, and Davis (Steve Zahn) the struggling DJ. He makes some
bizarre moves tonight, before “Treme” reminds us (in its final minutes) that it
is sometimes an excellent series.
Other choices include:
“Breaking Bad,” noon, AMC. A sweeping rerun of the entire
series continues until 5 a.m.; it returns at noon Monday, concluding at about 3
“Cinderella” (1949), 6 p.m., ABC Family. Here’s another
chance to catch a great cartoon. And afterward? For more animation, ABC Family
has “The Little Mermaid” (1989) at 7:45 p.m.; for more music, Disney has the
zesty “High School Musical 2” (2007) at 8.
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (2001), 8-11 p.m.,
ABC. Broadcast-network series are skipping new episodes this week, so ABC plugs
in the first “Harry Potter” film. It starts beautifully and ends with a shrug;
in between, it has rich visuals – something we expect from director Chris
Columbus – and a first-rate cast.
Football, 8:30 p.m., NBC. A bizarre Dallas Cowboy season
comes down to this: The regular season ends with hosting the Philadelphia
Eagles; the winner heads to the playoffs and the loser goes home.
More animation, 9:30 and 9:45 p.m., Fox. Here are reruns of pilots
for two series that will get late-Saturday spots, beginning Jan. 11. “Lucas
Bros. Moving Co.” is based on the comedy of twins Keith and Kenny Lucas; “Golan
the Insatiable” finds a fierce godlord trapped in suburbia.
“Getting On” season-finale, 10:20 p.m., HBO. This show’s
strain between comedy and tragedy ends up closest to the latter, as nurses and
the doctor (Laurie Metcalf) debate responsibility for … well, everything.