TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Saturday Night
Live Backstage,” 9-11 p.m., NBC.
Previous specials traced “SNL”
decade-by-decade. Now here's the 36-year history in one gulp.
It includes the low points. There's
Norm Macdonald being fired in mid-season, with an ill-suited Colin
Quinn inserted as anchor. There are early detours into films. There
are gifted people – Larry David, Sarah Silverman, Janeane Garofolo,
Robert Downey Jr. – who didn't shine until they left the show.
Sinead O'Connor pulled a surprise on
live TV; so did Damon Wayans, who was fired instantly. And through it
all, “SNL” remained successful and (sometimes) quite funny.
WEEKEND'S MUST-SEE II: “The Amazing
Race” opener, 8 p.m., CBS.
Eleven duos return for a second chance.
Some finished as high as second (Oklahoma cowboys, Florida
cheerleaders, Ron Hsu and daughter), some as distant as 9th.
Many – including the hearing-impaired Luke Adams and his mom –
became audience favorites.
Tonight's opener brings quick twists.
It's fast, fun and thoroughly entertaining.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Episodes”
season-finale, 9:30 p.m., Showtime.
After some slow spots, this comedy
wraps up its season wonderfully.
That peaked last week (rerunning at 8)
with a split between Bev and Sean, who are turning their show into an
American comedy starring Matt LeBlanc. She drove off on the wrong
side of the road (a British thing) and crashed into LeBlanc (playing
a perverse version of himself); they fought, then had sex.
Now comes the morning after. There are
revelations plus a wonderfully wayward fight between an Englishman
and an actor, neither with any recent street-brawling experience.
Other choices include:
– “Nature,” 8 p.m., PBS (check
local listings). This so-so film traces the last year of a tiger in
– “Pictures Don't Lie,” 8
p.m.,repeating at 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., CNN. Ernest Withers, a
photographer, was considered a civil rights hero. Now documents imply
he was also an FBI informant. Soledad O'Brien's nuanced report
mingles one man's tarnished memory and an era's heroism.
– “Secret Service Files,” 8-10
p.m., National Geographic. This two-night, four-hour portrait continues Monday. It starts with a sharp, no-nonsense look at counterfeiters in Bogota, Colombia.
– “Brick City,” 8 p.m., Sundance,
repeats at 9. In a scrambling Newark, triumphs are selective. Now the
city hopes to celebrate a murder-free March; everything else crumbles
amid a budget crisis.
– “Desperate Housewives,” 9 p.m.,
ABC. Tom and Lynette want their sons to move out; Keith wants Bree to
move to Florida. Also, Paul and Mike want Zach to move into a rehab
– “Masterpiece Theatre,” 9 p.m.,
PBS (check local listings). At the mid-section of the three-part “Any
Human Heart,” Logan has found peace with Freya (the terrific Hayley
Atwell) and their daughter. Then come wartime duties. This is that
rare show in which only the central character is uninteresting.
– “Big Love,” 9 p.m., HBO. In no
surprise, Bill's family continues to wobble. In a huge surprise,
there are two major changes involving young romance.
– “CSI: Miami,” 10 p.m., CBS.
After a five-week break, this is back to new episodes, starting with
a big one. The man who killed Horatio's wife is back, on a crime
spree to take control of the city.