TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Michael
Feinstein's American Songbook” (8 p.m.) and “Great Performances”
(9 p.m. to midnight), PBS (check local listings).
This is what PBS does best – taking
specialized subjects and performing them brilliantly.
“Songbook” is a three-week series
following Michael Feinstein's obsession with great songs. We see him
singing them – with a vibrant, big-band backing – and expanding
his massive archive of music and memories. His contagious enthusiasm
is backed by talent.
Then “Performances” has Robert
Goold's film, adapting his stylish staging of “Macbeth.” There
are some early problems with unclear dialog, but the film crackles
with the arrival Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood as Macbeth and
his fierce young wife. Beautifully filmed, a ferocious story unfolds.
TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Modern
Family,” 9 p.m., ABC.
There's logic to having Nathan Lane –
the flamboyant Emmy nominee – on this Emmy-winning show.
He plays Pepper, whose parties are too
elaborate even for Cameron (Emmy-winner Eric Stonestreet) and
Mitchell (Jesse Piper Ferguson). An earthquake shakes their home; it
also leaves Claire (Mitchell's sister) in the bathroom with her
plumber, re-examining her life. There are great moments.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Terriers,”
10 p.m., FX.
Now the guys have a body – a corrupt
millionaire who accidentally died after they kidnapped him for
questioning – in Hank's house, alongside Hank's bipolar sister.
Police are asking questions.
Some decent, fairly honest people are
way over their heads. A terrific story coninues.
Other choices include:
– “The Middle,” 8 p.m., ABC.
After preaching to her husband about his health, Frankie tries to
hide her bad back. She's also offended when someone thinks she's
buying adult diapers.
– “Better With You,” 8:30 p.m.,
ABC. Here's the episode that was scheduled for last week, then
delayed: The family photo means Ben (dating one daughter for nine
years) is excluded; Casey (engaged to her sister after eight weeks)
is instantly included.
– “Goldman Sachs: Power and Peril,”
9 p.m., CNBC. The Goldman Sachs firm had prestige and dependability.
Its people had top positions in the Clinton and George W. Bush
administrations, pushing finance de-regulation. Then came the crash
and the revelations: The company had sold securities to customers,
then bet they would fail; after receiving a bail-out, it had handed
out bonuses of more than $500,000 per person. This well-made
documentary catches the highs and lows.
– “Law & Order: Los Angeles,”
10 p.m., NBC. A surfside murder suggests a group that copied the
Manson murders. Soon, the case involves an ex-cop (Teri Polo) who's
married to Detective Winters (Skeet Ulrich). There are a lot of
twists here, in an hour that remains fairly flat and uninvolving.
– “Harry Loves Lisa” debut, 10
p.m., TV Land. Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna are intriguing opposites.
She's 47, a beauty of Portuguese descent who retains the zest of a
ex-cheerleader; he's 58, quiet and handsome (once People magazine's
“sexiest man alive”), who grew up in an intellectual Pasadena
family. They've been married 13 years; now, with their two daughters,
they have a reality show. In this OK opener, he tries his first
comedy-club turn and she frets about a comment taken out of context.
– “Steven Seagal Lawman” debut,
10 and 10:30 p.m., A&E. Yes, this is a lot like A&E's Friday
show (“Teach: Tony Danza”), except that this actor is a sheriff's
deputy in Louisiana.