TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Pioneers of
Television” return, 8 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
Nothing about “Star Trek” turned
out as planned. Jeffrey Hunter starred in the first pilot, Jack Lord
turned down the job in the second; William Shatner got it. Martin
Landau turned down the emotionless Spock role – “It was the
antithesis of why I became an actor” – and Leonard Nimoy took it.
CBS rejected the show and chose “Lost
in Space” – which kept getting worse as “Trek” got better.
The first “Pioneers” season was
so-so, but this four-week burst is fresh and sharp. The opener
(viewing science fiction) even shows Shatner in “Howdy Doody” and
Nimoy in “Zombies of the Stratosphere.”
TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Life
Unexpected,” 8 and 9 p.m., CW.
In the season finale, Baze is ready to
settle in with Emma – unaware that she's been his dad's lover.
Also, Lux plans a dinner alone with
Eric; then her parents (Baze and Cate) burst in and complicate
things. After that, an above-average series ends its season and maybe
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Lights Out,”
10 p.m., FX.
After a fairly good opener, “Lights
Out” adds depth and subtlety tonight.
Holt McCallany is superb as a former
boxing champion, entangled in secrets. People don't know he's out of
money … and the brain damage from his fighting days could become
fatal … and he's considering a big-money rematch, five years into
Now he has one one more secret – he
broke a rich man's arm, while collecting money for a bookie. As the
cover-up builds, there's a deeper look at his wife (Catherine
McCormack) and his dad (Stacy Keach). We get a complex portrait of a
good man who could be going very bad.
Other choices include:
– “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a
youth-obsessed TV world, it's been fun to see David McCallum, 77, as
Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard. Now comes a bonus: Bob Newhart, 81,
plays Ducky's mentor.
– “The Walking Dead,” 8 p.m. to 3
a.m., AMC. Skillfully crafted, this zombie series has become a
ratings hit;now its six-episode season reruns. The excellent opener
is 8 p.m. today, with the next two episodes at 9:30 and 10:30. They
rerun at 11:30 p.m. and 1 and 2 a.m.; the others air Wednesday.
– “Frontline.” 9 p.m., PBS (check
local listings). Ever since 2001, we're told, the
intelligence-gathering industry has grown hugely. Generic buildings
near Washington, D.C., house anonymous people doing unstated tasks.
This hour, partly from a Washington Post report, asks: “Are We
– “V,” 9 p.m., ABC. Last week's
episode ended with Erica battling an alien who had infiltrated the
FBI; their car crashed and overturned. Tonight, the fierce fight
continues. It's a strong start, but “V” quickly reverts to two
things TV overdoes – hostage-taking and torture.
– “20/20,” 10:01 p.m., ABC. In a
late change, “Detroit 1-8-7” is delayed a week, making room for
Diane Sawyer's interview of Capt. Mark Kelly, the astronaut who is
married to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. He describes their romance
and the days after she was critically wounded by a gunman.
– “Onion SportsDome,” 10:30 p.m.,
Comedy Central. The second episode, like the first, ranges from
brilliance to excess. There's a hilarious bit about a sick little
girl, kept alive by her hatred of baseball star David Wright; there's
also a cruel and pointless one, in which a jealous coach throws acid
on football star Tom Brady's handsome face.