TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “How the States
Got Their Shapes” debut, 10 p.m., History.
From its opening moments, this hour is
sheer fun. There is Brian Unger in a border bar; the drinks are
served in Tennessee, the rest rooms and pool table are in Georgia.
Except that if an old surveying error ever gets rectified, the whole
place will be in a no-alcohol Georgia county.
That starts a lively jaunt. Unger
already did this in a special, but now he has 10 hours instead of
He detours for some wildly unrelated
moments – next week, in Illinois, he's barraged by leaping fish
called “Asian carp” and visits the fictional state of
Forgottonia. Still, much of the first hour sticks to a theme of water
affecting the map – especially power grabs of chunks of the
TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Dancing With
the Stars,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC.
Three weeks from the finale, it's time
to trim the field to five. First is a recap, pre-empting “Jamie
Oliver's Food Revolution”; then the 9 p.m. hour has lots of
James Blunt sings “I'll Be Your Man”
and Nicki Minaj does “Moment 4 Life.” Wayne Brady leads a tribute
to James Brown, who died five years ago; this would have been his
78th birthday. Also, there's dancing from the U.S. Latin
champions, plus teen ballerina Patricia Zhau.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Black in
Latin America,” 8 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
The joyous culture of Brazil is savored
by many people, including kids who see the delightful animated movie
“Rio.” Now Henry Louis Gates reminds us about the horrors that
With its sugar crops thriving, Brazil
brought in more than four million slaves. That's almost 10 times as
many as came to the U.S.; it continued until 1888, a quarter-century
after the U.S. abolished slavery.
What emerged was a Brazil that blends
the Americas and Africa. At the end of the hour, Gates reveals test
results showing the percentage of African background for the people
he interviewed; he shows why Brazilians avoid such arbitrary terms as
“black” and “white.”
Other choices include:
– “Glee,” 8 p.m., Fox. Who knew
that Sue Sylvester was interested in journalism? Tonight, she revives
the school paper and plants negative things about the glee club.
Also, Sam draws some sympathy.
– “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. Tony's
former partner – played by Scott Grimes of “ER” – has been
– “NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. To protect his best friend, Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) assumes
an undercover identity he dislikes.
– “Raising Hope,” 9:01 p.m., Fox.
Jimmy learns that his dad has always been flirting with customers.
Soon, others are caught up in efforts to gain favor, in a moderately
– “The Good Wife,” 10 p.m., CBS.
In two previous episodes, Martha Plimpton (“Raising Hope”) played
a lawyer who was a fierce opponent of the Lockhart/Gardner firm. Now
she wants it to represent her against the rival agency that has just
– “Independent Lens,” 10 p.m.,
PBS (check local listings). In 1954 and 1998, people found the pieces
of what was going to be a Nazi documentary. Shot in 1942 in the
Jewish ghetto of Warsaw, it filmed some scenes of abject poverty and
some staged ones of luxury. “A Film Unfinished” shows clips and
adds commentary from survivors. The result offers powerful images of
horror and deception.