TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: Academy of Country
Music awards, 8-11 p.m., CBS.
Maybe all country award shows should be
hosted by people from Oklahoma. Vince Gill and Reba McEntire have
been the best; now another clever Okie, Blake Shelton, hosts with
Each will sing and there will be lots
of other performers. That includes all five entertainer-of-the-year
nominees – Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Toby Keith and
The Zac Brown Band will link with James
Taylor, Jennifer Nettles (of Sugarland) with Rihanna and Darius
Rucker with 25 music campers who have disabilities. Other performers
include Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, Dierks Bentley, Ronnie
Dunn, Sarah Evans and Alabama.
TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “The Killing”
debut, 9-11 p.m., AMC.
Some people have seen Kenneth Branagh's
“Wallander” movies, which mix deep, Scandanavian murder mysteries
with the dark, stark beauty of Sweden. Now here's a similar gem.
The story (from a Danish series) deals
with a teen's murder; it's richly layered, filled with complex
characters. The look is gloomily gorgeous.
The bad news is that this is spread
over 13 weeks; the good is that it has great moments from gifted
actors, led by Mireille Enos and Stephen Holden as cops and Michelle
Forbes as a grieving mom.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The Borgias”
debut, 9-11 p.m., Showtime.
The year is 1492, a good time for
discovery and a great one for Rodrigo Borgia. He bought and bribed
his way to the papacy, this fierce mini-series says; then the real
“Borgias” has the essentials of a
historical epic – a giant story, lush production values and great
actors inside deep characters. Jeremy Irons gives us a villain with
touches of conscience; Colm Feore is a reformer with touches of
ambition. In between are the young Borgias who give this extra verve
– the scheming Cesare, the impetuous Juan and the beautiful and
pure (temporarily) Lucrezia.
Other choices include:
– “The Civil War,” 8-10 p.m., PBS
(check local listings). April 12 marks the war's 150th
anniversary. First (through Thursday) is a rerun of Ken Burns'
triumphant film; tonight, that's followed at 10 by a rerun of the
superb “American Experience” profile of Robert E. Lee.
– “The Kennedys” debut, 8-10
p.m., Reelz. Here's the start of the eight-hour miniseres that the
History Channel paid for, then dumped. It's skillfully directed by
Jon Cassar (“24”), with one great actor (Tom Wilkinson as the
patriarch) and many solid ones (Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, etc.).
These first two hours pay disproportionate attention to people's
flaws – infidelity, mostly – but that's a common fault of
docudramas. There's nothing that should deeply disturb viewers or a
– “Desperate Housewives,” 9 p.m.,
ABC. The decision on Susan's kidney transplant is in the hands of a
vengeful Paul Young. Meanwhile, Tom rejects a big job offer and Renee
plans an ill-timed party.
– “Mildred Pierce” (9 p.m., HBO)
and “Camelot” (10 p.m., Starz). It's an amazing night for
pay-cable. HBO is in the middle of its three-week Kate Winslet
miniseries; Starz reruns the start of its darkly interesting
variation on the King Arthur legend,
– “Last Cake Standing,” 10 p.m.,
Food Network. Two teams face a steep task – in 12 hours, build a
seven-foot-high cake with a monster theme. It's a fairly interesting
hour, despite a sub-par host.
– “Body of Proof,” 10:01 p.m.,
ABC. In Tuesday's fairly good opener, we met Dana Delany's character,
a smart and confident medical examiner. Tonight offers some moments
for supporting actors Nicholas Bishop, Jeri Ryan and Sonja Sohn; it
also proves anew that one stereotyped cop is absurdly obstinate.