TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Private
Practice,” 9 p.m., ABC.
From its early days, TV has thrived at
this – cramming opposites into a tight space, then letting their
words bounce off each other. Now “Practice” has its turn, in the
first hour, with stunning results.
Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) is back from
a drug binge, seemingly unaware she was gone 12 days. Her colleagues
promptly plan an intervention. With exceptions – her new fiance
(Wes Brown), some flashbacks, a powerful finale – this hour is
simply the nine regulars in the office with an intervention
specialist. The result is brilliantly written (by series creator
Shonda Rhimes), directed (by Mark Tinker) and acted (by Scorsone and
others). It's a reminder that TV really can pack a punch.
TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “20/20,” 8
OK, not all shows punch hard. This week
focuses on Regis Philbin, the master of low-impact TV.
In this hour, Katie Couric interviews
Philbin. On Friday morning, he has his final round of “Live With
Regis & Kelley” – a show he's been doing, with changing
title and co-host – for 23 years.
And then? Guests – Jerry Seinfeld,
Neil Patrick Harris, more – fill in, until a new co-host is chosen.
Philbin says he'll stay busy, with no intention of retiring at 80.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “A Season for
Miracles” (1999), 10 p.m., Hallmark.
Over the next six weeks, we'll see a
flood of Christmas movies and specials. A few (like Hallmark's “Lucky
Christmas,” repeating Friday) are awful, most (like its “Jingle
All the Way,” debuting Nov. 25) are quite pleasant. And some –
including this one – are superb.
When a drug-addicted mother is jailed,
her kids may be shuffled off to the bureaucracy. Instead, her sister
takes them on the lam, reaching a small town with a magical touch.
The result has a smart script, perfect direction by Michael Pressman
(who won two Emmys for “Picket Fences”) and a supporting cast
that includes Pattty Duke, Laura Dern, Kathy Baker and Lynn Redgrave.
Other choices include:
– “The Big Bang Theory,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. Sheldon says he and Amy aren't dating – but is surprised to
see how jealous he is when the comic-book-store guy asks her out.
– “Beneath the Blue” (2010), 8-10
p.m., CW. Giving its regular shows a week off, CW has a movie. In the
Bahamas, Paul Wesley and Caitlin Wachs fight sonar experiments that
might harm the dolphins
– “The Office,” 9 p.m., NBC. With
most of the workers on a field trip to Gettysburg, the boss (James
Spader) challenges the others to concoct the company's next big idea.
– “Braxton Family Values,” 9
p.m., WE. In last week's OK season-opener (rerunning at 8), things
looked shaky for the notion of an album teaming Toni Braxton with her
sisters. Tonight, Tamar admits she's working on a solo project; also,
Traci says she's quitting music and trying beauty school.
– “The Mentalist,” 10 p.m., CBS.
After an undercover cop is killed, the team re-traces her work.
– “Private Practice,” 10 p.m.,
ABC. After the powerhouse episode at 9 p.m., “Practice” continues
its – story here. In rehab, a teen (Debby Ryan, 18, a Disney
Channel favorite) has an impact on Amelia.