TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Parks and Recreation” season-finale, 8
and 8:30 p.m., NBC.
For six seasons, “Parks” has delivered quietly clever episodes.
It has received 10 Emmy nominations (including one for best comedy series),
without ever winning … or making much of a ratings splash.
Now it ends its season with a busy hour. The unity concert (planned
by Leslie and Ben) lets Andy realize a rock-and-roller’s dream. Tom opens his
restaurant, Leslie makes a life-changing decision … and Ron (Nick Offerman)
again confronts ex-wife Tammy 2 (Megan Mullally, Offerman’s real-life wife).
TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “SNL Digital Shorts,” 9-11 p.m., NBC.
The quality of “Saturday Night Live” varies wildly. Through
it all, however, the “digital shorts” have been fresh and (usually) funny. For
this special, there were plenty to choose from.
Over eight years, subjects have ranged from Chuck Norris and
Batman to flags, lettuce and a French-kissing dog, plus the famed “(Bleep) in a
Box” and the ragged “Laser Cats” tales. Stars have included Tom Hanks, Steve
Martin, Robert De Niro and Scarlett Johansson, plus athletes (Peyton Manning,
Michael Phelps) and musicians (Bono, Gaga, Bon Jovi, Rihana, Katy Perry, Miley
Cyrus, Justin Bieber and more).
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Black Box” debut, 10 p.m., ABC.
ABC keeps trying (foolishly, perhaps) to insert brains into
a broadcast-network show. First was “Mind Games,” with brilliant work from
Steve Zahn; audiences promptly ignored it. Now Kelly Reilly – a British
actress, unknown to Americans – is equally good, in another show that’s a tough
She plays a brilliant neurologist who is also bi-polar. When
she ditches her medicine, it makes bad drama (self-destructive characters are rarely
interesting), but flashy and highly sexual scenes. Oscar-winner Vanessa
Redgrave plays her therapist, in a show that is superbly acted and hard to
Other choices include:
“Grey’s Anatomy,” 8 and 9 p.m., ABC. First is a rerun of
last week’s episode, with Cristina seeking help with a possible acceptance speech.
Then a new episode sees the return of Derek’s oft-troubled sister Amanda
(Caterina Scorsone); also, Richard pays a surprise visit to Catherine (Debbie
Allen) in Boston.
“The Big Bang Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. Leonard re-instates “anything
can happen Thursday,” hoping it will help Sheldon free his mind. Alas, a
spontaneous Sheldon brings trouble for everyone.
“The Millers,” 8:31 p.m., CBS. Nate pitches a children’s
show based on his dad’s imaginary comic-book world. His dad, however, won’t
tolerate any changes.
“Life Below Zero,” 9 p.m., National Geographic. Last week’s
season-opener re-introduced some sturdy Alaskans. Tonight, many of them are
hunting – for moose, mountain goats and caribou.
“Bad Teacher” debut, 9:31 p.m., CBS. Freshly divorced, with
a bad pre-nuptial agreement, Meredith (Ari Graynor) has no money or skills. She
lies to a gullible principal (David Alan Grier), landing a teaching job. Her
colleagues are suspicious (Kristin Davis), impressed (Sara Gilbert) or merely
amused (Ryan Hansen).
“Chicagoland,” 10 p.m., CNN. As Mayor Rahm Emanuel gives his
budget address, problems range from the pension crisis to security at the Chicago
marathon. Also, Fenger High holds a fund-raiser.