TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: Football, 8 p.m.
The bowl season has plenty of odd-named
games, airing on cable .Here's an exception on both counts.
The network is Fox and the game is the
Cotton Bowl, which has been around since 1937. Texas A & M and
Oklahoma each have 10-2 records; they're ranked No. 9 and 11
respectively in one national poll, No. 10 and 12 in the other.
TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS.
This solid show keeps finding ways to
mix crime stories with family drama. Here's a prime example.
Danny (the excellent Donnie Wahlberg)
has a big case, involving a sniper has killed two drivers of
gas-guzzler cars. Then Danny's son – out biking with an aunt and a
teen sister – is hit by a car.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Great
Performances,” 9-11 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
It all started when someone gave Paul
Simon an obscure South African tape, “Accordion Jive Hits.” Soon,
he says here, it was his favorite album.”
He traveled to South Africa to jam with
great musicians, then brought them to London and New York. The
result, “Graceland,” sold 14 million albums, won the
album-of-the-year Grammy and launched a mega-tours. It also brought a
backlash, because Simon had ignored a cultural boycott.
This documentary recalls all of that
while following Simon to a 25th-year “Graceland.” It could have
used more music and less verbal repetition, but is still fascinating.
TONIGHT'S ODDITY: “True Justice”
season-opener, 8 p.m. ET, Reelz.
“In case you haven't notice,” a
deputy sheriff says, “Kane isn't the talkative type.”
We noticed and we're grateful. Steven
Seagal, who also produces the show, plays Kane mid-way between stoic
and catatonic; he barely mumbles the the lines.
Fortunately, that's rarely an issue.
Before the opening credits, he's said six words and several people
(with the help of flashbacks) are shot or maimed. It's an episode
that sends the series in a fresh direction – while continuing its
fierce violence and wooden drama.
Other choices include:
– “Merlin,” 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.,
then 10 p.m., rerunning at 11, Syfy. First, the show's entire fourth
season (minus one episode) reruns. Then – after a wrestling break –
the final season begins with the start of a two-parter.” Sir
Percival and Sir Gwaine are captured by Morgana; Arthur and Merlin
try a rescue.
– “Raiders of the Lost Ark”
(1981) and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”(1984), 7 and
9:30 p.m., Spike. First is a truly great movie adventure. George
Lucas' idea was sharply written by Lawrence Kasdan; Steven Spielberg
directed it beautifully, with great help from composer John Williams
and star Harrison Ford. Then is the sequel, which is fairly good.
– “Go On,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., NBC.
Ever since his wife's death, Ryan (Matthew Perry) seems to be burying
his grief. In the first rerun, he's channeling the pain into
compulsive eating. In the second, people try to liven his birthday
with a scavenger hunt.
– “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993),
8 and 10 p.m., Bravo. Already a successful screenwriter, Nora Ehpron
added directing. This is her second film and her first success, a
nimble drama-comedy with Meg Ryan as a radio personality and Tom
Hanks as the lonely widower who phones her show.
– “Shark Tank.” 9 p.m., ABC. One
guy has created miniature tents to go on the picnic table, keeping
each plate bug-free. Two others have combined to make Arkeg, which
conveniently puts a refrigerated beer keg alongside an arcade-type
video machine. There's much more in a fairly interesting hour; one
idea even gets a million-dollar offer.
– “CSI: NY,” 9 p.m., CBS. Two
victims are linked to the same unusual weapon.
– “Portlandia”season-opener, 10
and 10:30 p.m., IFC (Independent Film Channel). Watching TV for the
first time in years, Spyke is shocked to see that his beloved MTV
showing reality shows instead of videos..He and Iris gather past MTV
stars (Kurt Loder, Tabitha Soren) for a takeover. That provides a
clever start for the return of this witty show, starring its
creators, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.