“Star” debut, 9 p.m., Fox.
There's every reason
to hope this will become a terrific series when it returns next
month. It's produced, directed and co-written by Lee Daniels, who has
turned “Empire” into a tasty blend of great music and sharp (if
overwrought) drama. Again, he focuses on the fast-flash music
however, is mixed. The music is great; whether from a new trio in a
tawdry club or Queen Latifah in a church, it soars. The drama,
however, is so-so. Each person has a sharp attitude, until it becomes
monotone. Loud voices cancel each other out; we never quite know
these interesting women.
“Secrets of the Dead,” 10 p.m., PBS.
The story of Vincent
Van Gogh's ear has been told for generations. It's familiar ... and,
we now learn, mostly inaccurate. What historians got wrong has been
corrected by an amateur with great curiosity.
Bernadette Murphy is
an Englishwoman who lived in the French town where the deed was done.
She studied for almost a decade ... finding the final clue in
California, in author Irving Stone's long-ago research. She found
that history was wrong about the reason for cutting the ear ... how
much was cut ... and whom he gave it to. It's a fascinatig story,
spiced with glimpses of great art and a troubled artist.
ALTERNATIVE: “Survivor” finale, 8 p.m., CBS, with reunion at 10.
After an intense
battle of the generations, it's remained even – three finalists
each from the “Gen X” and “Millennials” tribes.
On the younger side
are Hannah Shapiro, 24, a barista and the only female finalist; Adam
Klein, 25, manager of a homeless shelter; and Jay Starrett, 27, a
real-estate agent. Their elders are Ken McNickle, 33, a model; Bret
LaBelle, 42, a police sergeant; and David Wright, also 42, who's
written TV comedies, mostly “Family Guy” and other cartoons.
Tonight, one of them wins a million dollars.
ALTERNATIVE II: The greats, cable.
On a night when we
don't really need it, cable reruns some all-time great moments. TNT
has “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) at 5:45 p.m., then “How the
Grinch Stole Christmas” at 8 and 8:30. Ironically, they're
surrounded by “Fred Claus” (2007) – which is merely fairly good
-- at 3:10, 9 and 11:30 p.m.
Need more greatness?
There's “Fargo” (1996) at 7:15 p.m. on Showtime” and the
animated “Happy Feet” (2006) on Disney.
p.m., Fox. To boost the election image of her boyfriend Marco, Cookie
plans a free park concert. Alas, she has new image problems in this
“fall finale,” when the FBI freezes Empire's assets.
“The Top 12
Greatest Christmas Movies,” 8 p.m., CW. We'd accept “Top 12” or
“Greatest” ... but “Top 12 Greatest”? Expect a thoroughly
redundant holiday. And after the feel-good moments here, there are
feel-frisky moments at 9 p.m., with a rerun of the “Victoria's
Secret Fashion Show.”
Christmas Special,” 8 p.m., NBC. The Grammy-winning group sings
holiday songs, joined by Kelly Clarkson, Reba McEntire and more.
9-11 p.m., NBC. Here are sketches from four-plus decades. The entire
night (starting with Penatonix) will be rerun Saturday.
9 p.m., ABC. A string of four new seasonal sitcom episodes starts at
8 p.m. and peaks here. Luke and Manny volunteer to run the school
dance, then face a crisis. Also, their moms chaperone and try
matchmaking an overbearing mother (Vanessas Bayer) and the school
Survivor,” 10 p.m., ABC. For Kirkman, the accidental president,
problems keep growing. He finds new doubts about his
vice-presidential choice. Also, he begins to suspect there's a
traitor in the White House; Emily (Italia Ricci), his young aide, is
asked to quietly investigate.
finale, 10 p.m., Sundance. For four quietly passionate seasons, we've
followed Daniel, freed after 19 years in prison for a murder he
didn't commit. Now others work for exoneration, as he struggles with
a menial job, a departed love and halfway-house living. “Rectify”
ends as we might have guessed it would – brilliantly written and
acted, but deeply understated. “More people have tried to help me
than harm me,” Daniel says. “The harm just seems to leave a