TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “The Amazing Race” opener, 8 p.m., CBS.
An “all-star” edition begins, with 11 duos starting a
35,000-mile race that will cover 11 countries – including China, Sri Lanka and
Malaysia – on four continents.
Eight duos have done this once before. There are newlyweds,
an engaged couple, twins, father-and-son, cousins (the “Afghanimals,” who
finished fourth this fall) and three sets of friends, including unemployed
Kentucky guys and singers from the country group Stealing Angels.
And three duos have done this twice– the Harlem Globetrotters
and Oklahoma cowboys have been runners-up; Margie O’Donnell and her hearing-impaired
son Luke Adams have reached third place.
TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Downton Abbey,” 9-11 p.m., PBS
(check local listings).
The season ends with elegance – Rose’s debutante party at
the palace. That brings the Americans – Cora’s mother (Shirley MacLaine) and
her son (Paul Giamatti).
“Are you excited?” an American asks Daisy. “I’m never
excited,” she responds. That typifies the American-English contrasts that spice
this fairly good episode … especially when the greats (MacLaine and Maggie
Smith) collide. There are also crises, with Bates’ iffy past being a problem
AND a solution.
TODAY’S ALTERNATIVE: Olympics finale, 6:30 a.m. ET, 2-6
p.m., 7-10:38 p.m., NBC.
The gold-medal hockey game is live at 6:30 a.m.; then things
wrap up with delayed events.
The afternoon has the gold-medal finishes of the four-man
bobsled and the men’s 50-kilometer ski. At night, there’s an overview at 7 p.m.
and the closing ceremony at 8:30, rerunning at 11:35 p.m.
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE II: “Growing Up Fisher” debut, 10:38
For the second straight night, NBC introduces a surprisingly
good comedy that has warmth and wit.
This one (based on the childhood of writer DJ Nash) has a
kid with divorcing parents. The dad (J.K. Simmons) is a lawyer who hid his
blindness; the mom (Jenna Elfman) is in delayed adolescence. Except for one
mis-step – the kid’s friend feels like a situation-comedy contrivance – this is
Other choices include:
“The Proposal” (2009), 8-10 p.m., ABC. To avoid being
deported, an executive (Sandra Bullock) wants to marry her young assistant. The
result starts very well, but fades near the end.
“The Mentalist,” 9 p.m., CBS. Airing earlier than usual
(with a “Good Wife” rerun nudged back to 10 p.m.), this show has a rerun with
the team closing in on Red John.
“Wicked Tuna,” 9 p.m., National Geographic. Last week’s
season-opener (rerunning at 8 p.m.), saw Tyler McLaughlin struggle without a crew,
but catch a tuna. Now he hires two friends – and has more trouble.
“True Detective,” 9 p.m., HBO. At first, only Cohle (Matthew
McConaughey) was crumbling; now Hart (Woody Harrelson) and his wife (Michelle
Monaghan) are shattered; the acting is stunningly good.
“Girls,” 10 p.m., HBO. When her boyfriend finally has some
success, Hannah plans a fun party. Naturally, chaos and comedy ensue, in a good