TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Dancing With the Stars,” 8-10:01 p.m.,
With its youngest final four, “Stars” sets up Tuesday’s
finale. Corbin Bleu, Amber Riley and Jack Osbourne (ages 24, 27 and 28) are
still around, plus Bill Engvall, 56.
Kellie Pickler opens with her song “Little Bit Gypsy.”
Afterward, each finalists does three dances, including a “samba relay” to TLC
singing “No Scrubs.” And three finalists reach Tuesday’s finale.
TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Independent Lens,” 10 p.m., PBS
(check local listings).
“Pine Ridge is like a soap opera,” Cecelia Fire Thunder
says. That’s no exaggeration; through the eyes of Sunny Clifford, 21, and her
twin sister, we see an amazing year on the reservation.
There’s an impeachment vote, an election, a last-minute
ballot change, even police seizing ballot boxes. Young people go through
profound changes while older ones – including Fire Thunder, the tribe’s first
female president – persist; it’s a highly involving soap-opera-plus.
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Christmas With Tucker,” 9-11 p.m.,
Hallmark Movie Channel.
We’re still a month from the holiday, but here’s one of the
best Christmas movies in years. It’s about a boy and his dog – many stories are
– but also about an earnest Kansas farm family and fierce storms.
This could have been excessive (and occasionally is), but
talented people rein it in. One is Dave Alan Johnson, who used to produce shows
– “Doc,” “Sue Thomas,” “Against the Grain” – with rich humanity; this film, his
first script to be aired in eight years, does the same. The other is James
Brolin; in North Bay, Ontario – many universes from his Malibu home – he
perfectly captures down-home decency.
Other choices include:
The Voice, 8-10:01 p.m., NBC. The final eight acts perform;
on Tuesday, two will be ousted.
“How I Met Your Mother,” 8 p.m., CBS. Here’s an episode
written in rhyme. Marshall tries to get his son to sleep by telling him three
“2 Broke Girls,” 8:30 p.m., CBS. On her first day at pastry
school, Max is distracted by the class clown.
“Major Crimes” return, 9 p.m., TNT. The hour opens with two
dead kids and an ailing woman; a tough case is coming, filled with twists,
turns and adult misbehavior. And in the backdrop, the somber story of teen-aged
Rusty builds. He was a gay prostitute when he witnessed a murder; now – in an
ongoing story that’s well-played -- he fidgets under police guard, while living
with Capt. Raydor and waiting to testify.
“Toxic Hot Seat,” 9-10:30 p.m., HBO. Good intentions can go
terribly bad, this well-crafted film says. Furniture has been so overloaded
with fire retardants, endangering kids and exposing firefighters to deadly
fumes. Female firefighters, for instance, have six times the national rate of
“Generation Cryo” debut, 10 p.m., MTV; reruns at 11 p.m. and
2 a.m. Like many reality shows, this hour rambles a lot, occasionally with
shaky cameras. Unlike some, it has an immensely likable central person.
Breeanna Speicher, 17 when this started, is bright and optimistic; she’s trying
to find her sperm-donor father and her half-siblings. In the opener, she finds
delightful people and some misgivings.
“The Blacklist,” 10:01 p.m., NBC. After a
one-week break, this ratings hit is back with the first half of a tense,
two-week story. A bad guy schemes to break through the FBI protection and kill