TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Jane the Virgin” debut, 9 p.m., CW.
Jane (Gina Rodriguez) is beautiful and dutiful, choosing to
remain a virgin until marriage. That’s a notion her grandmother pushed; her
boyfriend (a cop) and mother (a lover) disagree strenuously.
Then she’s accidentally inseminated – a simple error at the
clinic – and pregnant; wilder twists follow. Adapted from a Venezuelan telenovela,
“Jane” finds that perfect balance, being offbeat without being silly; it shows
that Rodriguez is a gifted star and the CW is (after a long lapse) a real
TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “The Big Bang Theory,” 8 and 8:30
First is a new episode, with the three women in Las Vegas …
where Penny (usually the fun one) is accused of being a buzzkill. Back home,
the guys try to invent the next big thing.
Then is a rerun that merges two of the great forces in TV comedy:
Bob Newhart – drolly, dryly brilliant as usual – makes his third visit to TV’s
best comedy. This time he plays an afterlife vision, still very funny.
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Independent Lens,” 10-11:30 p.m., PBS
(check local listings).
The places and people are different, but the basics are the
same – kids cruelly mocked for being different. One is gay, another is called
“fishface,” others are dismissed as geeky or stupid.
Even with a camera there, kids bully them in buses and
schools. Even with a camera there, officials offer bromides (“buses are
notorious”; “boys are like that”). “Bully” is a deeply disturbing film that
shows the devastation; its lone bright spot comes at the end, with the rise of
an anti-bully movement.
TODAY’S ALTERNATIVE: “Blaze and the Monster Machines” debut,
noon to 1 p.m., Nickelodeon.
We kind of appreciate the way NASCAR has precise rules. In
this animated world, one monster truck is able to use giant turbo-chargers;
another encases his opponents in bubbles, so they’ll float away.
“Blaze” is mostly a high-octane, fun show, but also poses
engineering questions for pre-schoolers. They’re asked which is better for
floating on a river, a rock or a board. (Hint, one of them sinks like a rock.)
It also asks whether to use the steep ramp (with a trajectory to the hill top)
or a less-steep one (pointing to a fierce hillside crash). We answered these
Other choices include:
“Dancing With the Stars,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC. The partner
shake-up is in effect – which is good news for Sadie Robertson, the “Duck
Dynasty” teen. She’s paired with frequent-champ Derek Hough; Bethany Mota
switches to Mark Ballas. Nine celebrities remain, after the ouster of designer
“The Voice,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. The battle rounds begin,
“Gotham,” 8 p.m., Fox. As a key vote nears, council members’
lives are in danger.
“Sleepy Hollow,” 9 p.m., Fox. A child is missing and a Pied
Piper type is suspected.
“The Blacklist,” 10 p.m., NBC. Normal people are suddenly
becoming killers; Red suspects someone is doing a social experiment. He also
has a proposition for Naomi (Mary-Louise Parker) and her husband.
“Castle,” 10:01 p.m., ABC. Rick and Kate return to normal
life, after the quirks of his disappearance. Meanwhile, a pool shark is dead
and there are notions that the killer had paranormal powers.