“American Experience,” 9 p.m., PBS.
Late in the 19th
century, this excellent film says, Boston had a transportation
tangle. Packed into less than a square mile were almost 400,000
people and 8,000 horses, with noise, manure and chaos.
London had tried a
subway, but a coal-powered train made the esperience sooty and
shabby. Then Frank Sprague, an American naval office, invented the
electric subway; Bosto began digging. There was opposition and –
after a gas line was accidentally cut -- a deadly explosion. Still,
it took just two years to build; on the opening day in 1897, 250,000
people rode America's first subway.
“This Is Us,” 9 p.m., NBC.
Yes, this is a rerun
– there are a lot of those, two days before the “sweeps”
ratings period begins – but it's a good one. At Thanksgiving time,
the three adult siblings have a last chance to visit their family
cottage, before their mother sells it. Memories stir; emotions soar.
Randall is fuming
about the fact that his adoptive mother had long been secretly in
contact with his father. (We flash back to him at 9, already seeking
his parents.) And visitors arrive, including Kevin's cynical co-star
in a play and the show's uncynical playwright, leading to some
ALTERNATIVE: “Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials,” 9 p.m., CBS.
Some people might
remember Super Bowl XXVI as the one in which Bills back Thurman
Thomas missed the first few plays because he'd lost his helmet. It
was a sign; the Redskins scored the first 24 points, pushing the
Bills to the second of four straight Super Bowl losses.
But others remember
something more: It was when two awed boys watched Cindy Crawford
stride to a Pepsi machine in jean shorts and undershirt. Now – 25
years and five days later – Crawford will discuss that commercial;
other classics will be featured in a countdown. This was originally
set for 8 p.m., then nudged back to make room for an 8 p.m. report on
the Supreme Court nomination.
“The Middle,” 8
p.m., ABC. Launching a string of four ABC comedy reruns, Sue is in
the unfamiliar position of wanting to break off a relationship; she
turns to Axl, who has great experience at this.
“The Mick,” 8:30
p.m., Fox. No more hiding in embarrassment over their parents' arrest
and flight: The kids head back to the country club ... where Aunt
Mick soon gets in a fight with society ladies.
“Bones,” 9 p.m.,
Fox. A tutor of rich kids has been killed. Suspects range from the
victim's roommate to various disgruntled parents.
“NCIS,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. Nudged back an hour by the commercials special, this rerun
involves a Marine sergeant's fall from a building. Using privileged
information from a patient, a doctor (Laura San Giacomo) suggests it
be treated as a murder investigation.
p.m. ET. WGN America, rerunning at 10:01 and midnight. These mountain
people hate confinement, so last week's opener had their darkest
moments -- “Big Foster” tied in someone's basement; “Little
Foster” jailed, after fighting a mob. Now both men rage, in a
strong hour. Also, Big Foster's “widow” takes over as ruler,
quickly facing a dilemma when an all-female clan seeks refuge.
SHIELD,” 10 p.m., ABC. Patton Oswalt returns to his double role as
Billy and Sam Koenig, triplets (Oswalt has also played the third one)
who are agents. The team rushes to save them.
p.m., PBS (check local listings). Official reports say Mosul –
Iraq's second-largest city – has been reclaimed by the army. This
recent visit, however, adds jolting details. Even in the parts of the
city the army controls, it shows, ISIS snipers and suicide bombers
make real life impossible.