“Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC.
This strange, noisy
election has propelled the ratings of comedy shows. Now they get
their last shots before the electon -- “SNL” tonight, then “Full
Frontal,” “The Daily Show” and more on Monday.
tonight's host is an Englishman, comfortably separated from American
chaos. That's Benedict Cumberbatch, known to PBS viewers as Sherlock
Holmes and to moviegoers as Doctor Strange. His musical guest is
Solange, still known – despite praise for her album – as
“Who Killed JonBenet?” 8-10:02 p.m., Lifetime.
Two decades ago, the
body of JonBenet Ramsey – the 6-year-old winner of beauty pageants
-- was found. The case remains unsolved, stirring new projects on CBS
(in September), Investigation Discovery (rerunning from 9 a.m. to
noon today) and now Lifetime.
This one is a
scripted movie, mostly from the police perspective. It has some tacky
moments – with JonBenet's fictional voice narrating – but also
tells a strong story. We see huge mistakes by the parents (resisting
talking to police) and by officials. There's a documentary at 10:02
and the film reruns at 12:02 a.m.; both will also air at the same
times on Sunday.
ALTERNATIVE: “Pitch,” 8 p.m., Fox.
Now that it's seen
real-life baseball history (the Cubs winning the World Series), Fox
offers some fictional history: It reruns the pilot film of its series
about the first female in Major League baseball.
Ratings on Thursdays
have been weak, which is unfortunate. “Pitch” is a solid drama,
with well-drawn characters and a mostly reasonable sense of the game.
Ginny Baker brings depth and believability, as the pitcher who has
worked her way up through the minors. Dan Lauria is the skeptical
manager, with Mark Consuelos as the general manager and Mark-Paul
Gosselaar as the team's star catcher.
and “Aliens” (1986), 6 and 8:30 p.m., AMC. Ridley Scott's
original film drew extra attention as a sci-fi epic with a strong
female (Sigourney Weaver) at the core. And “Aliens” has its own
distinction – a sequel from a different director (James Cameron)
that's brilliantly crafted.
“As Good as it
Gets” (1997), 7-10 p.m., Pop. James Brooks – a master of TV
comedy, including “The Simpsons” -- wrote and directed this gem
about a cranky guy, a waitress and more. Jack Nicholson and Helen
Hunt won well-deserved Academy Awards.
Sports, 8 p.m. ET,
everywhere. NBC has the Breeders Cup horse race, while football fills
the other networks. CBS has top-ranked Alabama at Louisiana State
(ranked No. 13); ABC counters with Nebraska (No. 10) at Ohio State
(No. 6). There's much more in the afternoon and on cable.
8 p.m. ET, CNN (barring breaking news). Here's another rerun of the
profiles of Hillary Clinton (8 p.m.) and Donald Trump (10 p.m.); they
re-rerun at midnight and 2 a.m.
“Walk the Line”
(2005), 8:30 p.m., CMT. It's a good night for Oscars ... and for true
stories, well-told, about music. This is about Johnny Cash, with
Reese Witherspoon winning as June Carter; “Coal Miner's Daughter”
(1980) is 8 p.m. ET on Turner Classic Movies; Sissy Spacek won as
9 p.m., Fox. As a violent case – involving murder and a drug cartel
– unfolds, it starts pointing toward Murtaugh's former training
officer (Ted Levine). During the turmoil, Murtaugh (Damon Wayans)
seeks time with his wife and Riggs (Clayne Crawford) resorts to his
“Where Are They
Now?” 10 p.m., Oprah Winfrey Network. Kim Fields was 10 when she
became Tootie in “Facts of Life”; Jamie-Lynn Sigler was 18 when
she became Meadow in “The Sopranos.”From these opposite
(VERY opposite) starts, both found fame. Now we re-meet them at 47
and 36, respectively, plus Rocco Dispirito, a chef who had a
primetime reality show on NBC.