“Driving America,” 9-11 p.m., National Geographic.
With all those
vacant miles, Americans were in a rush to create cars. Oliver Evans
drove a 30-foot, steam-powered boat-on-wheels in 1805; a century
later, Henry Ford mastered the assembly line. Other great inventions
would follow, including motels, drive-ins, windshield wipers and the
Here's a splendid
dash through two centuries of car history. It offers smart narration,
sharp experts (led by pop professor Robert Thomson and writers Larry
Edsall and Hannah Elliott), slick editing and a desire to include
everything -- from artful design to potent engineering, in a nation
in perpetual motion.
“The Bachelorette,” 9-11 p.m., ABC.
Last week took care
of the big questions: Guys chose their “bachelorette” -- Kaitlyn
Bristowe, the dance teacher, topping Britt – and she got down to
business. She had her first kiss (Chris, the dentist) and first
make-out session (Shawn B., the personal trainer); then the
One guy (Ryan M., a
junkyard man) was dismissed early after drinking; another (Brady, a
singer) left to pursue Britt. Kaitlyn dumped four more, including the
part-time exotic dancer and the “amateur sex consultant.”
Tonight, the 19 survivors learn comedy and boxing from Amy Schumer
and Laila Ali.
ALTERNATIVE: “Texas Rising” debut, 9 p.m., History; repeats at
After getting big
ratings with “Hatfields & McCoys” and “The Bible,”
History has another epic tale. Directed bty Roland Joffe (“The
Killing Fields”), the eight-hour story – continuing Tuesday and
next week – tells of the Lone Star revolution and the creation of
the Texas Rangers.
Bill Paxton stars as
Sam Houston. Others include Olivier Martinez (as Gen Santa Anna),
Kris Kristofferson (as Andrew Jackson), , Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta
and Thomas Jane.
ALTERNATIVE II: Memorial-day films, everywhere.
A three-day, 34-film
marathon concludes on Turner Classic Movies, including two war-film
classics -- “From Here to Eternity” (1953) at 12:30 p.m. ET and
“Patton” (1970) at 10:15 p.m. ET. Even better is Steven
Spielberg's triumphant “Saving Private Ryan” (1998), at 6 p.m. on
And there are films
you don't need cable for. At 8 p.m., CW has “Memorial Day”
(2011), with a boy discovering the footlocker of his grandfather
(James Cromwell). At 9, PBS (check local listings) debuts “The
Homefront,” which follows military families.
“Blaze and the
Monster Machines,” 11 a.m., Nickelodeon. In the ominous setting of
Dragon Island, a good-hearted monster truck (yes, this is animated)
races the cheating Crusher. We won't reveal the result, but adults
will approve and kids will find it moderately entertaining.
Warrior,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. Try-outs begin as fit folks tackle an
8 p.m., ABC. There are four more nights for this nine-day quiz show.
“Top Gear,” 8-11
p.m., BBC America. It's a big day for vehicles, from “Blaze” to
“Driving America” to “Top Gear,” a wonderfully clever
British series. In this two-parter, the three guys try to drive
across Burma (long closed to Westerners) and literally build a bridge
on the River Kwai.
return, 9 p.m., CBS. After loaning its spot to the failed “Stalker,”
this ratings-success returns. In a rerun, the young geniuses have a
key task: Boost peace talks and prevent World War III.
“Grace of Monaco”
(2014), 9-11 p.m., Lifetime. Nicole Kidman stars as former movie star
Grace Kelly, with Tim Roth as her husband, Prince Ranier of Monaco.
debut, 10 p.m., NBC. Think of this as “Survivor” without the
gimmicks. Fourteen men – four of them embedded film-crew people –
spend a month on an island, finding their own food. There's a
firefighter and a former police chief, plus a doctor, a lawyer, an
engineer, a shoe salesman and more.