TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: Super Bowl, 6:30 p.m. ET, Fox.
Here’s a classic battle of opposites: A veteran quarterback (Peyton
Manning, 37, of the Denver Broncos) who stands back and fires … a youngster
(Russell Wilson, 25, of the Seattle Seahawks) who scrambles.
Manning threw 55 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions in the
regular season; Wilson had 26 and 9. Then again, Wilson runs for over 500 yards
a season, Manning for less than 50. Add tough defenses, solid running (plus
commercials and a Bruno Mars/Red Hot Chili Peppers halftime) and it’s a fun
TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Masterpiece,” 9 and 9:58 p.m., PBS
(check local listings).
While others duck a Super Bowl confrontation, PBS pushes
ahead with its best work. At 9:58 is the last of this season’s three episodes
of the oft-brilliant “Sherlock”; Holmes faces a master blackmailer. And at 9,
“Downton Abbey” has another night of elegant soap opera.
Downstairs, there are turning points for Alfred (the
would-be chef) and Molesley (the jobless footman); also, Bates and Anna strain
for a fresh start. Upstairs, there’s agony for Edith, a dispute between
dowagers … and a birthday surprise for Robert, from his young houseguest Rose.
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: Marathons, cable.
Animal Planet invented this concept with “Puppy Bowl” – a
two-hour loop of frolicking pups. Today, that keeps running from 3 p.m. to 5
Now Hallmark counters with “Kitten Bowl,” a three-hour loop
from noon to midnight. AMC also has a marathon, but not a cute one: From 10
a.m. to 6 a.m., it has the first two seasons of “The Walking Dead.” There’s
another marathon next weekend, leading into the mid-season premiere next
Other choices include:
Pre-game shows, noon to 6 p.m., Fox. The annual “Road to the
Super Bowl” is at noon, followed by “Football America: Our Story” at 1 and the studio
show at 2.
More pre-game, about 6 p.m. Opera star Renee Fleming sings
the National Anthem, with Queen Latifah doing “America the Beautiful.” There’s
also a Declaration of Independence film, a coin toss and more.
“The Good Wife,” 8 p.m., CBS. A night of CBS reruns starts
with Alicia learning she’s been spied on through her own computer. That’s
followed by “The Mentalist” at 9 and “NCIS” at 10.
“Girls” and “Looking,” 10 and 10:30 p.m., HBO. Most of
cable’s key shows skip Super Bowl Sunday. HBO has “This is 40” (2012) at 7:40
p.m., resting the brilliant “True Detective”; it does, however, have these two.
“Girls” has a surprising downer, as Hannah’s world crumbles; “Looking” (set
among gays in San Francisco) also goes grim, with job setbacks, before offering
glimmers of hope in the final minutes.
“New Girl,” 10:30 p.m. or later, Fox. Jess and Cece are
invited to a party at Prince’s mansion. Naturally, the guys try to slip in.
Prince and other celebrities have guest roles.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” 11 p.m. or later, Fox. Jake (Andy
Samberg, fresh from his Golden Globe award) works a case with his frequent
nemesis Amy. Meanwhile, the captain and sergeant plan a precinct makeover.
Guest stars include Fred Armisen, Joe Theismann and more.