“Great Performances,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
The “Billy Elliot”
movie (2000), with a boy savoring ballet in a macho mining town, was
a gem. It was turned into a Tony-winning musical, which reaches TV
here and is first-rate ... with drawbacks.
Elton John and Lee
Hall provided resounding songs, making great use of the striking
miners for a booming male chorus. Hall's book is surprisingly dark,
however, and director Stephen Daldry reduces those miners to
cartoonish oafs, before reversing that after intermission. The
dancing is splendid, but quite sparse until the extra finale – a
sensational number mashing 25 gifted actors who have been Billy.
“Last Man Standing,” 8 p.m., ABC.
Jay Leno is back to
what he seems to savor – buying cars, fixing cars, talking about
cars. His “Jay Leno's Garage” is on CNBC, with new eisodes at 10
p.m. Wednesdays and reruns often ... including overnight tonight at 4
a.m.; and now he plays a car buff here.
Mike (Tim Allen) is
delighted to get a 1967 Impala as a present. Then the previous owner
(Leno) keeps dropping by with spare parts and unrequested advice.
ALTERNATIVE: “Belief,” 8 p.m., Oprah Winfrey Network.
This richly crafted
series is near its finish now. On the sixth of seven nights, we see
people go to extremes, mentally and physically. In Morocco, a teen
works toward reciiting all 80,000 words of the Qur'an; in France and
Spain, a 65-year-old hopes to re-connect with Catholicism in a
Another story views
too teens – a Jewish cellist and a Muslim flutist – brought
together by an Israeli orchestra. And in China, a young monk masters
kung fu, but has trouble with the spiritual levels.
II” (1981), 7:30 p.m., AMC. We're back to that same Halloween
night, with the killer still loose and Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) in
danger. John Carpenter didn't direct the sequel, but he co-produced
it, created a first-rate music score and co-wrote it, providing a
terrific finish to a long night.
8 p.m., Fox. This reruns an hour with conflicting extremes. Visually,
“Gothan” is as striking as ever. Still, the main story -- a
hostage situation at a charity fundraiser – is prolonged and
“Truth Be Told,”
8:30 p.m., NBC. Desperate for quick attention, comedies often
overload early episodes with sex talk, sometimes clever and often
not. Last week's opener had a dim-witted debate over whether the
babysitter was a porn star. Now the guys ponder lying to their wives
about going to the Adult Films Awards; also, a wife fumes when women
send nude photos to her husband.
“Dr. Ken,” 8:31
p.m., ABC. Will Yun Lee (“The Wolverine”) plays the ex-boyfriend
of Ken's wife. Now the guy is a hot and successful doctor ... and Ken
is supposed to speak at a tribute for him.
p.m., Fox. Remember the bad old cop shows, where the boss kept
getting in the way and then some idiot made an unforced confession?
That happens (clumsily) in this awful rerun.
9 p.m., CBS. We can probably expect this one to be high-octane. The
team is racing in a “tough mudder” competition. It's also
interrogating stunt bikers, searching for the killer who escaped by
jumping his motorcycle across rooftops.
10 p.m., CBS. Danny joins the hunt for escaped convicts, after
learning that one of them is someone he helped wrongfully convict.