The 30th Annual Kennedy Center Honors
Filmmaker Martin Scorsese, pianist/conductor Leon Fleisher, pop musicians Brian Wilson and Diana Ross, and comedian Steve Martin are honorees at ceremonies recorded Dec. 2 in Washington, D.C. Robert De Niro, Yo-Yo Ma, Lyle Lovett, and Smokey Robinson are just a few of the many presenters and performers; Caroline Kennedy hosts. Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 9 p.m., CBS
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Fans of Lonesome Dove will find familiar action and humor in this miniseries adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s prequel to his Pulitzer Prize–winning Western novel. Steve Zahn and Karl Urban are credible as younger versions of the Texas Rangers first played by Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones; Val Kilmer and Rachel Griffiths make the most of juicy supporting roles. Sunday, Dec. 30, and Tuesday–Wednesday, Jan. 1–2, at 9 p.m., CBS
Pioneers of Television
This four-week series chronicling the development of important TV shows starts with “Sitcoms,” including I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. Many celebrities are on hand to comment, but the real stars are in clips from the vintage programs themselves. Wednesday, Jan. 2, at 8 p.m., PBS
Independent Lens: Today’s Man
Diagnosed at age 20 with Asperger’s syndrome, a disorder that renders him unable to read social cues and makes him prone to obsessions, Nicky Gottlieb is like a gifted child in a man’s body. This touching and candid film by his sister Lizzie chronicles his struggle to leave the shelter of his loving family. Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 10 p.m., PBS
The Complete Jane Austen: Persuasion
The first of four brand-new Austen adaptations features the appealing Sally Hawkins as a 27-year-old spinster whom fate offers a second chance at happiness. Touching romance mixes with Austen’s mockery of upper-class pretense, epitomized in a funny performance by Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Anthony Head. Sunday, Jan. 13, at 9 p.m., PBS
The Catherine Tate Show
A versatile comic actress, Tate resumes her sketch comedy series with her full contingent of bizarre characters, plus a few new ones. Friday, Dec. 28, at 9:20 p.m., BBC America
Great Performances: Carnegie Hall Celebrates Berlin
Simon Rattle conducts the Berlin Philharmonic in Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 9. An HD broadcast. Monday, Jan. 7, at 9 p.m., PBS
Republican Presidential Debate
Nine days before South Carolina’s Republican primary, Brit Hume will moderate a GOP debate from Myrtle Beach. Thursday, Jan. 10, Fox News Channel; check listings
All listings are Eastern time.
Show of the week
As the teeming urban epic The Wire enters its fifth and final season, Baltimore’s police continue their war on the city’s drug trade, but are hamstrung by the new mayor’s budget priorities. Meanwhile, cutbacks and politics loom large at the Baltimore Sun (where series creator David Simon worked for 13 years), as a new story line begins concerning a veteran city editor played by frequent Wire director Clark Johnson. A vast degree of richness, complexity, and authentic detail make this Peabody Award–winning series one of television’s finest shows ever. Its uncompromising vision of a paranoid universe in which heroes are scarce, surveillance is ubiquitous, and lies are the common currency rings all too true. Sunday, Jan. 6, at 9 p.m., HBO
Movies on TV
Tuesday, Dec. 25
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Macy’s department store Santa just might be the real thing in this holiday classic, starring Edmund Gwenn and 8-year-old Natalie Wood. 6 p.m., FMC
Friday, Dec. 28
Mississippi Burning (1988)
The 1964 murders of three civil-rights workers in Mississippi inspired this drama, which earned Gene Hackman a Best Actor Oscar nomination.
8:15 p.m., IFC
Tuesday, Jan. 1
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
David Bowie portrays an extraterrestrial visitor seduced from his mission
by earthly materialism in this surrealistic cult film. 10 p.m., Flix
Friday, Jan. 4
Children of Men (2006)
In 2027, a bitter ex-activist risks his life to save the last pregnant woman on Earth. Clive Owen stars in the topical sci-fi drama. 8 p.m., HBO
Sunday, Jan. 6
The Caine Mutiny (1954)
Humphrey Bogart’s performance as the unstable naval officer Captain Queeg was arguably his best. From the novel by Herman Wouk.
4 p.m., TCM
Friday, Jan. 11
The Good Shepherd (2006)
The genesis of the CIA is portrayed through the eyes of a young agent in this intelligent thriller. Robert De Niro directed; Matt Damon stars.
7 p.m., Cinemax
New on DVD
John Malkovich portrays Gustav Klimt, the Austrian painter whose incorporation of sexuality into his work brought him both fame and infamy, in this award-winning biodrama. (Not rated, $27)
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