Encore, 8:00 p.m. ET
If you watched Saturday's AFI salute to Mel Brooks on TNT, you saw Clint Eastwood wincingly (and playfully) introduce a clip of this 1974 Brooks master work, which skewered the Western as it had never been skewered before. (And never has since.) Now here's the full-length article – the original 1974 comedy, co-written by Richard Pryor and starring Cleavon Little as a black sheriff appointed to a bigoted Old West town. Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn and Harvey Korman co-star, and excel.
TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET
Adapted from the Broadway play by Philip Barry, this 1938 George Cukor film is about a rich young woman (played by Doris Nolan) who has brought home her new fiancé, a dashing young man who insists he would rather do nothing for the next few years of his life, exploring and enjoying the world on “holiday,” rather than join the wealthy family’s business. This aggravates everyone except for the family rebel, a black-sheep sister who finds the young man’s attitude refreshingly laid-back. And with the man played by Cary Grant, and the rebel sister played by Katharine Hepburn, you can guess what path this Holiday is tempted to follow.
TNT, 9:00 p.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE: I wouldn’t normally recommend this series for a Best Bet, but there’s a little bit of TV history going on tonight. For its Season 3 premiere, Heather Locklear joins the cast – a move aimed at rejuvenating this show just as when she jump-started the original Melrose Place decades ago (and, more recently, tried to again, with the remake). On Franklin & Bash, she plays an attorney who’s the new boss of Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar). In the premiere, she joins them on the set of Piers Morgan’s CNN show (yes, he plays himself here), for a legal debate about nudity. Hope the Piers Morgan Tonight staff is well stocked with Purell for those chairs…
Comedy Central, 10:00 p.m. ET
SERIES RETURN: There hasn’t been a new episode of Futurama since last August, and it’s not clear whether these last-gasp fresh episodes, running until September, are a new final season or the final episodes of Season 7. Either way, it’s another example of how resilient and underappreciated this series has been, since it’s taken 14 years to clock seven seasons of shows – the TV equivalent of dog years. But Matt Groening and company’s other animated gem, this sci-fi Simpsons sibling, returns tonight with two new episodes: “2-D Blacktop” and “Fry and Leela’s Big Fling.” They’re both movie-franchise spoofs, of Fast & Furious and Planet of the Apes, respectively. And they’re both worth watching.
TV Land, 10:00 p.m. ET
LIVE TELECAST: To resume its Season 4 after a brief break, Hot in Cleveland
tonight presents a live telecast – well, live on the East Coast, anyway – with co-stars Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick all tackling the challenge of live television. So do recurring and special guest stars, including William Shatner. This episode not only is a bit of TV history: It echoes a bit of TV history. For my full-length preview, see Bianculli’s Blog.