Prime-time ‘Peanuts’ falls short
The Peanuts gang returns in the new animated special “Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown” (8 p.m., ABC). “Traded” is set in Charlie Brown’s field of nightmares — the baseball diamond.
At his best, cartoonist Charles Schulz offered parables about futility, self-esteem and redemption in his four-panel universe. Unfortunately, the posthumously released “Lucy” does not reflect “Peanuts” at the top of its game. While gentle humor abounds, “Lucy” never reaches the poignant heights of classics like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Maybe that’s why ABC chose to air this special during the dog days of late-summer programming.rThe fashion makeover series “What Not to Wear” (8 p.m., TLC) returns for a second season. Fashion editor Clinton Kelly will join host Stacy London to help shepherd the tragically dowdy through a minefield of fashion faux pas. Viewers may recognize Kelly from his work on Q2, an offshoot of the shopping network QVC.
- Six urban dwellers face the heat, the sweat and the vicissitudes of animal husbandry on the four-part series “Cowboy U” (8 p.m., CMT). At the end of the series, only one competitor will be able to call himself a cowboy.
Tonight’s other highlights
- Scheduled on “Dateline” (7 p.m., NBC): profiles of four unemployed workers in an economy that can’t seem to produce new jobs.
- A chess lesson on “Bernie Mac” (7 p.m., Fox).
- A jet’s maintenance officer faces charges on “JAG” (8 p.m., CBS).
- An out-of-control actress (Sherilyn Fenn) is accused of endangering a minor on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (9 p.m., NBC).
- A doomed inmate may hold the fate of a kidnapped officer in his hands on “Boomtown” (9 p.m., NBC).