Archive for Wednesday, December 29, 2004

TBS embarks on a commercial endeavor

December 29, 2004


With every series in repeats tonight, TBS invites viewers to sample "The Funniest Commercials of the Year: 2004" (8 p.m., TBS). Kevin Nealon ("Saturday Night Live") hosts this one-hour roundup of 30-second spots from the United States and abroad. More than 50 commercials will be featured, including 10 chosen by viewers on an online poll.

The top 10 include a commercial "starring" director Martin Scorsese agonizing over his pictures at a one-hour photo; a Budweiser spot about a remarkably stoic football referee; and a British ad for Typhoo Tea that may remind some viewers of the deadpan documentary style of the BBC hit "The Office."

  • The 90-minute documentary "The Congregation" (8:30 p.m., PBS) focuses on the story of a single church to examine the social changes challenging centuries of tradition in the Methodist Church and other denominations.

Academy Award-winning filmmakers Alan and Susan Raymond spent more than two years with the members of a progressive United Methodist congregation in a Philadelphia suburb. After their minister of 37 years resigned, members were divided in their reaction to a new minister with a decidedly conservative approach to worship and social activism. As church attendance falls and the collection plate yields lower revenues, the church faces financial woes as well as a crisis of identity. Then the associate pastor announces that she is a practicing homosexual, an admission that may deprive her of her ministerial credentials. While her progressive congregation rallies around her, she faces a church trial.

The Raymonds' other films include the groundbreaking 1973 series "An American Family," which many consider the granddaddy of all reality TV shows. Their film "I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School" received an Oscar for best documentary in 1994.

  • Comedy Central offers a look back at the entire season of "South Park" on "South Park New Season Rewind" (8:30 p.m., Comedy Central). It's easy to rewind when your season is only seven episodes long.

Tonight's other highlights

  • A missing bookkeeper's murder leads to a pile of bodies on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (7 p.m., NBC).
  • Michael McKean guest stars as newspaperman Perry White on "Smallville" (7 p.m., WB). McKean ("A Mighty Wind") is married to "Smallville" regular Annette O'Toole.
  • On back-to-back episodes of "Lost" (ABC), Charlie tries to kick his drug habit (8 p.m.), Shannon's asthma worsens (9 p.m.).
  • Nelly, Alicia Keys, Ashanti, Snoop Dogg with Pharrell, Jadakiss with Anthony Hamilton, and Elephant Man, Beenie Man and Kevin Lyttle perform on a rebroadcast of "The Second Annual Vibe Awards" (7 p.m., UPN).
  • Kevin balks at double-dating on "King of Queens" (8 p.m., CBS.
  • A book by the ex-vice president (guest star Tim Matheson) contains political dynamite on "The West Wing" (8 p.m., NBC).
  • A tour bus yields a grisly souvenir on "CSI: NY" (9 p.m., CBS).
  • An antiwar activist is found slain on "Law & Order" (9 p.m., NBC).
  • A Scarlet O'Hara type trades places with an Earth mother on "Wife Swap" (9 p.m., ABC).
  • Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway share screen chemistry in the stylish 1968 heist drama "The Thomas Crown Affair" (10 p.m., Turner Classic Movies).

Series notes

Eric does something rash on "That '70s Show" (7 p.m., Fox) ... Separation anxiety on "Quintuplets" (7:30 p.m., Fox).

Children need discipline on "Nanny 911" (8 p.m., Fox) ... Get ready for the obligatory toga party episode of "Big Man on Campus" (8 p.m., WB) ... Lily's ex dangles an invite on "Center of the Universe" (8:30 p.m., CBS).

Late night

Colin Farrell and The Walkmen appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno hosts Matt Damon, Heidi Klum and Maroon 5 on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC) ... A behind-the-scenes documentary continues on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:05 a.m., ABC).

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