The award season begins in earnest with the "64th Annual Golden Globe Awards" (7 p.m., NBC).
There was a time when the Golden Globes were an international joke, but that time has passed. Then came a time when the Globes were a guilty pleasure, a chance to watch celebrities vie for a largely meaningless award and the possibility that some of them might drink too much and get plastered in the process. But that, too, was a long time ago.
Now the Globes are taken seriously. They represent an early onset of Oscar fever. And we all know how important that is!
Why am I yawning?
In many ways, the Golden Globes have followed a celebrity trajectory not unlike that of Donald Trump. In the 1980s, both the gilded Donald and the Golden Globes were seen as a symbol of zircon excess. They seemed perfectly suited for the era's emerging tabloid culture. Trump conducted his divorce proceedings on the front page. Globe voters appeared to be on the take, and they bestowed their highest honors on Pia Zadora. But eras end and ersatz infamy subsides.
After a decade or so in purgatory, both the Globes and the Donald returned, stronger than ever. In fact, both blossomed on NBC. But that, too, seems a long time ago. Has anyone really cared about "The Apprentice" since Omarosa's last tirade? And can anyone remember who won Golden Globes last year? Or recall anything fun or outrageous or scandalous about last year's Globes? Both "The Apprentice" and the Globes seem to be about publicity for publicity's sake. As such, both ventures have a hollow, been-there-done-that feeling to them.
Some of you might say I'm being too harsh and that the Globes recognize excellence in movies and television. But if you're looking for excellence on television, you'll be watching "24" tonight and reading about the Golden Globes in tomorrow's paper.
¢ At the risk of repeating myself, if you remotely care about "24" (7 p.m., and 8 p.m., Fox) don't dare miss tonight's two episodes, particularly the second. It's no exaggeration to say that everything changes in the last 10 minutes of tonight's "24."
¢ The Discovery Channel launches two new series they describe as "adrenaline-packed." Hosted by ex-Navy SEAL Richard "Mack" Machowicz, "Futureweapons" (8 p.m., Discovery) travels to weapons facilities, factories and research centers to showcase emerging military hardware and technology. Some are already in use in Iraq and Afghanistan.
¢ Two helpings of the half-hour series "Stunt Junkies" (9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.) follow, exploring the tricks, the skill and the science behind these dangerous illusions.
Tonight's other highlights
¢ Ted's folks divulge some secrets on "How I Met Your Mother" (7 p.m., CBS)
¢ A cautionary tale on "The Class" (7:30 p.m., CBS)
¢ A birthday surprise on "All of Us" (7:30 p.m., CW)
¢ Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn star in director David Lean's 1962 epic "Lawrence of Arabia" (7 p.m., TCM). Tonight's selection of movies on TCM has been chosen by guest programmer Chevy Chase, who appears with Robert Osbourne to introduce each film.
¢ A repeat "American Experience" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) profiles Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
¢ A young woman named Cher has only two weeks to make her bat mitzvah live up to the hideous material excess worthy of "My Super 16" (8 p.m., MTV).
¢ While discussing old flames, Brian neglects to tell Bridget about Marjorie on "What About Brian" (9 p.m., ABC).
¢ Ryan Adams appears on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS)
¢ George Lopez, Giuliana DePandi and My Chemical Romance appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:05 a.m., ABC)