What do you get when you take 50 kids from all walks of life, give them drums and ask them to pound away? The documentary series "The Leopards Take Manhattan: The Little Band that Roared" (6:15 p.m., HBO) follows the kids and their patient and sympathetic teacher, Diane Downs, as she channels an explosion of youthful enthusiasm and energy into something unique and remarkably accomplished. "The Leopards" is the final installment in "The Music in Me" series of films celebrating young talents.
After a grueling process that one student describes as "999 practices," the Leopards master the old Benny Goodman/Gene Krupa classic "Sing, Sing, Sing" and travel to New York City to perform before a discerning audience of Jazz buffs and musical professionals at the Jazz Educators Conference.
The gig would be a challenge for the most experienced artists, but at least one of the Leopards sees it as part of a series of wonderful adventures. "I've never flown on a plane, so this will be the first experience all the way for me."
¢ "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" (7 p.m., BBC America), featuring Gordon Ramsay, an internationally acclaimed chef with a blowtorch vocabulary, enters its fourth season. This British series was adapted for American audiences and shown on Fox during the fall.
"Nightmares" is one of many BBC series to make the leap across the pond. Some have traveled better than others. "The Office" has made a nice transition to American prime time, but an earlier NBC facsimile of the British comedy "Coupling" was a complete disaster.
Just last week, NBC announced plans to create an American version of "Top Gear," a witty British consumer guide to cars that features a talk show segment before a studio audience and unorthodox road tests of the latest autos. If you want to test drive "Top Gear" before NBC pounds out its domestic model, you can catch consecutive episodes of the series every Monday night (7 p.m.) on BBC America.
Tonight's other highlights
¢ Monica Vitti and Alain Delon star in "L'eclisse" (5:45 p.m., Sundance), director Michelangelo Antonioni's 1962 drama of contemporary alienation and isolation.
¢ A drunken driver survives arrest and a coma only to die in bed on "CSI: NY" (7 p.m., CBS).
¢ On two original episodes of "Chuck" (NBC), a foreign agent may be linked to Casey (7 p.m.), Capt. Awesome pops the question (9 p.m.).
¢ Excited to interview author Philip Roth, Betty learns that her subject is really a nobody with a famous name on "Ugly Betty" (7 p.m., ABC).
¢ A murder victim's gender is not easily determined on "CSI" (8 p.m., CBS).
¢ David Hyde Pierce ("Frasier") helps one team put its best foot forward on the Great White Way on "Celebrity Apprentice" (8 p.m., NBC).
¢ George and Izzie hit a challenging patch on "Grey's Anatomy" (8 p.m., ABC).
¢ The shop continues work on a bike for the Army National Guard on "American Chopper" (8 p.m., TLC). A repeat "Chopper" follows.
¢ Dee Snider stars as a creep who uses the Internet to attract gullible teens into his lair in the 1998 drama "Strangeland" (8 p.m., IFC).
¢ A two-hour "Biography" (8 p.m., Biography) from 2003 profiles Cher.
¢ A mother's desperation takes her south of the equator on "Without a Trace" (9 p.m., CBS).
Sharon Lawrence, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Corbin Bernsen and Carl Lewis star in the 2002 made-for-TV shocker "Atomic Twister" (8 p.m., Sci Fi), about a tornado's impact on a nuclear power plant.