Archive for Monday, November 30, 2009

Despair reigns in return of popular A&E series

November 30, 2009

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It’s interesting — if a little obvious — that a medium as omnipresent and ordinary as television rarely presents everyday life. Entertainment tends to work the extreme angles, yo-yoing from saccharine sentimentality to darkest despair.

Tonight is no exception. In stark contrast to the happy holiday onslaught that has already achieved gale force, A&E reintroduces two of its most popular “nonfiction” series, one devoted to addiction and the other, a disturbed compulsion to consume.

“Intervention” (8 p.m., A&E) enters its eighth season with the harrowing tale of a Hollywood extra who was living in high style until she contracted a rare ailment fraught with joint dislocations. Doctors prescribed a drug called Fentanyl, a painkiller described here as 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Her subsequent addiction and her friends’ and family’s efforts to get her off the pills inspire rather fantastic and convoluted conversations about the nature and origins of pain itself.

“Hoarders” (9 p.m., A&E) enters its sophomore season with the tale of Augustine, a mother who lost her son Jason to protective services because of her persistent collecting. After years of going without heat, water or appliances, she was subject to a court-ordered cleanup. Her only hope may be the grown-up Jason, who apparently escaped her life of madness and filth just in time.

And if that’s not “real” enough for you, spend the night on A&E’s sister station History for a marathon of “Pawn Stars” (11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Tuesday, The History Channel).

• Nothing goes better with good movies than fava beans and a nice Chianti. Anthony Hopkins, famous for playing Hannibal Lecter, serves as guest programmer on Turner Classic Movies tonight, discussing the films that inspire him, including “The Lady from Shanghai” (7 p.m., TCM), “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (8:45 p.m.) “The Grapes of Wrath” (11 p.m.) and “Rear Window” (1:15 a.m.).

Tonight’s other highlights

• Mario Lopez provides the voice of “The Dog Who Saved Christmas” (6 p.m., Family).

• Unexpected visitors arrive on “Heroes” (7 p.m., NBC).

• A diagnosis becomes a betting matter on “House” (7 p.m., Fox).

• Boris Karloff narrates the 1966 animated special “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (7 p.m., ABC).

• The voices of Mike Myers and his cast-mates Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas and others, animate the 2007 holiday special “Shrek the Halls,” (7:30 p.m., ABC).

• The New Orleans Saints host the New England Patriots on “Monday Night Football” (7:30 p.m., ESPN).

• A tainted batch of narcotics wreaks havoc on the addict population on “Trauma” (8 p.m., NBC).

• A case takes the team to Las Vegas on “Lie to Me” (8 p.m., Fox).

• A sister looks for her long lost brother on “Find My Family” (8 p.m., ABC).

• A victim without memories proves difficult on “CSI: Miami” (9 p.m., CBS).

• A murder victim is discovered tangled like a kite in a tree on “Castle” (9 p.m., ABC).

Cult choice

• An outlaw (Guy Pearce) hunts down one brother to save another from the gallows in the 2005 drama “The Proposition” (8:35 p.m., IFC).

Series notes

Ted and Barney act macho on “How I Met Your Mother” (7 p.m., CBS) … Brooke can’t take it any longer on “One Tree Hill” (7 p.m., CW).

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