Duncan is having the hardest time adjusting to a new school. Could it be because his father’s Godzilla? OK, technically, his dad is the 120-foot-tall King of the Kaiju, a race of ancient angry reptiles bent on destroying humanity. But why get picky?
That, in a nutshell, is the underlying story of “Firebreather” (6 p.m., Cartoon Network), a movie-length CGI thriller debuting tonight. Based on a popular comic book, “Firebreather” often seems like a game of “The Sims” come to life, but with many cinematic “camera” angles and no shortage of man-on-dragon violence.
For all of its innovative animation, the basic story borrows many familiar elements from Superman (a distant dad as the source of superpowers and even a fortress of solitude) to Archie (Duncan seems torn between a blonde and a brunette). You just can’t top the classics.
l In other computer-generated-animation news, NBC recycles the 2009 special “Merry Madagascar” (7 p.m., NBC). An obvious ad for the movie franchise, this is one holiday special that dispenses with character development.
There’s no apparent distinction between the lion and the zebra except that one clearly has the voice of Ben Stiller and the other, Chris Rock. They’re ruthlessly efficient wisecrack-dispensing devices, but that’s about it.
And on a similar theme, “Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special” (7:30 p.m., NBC) features the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu and David Cross. Is that a cast or a Hollywood roast?
OK, we may not have been treated to the most expensive and lavish November sweeps treats, but at least we’ve been introduced to some of our favorite characters’ mothers. Last night on “Glee,” Carol Burnett guest-starred as the woman who brought the foul-tempered Sue Sylvester into the world. On tonight’s “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC), Celia Weston arrives to play Cameron’s mom, a bighearted, brassy dame who makes Mitchell just a little bit nervous. Weston, best known for her role as Jolene Hunnicutt on “Alice,” was most recently cast on the Jason Lee cop drama “Memphis Beat,” where she plays — naturally — his mother.
l Cynthia McFadden hosts tonight’s “Primetime: Celebrity Plastic Surgery Gone Too Far?” (9 p.m., ABC). You know when a tabloid newspaper or newscast wonders whether something has “gone too far” that we’re going to see a whole lot more of it.
Tonight’s other highlights
• An old case haunts Chance on “Human Target” (7 p.m., Fox).
• Pounds are shed and hair let down on “The Biggest Loser: Where Are They Now? Special” (8 p.m., NBC).
• David Hyde Pierce hosts an 80th birthday celebration for composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim on “Great Performances” (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings).
• Nick defends an exotic performer on “The Defenders” (9 p.m., CBS).
• The Ocean Beach mystery comes into focus on “Terriers” (9 p.m., FX).