A documentary about a 32-year-old album, “The Promise: The Making of ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’” (8 p.m., HBO) should be a treat for fans of “The Boss” and a bit of a mystery to everybody else.
“Promise” combines never-before-seen footage shot from 1976 to 1978 with contemporary interviews with Bruce Springsteen and members of the E Street band. Like too many musical stories of its time, “Promise” begins with a protracted lawsuit. But the legal hassle allowed Springsteen to take charge of his own sound, a painstaking process presented here at some length with many shots of Springsteen with his shirt off.
Springsteen has appeared on at least three HBO concert specials and the E Street Band’s links to the network run deeper still. “Little” Steven Van Zandt appears in many scenes of “Promise” as guitarist, arranger, friend and gadfly. Van Zandt is probably best known to HBO viewers as Silvio Dante from “The Sopranos,” who presided over the Bada Bing. As he did on “The Sopranos,” Van Zandt provides many moments of comic relief, a welcome departure in a film that, like its subject, takes itself very seriously.
• As widely reported, “My Generation” has become the second new show of the season to be canceled.
“My Generation” was a terrible show in many ways, but it was an attempt to cater to and in some ways explain an audience younger than 30. Most television shows depict teens and twentysomethings as dudes, dolts, Mean Girls or Gossip Girls, or randy and empty-headed “Jersey Shore” vulgarians. With the possible exception of “Army Wives,” few series have reflected the fact that hundreds of thousands of young people have served their country in two war zones, often at harrowing personal cost.
It’s interesting to note that the same weekend “My Generation” was deep-sixed by ABC, the Facebook-inspired movie “The Social Network” (about a college kid who revolutionizes the media landscape) was No. 1 at the box office. There’s clearly an audience for entertainment that takes young people seriously.
Tonight’s other highlights
• The Twins host the Yankees in the American League Baseball Divisional Playoffs (5:30 p.m., TBS). A game between the Braves and the Giants (8:30 p.m., time approximate) follows.
• Kansas State hosts Nebraska in college football action (6:30 p.m., ESPN).
• A New Jersey beach reveals the decomposed body of a party animal on “Bones” (7 p.m., Fox).
• Jack irks a Congresswoman (Queen Latifah) on “30 Rock” (7:30 p.m., NBC).
• A vampire and werewolf convention turns deadly on “CSI” (8 p.m., CBS).
• Andy dives into local theater on “The Office” (8 p.m., NBC).
• An event occurs on “the other side” on “Fringe” (7 p.m., Fox).
• “First 48” (8 p.m., A&E) follows a murder case in Texas and follows up (9 p.m.) on past cases.
• Todd plays matchmaker on “Outsourced” (8:30 p.m., NBC).
• A cult leader offers Jane insight on “The Mentalist” (9 p.m., CBS).
• Should “The Apprentice” (9 p.m., NBC) become the third show to be canceled this season?
A co-ed army battles an alien race of insects in director Paul Verhoeven’s violent 1997 satire “Starship Troopers” (9 p.m., Encore), a prescient look at service, citizenship and propaganda during wartime.