Ricky Gervais turns up in the oddest places. The creator of “The Office” and host of the Golden Globes has co-produced the new travel series “An Idiot Abroad” (8:30 p.m., Science). It stars Karl Pilkington, the self-styled ordinary guy given to absurd theories about life who appears on the podcasts of “The Ricky Gervais Show” adapted into animation on HBO. Pilkington doesn’t always make much sense, but there is a weird logic to his ramblings.
With “Idiot,” Gervais and his co-writer and producer Stephen Merchant have decided to send Pilkington on an eight-episode trip to see the Seven Wonders of the World — and then some. So how will this extraordinarily uninformed and uneducated fellow react to Egypt’s Great Pyramids or the Great Wall of China? Gervais, who obviously enjoys the overlap of reality and cartoons, describes Pilkington as a “real-life Homer Simpson.”
Gervais courted controversy for his remarks at last Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremonies and making jokes that some felt went too far. I thought Gervais did a good job of deflating his guests’ sense of self-importance. None of his comments were inconsistent with jokes he’s been writing and making throughout his career.
Gervais has taken heat from some Hollywood types and this has earned him the embrace of some conservative writers and bloggers who enjoy attacking an entertainment industry they consider “elitist.” But Gervais does not save his barbs for Hollywood pieties alone. He mocks piety itself, as he did in his closing remarks at the Golden Globes: “And I want to thank God ... For making me an atheist.”
Tonight’s other highlights
• Will Ferrell and Jon Heder star in the 2007 skating spoof “Blades of Glory” (7 p.m., ABC).
• Detained students get a visit from an ancient raptor on “Primeval” (8 p.m., BBC America).
• Kim Tyler, Frances Fisher, Markie Post and Ryan Battle star in the 2011 romantic comedy “Backyard Wedding” (8 p.m., Hallmark).
• Scheduled on “48 Hours Mystery” (9 p.m., CBS): did a ”charming“ girl connives someone into murder?
• Matt LeBlanc and Donald Sutherland chat on “Graham Norton Show” (9 p.m., BBC America).
A blind man is the only witness to a kidnapping on “CSI: Miami” (7 p.m., CBS) ... Chuck amok on “Chuck” (7 p.m., NBC) ... On back-to-back episodes of “Cops” (Fox), on foot (7 p.m.); behind the wheel (7:30 p.m.) ... Jane tangles with a professional psychic on “The Mentalist” (8 p.m., CBS) ... A cult killer on “Law & Order: Los Angeles” (8 p.m., NBC) ... John Walsh hosts “America’s Most Wanted” (8 p.m., Fox) ... A missing victim on “Law & Order: SVU” (9 p.m., NBC).