Newark may only be about 40 exits on the parkway from the Jersey Shore, but the excellent true-life documentary series “Brick City” (7 p.m., Sundance) is a million miles from “Jersey Shore.” Set in New Jersey’s biggest city and a place that has become a metaphor for urban violence and decay, “Brick City” follows the city’s young mayor, Cory Booker, and his aides; the embattled police director Garry McCarthy; and various residents and activists who have their beefs with both men and their policies.
“City” follows Booker during the nitty-gritty of budget meetings and during some of his more camera-friendly moments, such as when he goes running with young police recruits and New Jersey’s then-governor Jon Corzine. The first episode follows Booker as he joins with President Barack Obama to campaign for Corzine only to see his opponent, Republican Chris Christie, triumph. Telegenic in very different ways than Booker, Christie also appears in the film as the men from different parties try to cooperate.
The film also follows the ups and downs of a former gang member who continues to fight to stay out of prison even as he mentors young men to stay out of gangs.
Newark, N.J., may not be everybody’s idea of a destination, but “Brick City” is almost impossible to stop watching once you’ve begun.
• The Betty White comeback continues with “The Lost Valentine” (8 p.m., CBS). She plays the devoted widow of a World War II veteran discovered by a spunky reporter (Jennifer Love Hewitt).
• “Counterterror NYC” (7 p.m., National Geographic) examines how the nation’s biggest city prepares for the worst before big events like the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, the U.S. Tennis Open and New Years Eve in Times Square.
• Stockard Channing narrates “Kennedy’s Home Movies” (8 p.m., TLC), a collection of clips and stills of three generations of the expansive clan at the center of American politics and pop culture for more than half a century. The accent here is on family togetherness and a certain trait of stoicism in the face of political triumph and sudden early death.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (6 p.m., CBS): the elusive Jaguar; Wikileaker Julian Assange.
• Snowboarding dominates the concluding night of the Winter X Games (6 p.m., ESPN).
• The best football players not participating in next week’s Super Bowl match between the Packers and the Steelers will appear in the NFL Pro Bowl (6 p.m., Fox).
• Nicolas Cage stars in the 2007 conspiracy thriller “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” (7 p.m., NBC).
• Oscar handicappers should not miss the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award (7 p.m., TNT and TBS).
• A breath of fresh heir changes the social dynamics on the conclusion of the four part miniseries “Downton Abbey” on “Masterpiece Mystery” (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings).
• Beverly and Sean try to save Matt from a bout of bad publicity on “Episodes” (8:30 p.m., Showtime).