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Archive for Friday, September 16, 2011

Another season of ‘Star Wars’ clones on tap

September 16, 2011

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So many cartoon series resemble “Star Wars,” you have to admire the Cartoon Network for offering up the real thing. Or at least the animated version. “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (7 p.m.) returns for a fourth season.

As action commences, the Jedi must help the residents of the delicious-sounding kingdom of Mon Calamari against a Separatist uprising. Since this cartoon is completely sanctioned by the George Lucas fantasy empire, there are 2-D renderings of all of your favorite creatures, including R2-D2. It appears that a Samuel L. Jackson likeness has been thrown in for good measure. Look for plenty of action in this underwater battle epic. Just don’t expect SpongeBob to join the seafood medley.

• “The Contenders: They Lost the Election But Changed Political History” (7 p.m., C-SPAN) looks at the men who ran unsuccessfully for president but still left their mark on American history.

Now in its second week, “Contenders” offers a live conversation about James G. Blaine, who lost a rather close election to Grover Cleveland in 1884.

Over the next weeks, “Contenders” will look at candidates who lost squeakers (Charles E. Hughes and Hubert Humphrey), as well as those (Al Smith, Adlai Stevenson and Barry Goldwater) who were buried in landslides. The series will spend three programs on third-party candidates (Eugene Debs, George Wallace and Ross Perot) who helped change the political landscape.

I hope somebody from the History Channel is watching this. Because this is real history. Tonight the History Channel takes a break from “Ancient Aliens” to air an original episode of “American Restoration” (9 p.m.), a series about finding and fixing artifacts with links to important events in the past. But far too many programs on the so-called History Channel are not only lacking in history, they promote a belief in superstition and slipshod conspiracy mongering that is hostile to the notion of serious thought.

As I announced some weeks ago, since the History Channel doesn’t want to deal with real history, I am inviting readers to come up with a new name for the History Channel. Please share your suggestions with me at kevin.tvguy gmail.com, and I will discuss them in a column at the end of the month.

• The CW offers viewers a second chance to catch two new series. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and featuring a high-concept plot about twins, disappearance and deception, “Ringer” (7 p.m.) has some potential.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Note: Listings may be affected by local sports coverage.

• Scheduled on “48 Hours” (7 p.m., CBS): Students contend with bullying at school and with social media.

• The 2011 ALMA Awards (7 p.m., NBC) honor achievements of Latinos in the popular arts.

• The guys wonder if skateboarding and aquariums mix on “Tanked” (8 p.m., Animal Planet).

• “20/20” (9 p.m., ABC) begins a new season.

• A teen goes missing in the woods on “Haven” (9 p.m., Syfy).

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