Starved for smart television? Feast on “Restless” (8 p.m., Sundance), a two-part British miniseries based on a novel by William Boyd.
‘‘Restless” is a period piece — make that two period pieces — set in the wilderness of mirrors of international espionage, a shadow world where no one can be trusted and where transgressions are never forgotten.
Michelle Dockery may not be a household name, but many TV viewers know her as Lady Mary Crawley on “Downton Abbey.” Here she’s Ruth Gilmartin, a slightly bohemian Ph.D. candidate. The year is 1976, and Ruth is a single mother who discovers that everything she knows about her own mother, Sally (Charlotte Rampling), is a lie.
It turns out Sally is not a nice British lady but a Russian woman, Eva Delectorskaya (Hayley Atwell), who assumed a new identity in 1939 to work for British intelligence. “Restless” flashes back to the war years as Ruth learns more about her mother’s fantastic and dangerous past and her work with a dashing English officer (Rufus Sewell) who also became her lover.
“Restless” concludes Dec. 14.
• More than 70 years after the event, television commemorates the surprise attack that finally plunged America into World War II. “Pearl Harbor Declassified” (9 p.m., Military) takes the limited film evidence from Dec. 7, 1941, and uses the latest technology to offer the clearest possible frame-by-frame documentation of the first 15 minutes of the stunning attack. This new special follows two repeats of the 2006 documentary “Myths of Pearl Harbor” (7 and 8 p.m., Military Channel).
Hollywood reflections on Pearl Harbor include the 1953 melodrama “From Here to Eternity” (2:15 p.m., TCM) and the big-budget 1970 war movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (4:30 p.m., TCM).
Tonight’s other highlights
• A business owner mulls the plight of returning veterans on “Undercover Boss” (7 p.m., CBS).
• A man’s swollen face is just the beginning of his woes as “Monsters Inside Me” (7 p.m., Animal Planet) explores a parasite that threatens to shut down his organs.
• Peter takes the battle to the observers on “Fringe” (8 p.m., Fox).
• The holidays and hockey take center stage on “Phineas and Ferb: For Your Ice Only; Happy New Year!” (8 p.m., Disney).