For good and bad, and sometimes worse, television is rigidly predictable. Not only when it comes to plots, but the format and length of its offerings. Sitcoms uncoil like clockwork within a 22-minute frame. Crime series show us a victim, some clues, an investigation that may include a few red herrings and even a trial before a tidy resolution — all in only 50 minutes.
The little, offbeat movie “Picture Paris” (8 p.m., HBO) breaks quite a few rules. For starters, it’s narrated entirely in subtitled French.
And it follows, and lampoons, the kind of stories found in movies like “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Eat Pray Love” — gorgeous romantic travelogues filled with stunning scenery, celebrating a woman of a certain age, played here by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who rediscovers life, love, lust and fulfillment amid splendor and culture.
• Speaking of breaking formulas, NBC offers viewers a sneak peek at its new comedy “1600 Penn” (8:30 p.m.) that officially debuts in January. Nobody told me if I’m supposed to review it now or wait until its debut. So consider this my sneak review: It’s pretty dumb.
And intentionally dumb. It’s “The West Wing” played for broad laughs, starring Bill Pullman as the hapless dad who just happens to be president.
• “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (6 p.m., ABC Family).
• “DreamWorks Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury” (7 p.m., Fox).
• “Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas” (7:30 p.m., Fox).
• “Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown” (8 p.m., Fox).
Tonight’s other highlights
• The last two finalists perform on “The Voice” (7 p.m., NBC).
• Stars and crew glance back at the “Gossip Girl” (7 p.m., CW) series finale.
• The Tennessee Titans host the New York Jets on “Monday Night Football” (7 p.m., ESPN).
• “The Layover With Anthony Bourdain” (8 p.m., Travel) visits Toronto.
• The son of a missing man faces unique peril on “Hawaii Five-0” (9 p.m., CBS).
• Howie Mandel hosts the finale of the holiday game show “Take It All” (9 p.m., NBC,).
• Storage units can be murder on “Castle” (9 p.m., ABC).
• “Tiny Tonight! 2012: Year in Review” (9 p.m., VH1) reflects on the year’s popular culture.