Viewers who can’t wait for the sixth season of “Mad Men” to arrive can console themselves with the season premiere of “The Hour” (8 p.m., BBC America). Set in 1957 in the London studio of a struggling news program, “The Hour” is filled with period fashions, habits (smoking and drinking) and attitudes (sexism galore and adultery).
Much like Peggy on “Mad Men,” news manager Bel Rowley (Romola Garai, “The Crimson Petal and the White”) is a competent woman overlooked and disrespected by the males in upper management. This second season brings the prickly and eccentric new head of news, Randall Brown (Peter Capaldi, “The Thick of It”), who immediately destroys any vestige of Bel’s authority. It also marks the return of Freddie Lyon (Ben Whishaw, “Skyfall”), a slightly dreamy and idealistic visionary who sees their program, “The Hour,” as a place to break rules and push boundaries. His co-host, Hector Madden (Dominic West, “The Wire”), a glibly charming alcoholic, uses his television celebrity as a means to pick up women and cheat on his gorgeous and sophisticated wife.
‘‘The Hour” will appeal to patient viewers. It takes a bit getting used to, particularly the accents and slang. At first, I thought subtitles might be in order. But acquired tastes are often the longest lasting and most satisfying.
Tonight’s other highlights:
• Al Roker hosts “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” (7 p.m.).
• The Peanuts gang learns the lessons of the holidays in the 1965 special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (7 p.m., ABC).
• The Huntress arrives on “Arrow” (7 p.m., CW, TV-14).
• Mitch and Cam crusade for an endangered tree on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC).
• A car becomes a grave for a mysterious stranger on “CSI” (9 p.m., CBS).
• Marshall thinks Juliette and Rayna can make beautiful music together on “Nashville” (9 p.m., ABC).
• Sister Mary Eunice senses a new evil presence on “American Horror Story: Asylum” (9 p.m., FX). When someone possessed by the devil thinks things are getting out of hand, you’re in trouble!
• A new baby changes the equation on “Hot in Cleveland” (9 p.m., TV Land).
• Fran must make a choice on “Happily Divorced” (9:30 p.m., TV Land).
— Copyright 2012 United Feature Syndicate, distributed by Universal Uclick