The Mayan calendar was so 2012. “Doomsday Volcanoes” on “NOVA” (8 p.m., PBS) recalls the 2010 eruption of an unpronounceable volcano in Iceland. Actually, it was called Eyjafjallajokull. And if you get that as a crossword puzzle clue, more power to you.
As you may recall, Eyjafjallajokull filled the skies over much of the Northern Hemisphere with smoke, grit and debris, forcing the cancellation of trans-Atlantic flights and stranding hundreds of thousands of people.
Eyjafjallajokull (I’m getting the hang of it!) was put on the media’s back burner when a BP oil rig blew up off the Gulf Coast. But the one-two punch of both stories gave many people (or at least me) the impression that we were entering a strange new era when more extreme climate and weather events would literally rock our world.
According to “NOVA,” the 2010 eruption was small potatoes compared to the destructive potential of Hekla and Laki, two other Icelandic volcanoes that are as much as 10 times bigger than Eyjafjallajokull. A second “NOVA” presentation, “Life on Fire” (10 p.m.), examines how European nations are preparing for such potentially cataclysmic events.
Tonight’s other highlights:
• Deathstroke descends on “Arrow” (7 p.m., CW).
• Garden State homeowners laid low by Hurricane Sandy get a much-needed renovation on “Cousins on Call” (7 p.m., HGTV).
• Florida and Louisville meet in the Sugar Bowl (7:30 p.m., ESPN).
• A priest’s assault puts a damper on holiday cheer on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (8 p.m., NBC).
• Competitive fundraising on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC).
• The team prepares a corruption story with major consequences on “The Hour” (8 p.m., BBC America).
• North Pole, Alaska, becomes the scene of mass murder on “Ice Cold Killers” (8 p.m., ID).
• Cruz wants to come clean on “Chicago Fire” (9 p.m., NBC).
• A glance back at Rayna and Juliette’s overlapping sagas on “Nashville” (9 p.m., ABC).
• The monsignor confronts the devil on “American Horror Story: Asylum” (9 p.m., FX).
• An angry neighbor is less than tickled on “Moonshiners” (9 p.m., Discovery).