By Mike Hughes TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
Gannett News Service
"Bob Newhart: Unbuttoned," 8 p.m., PBS, in the "American Masters" series. In a world that screams for our attention, Bob Newhart is a low-volume comic. He pauses, listens, stammers. This superb profile shows the touches he picked up from Jack Benny; it shows the quiet, Midwestern approach shared by Tim Conway and others. Newhart was a Chicago accountant who observed and satirized the mundane world around him. The first time he worked in a nightclub was to cut his album; it jumped to No. 1 in sales. He starred in a half-dozen series, two of which became TV classics. This documentary ranges from the disc jockey (Dan Sorkin) who first played his material to his wife, his co-stars and fellow comedians. It's a rich portrait, with enough clips to keep you laughing.
"Inked," 6 p.m., A&E; and "Miami Ink," 9 p.m., TLC. Remember when we expected cable to enrich our lives with fresh choices? One choice this hour is which tattoo parlor we want to visit during a reality show. A&E is in Las Vegas; TLC is in Miami.
"The Hunt For Red October" (1990), 6 p.m., Spike TV. Here's a smart submarine drama, sharply directed by John McTiernan. It's from a Tom Clancy novel, with Alec Baldwin playing the same intelligence agent later played by Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. He eyes a Russian officer (Sean Connery) who may defect.
"So You Think You Can Dance" debut, 7 p.m., Fox. The "American Idol" producers have a new reality competition. This time, the field is dance; even solo performers will have to learn to work with a partner, in all styles. First, however, we get the auditions; expect to see everything from break dancers to belly dancers.
"The Cut," 7 p.m., CBS. It's reality-competition overload tonight, with CBS and Fox shows colliding. Tonight's "Cut" has design teams creating a look for two punk rock bands. To prepare, they live with the bands.
"Criss Angel: Mindfreak" debut, 7 p.m., A&E. The hunky-looking young illusionist is shown performing his tricks in public places.
"She's All That" (1999), 8 p.m., ABC Family. Right now, Rachael Leigh Cook is starring in TNT's dead-serious mini-series "Into the West." Before seeing the next episode on Friday, catch this movie, with her breakthrough performance. The story is a so-so, teen variation on "Pygmalion," but the stars are first-rate. Cook is the introspective artist, devoid of social skills; Freddie Prinze Jr. is the big shot who says he can transform her.
"Lost," 9 p.m., ABC. Sawyer may be withholding much-needed medication from Shannon. In this rerun's flashbacks, we learn about his troubled past.
"CSI: NY," 9 p.m., CBS. A woman has been killed with a wooden stake in her heart.
"Venus and Serena: For Real" debut, 10 p.m., ABC Family. Here's a mildly interesting reality show, looking at Venus and Serena Williams, the sisters who are tennis stars. They're a likable pair, even when their settings working out, dining with friends, and going to an awards show are rather undramatic.