By Mike Hughes
Gannett News Service
By Mike Hughes
"Kennedy Center Honors," 8 p.m., CBS. Each year, this show reminds us how good a tribute can be. Beautiful little films and eloquent little speeches trace large lives. Then comes the music, often with surprises. The Dolly Parton tribute has classic country stars (Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers), but it also has Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain and Jessica Simpson. The Smokey Robinson tribute ranges from Stevie Wonder to young Jonny Lang. The Andrew Lloyd Webber tribute has the leading ladies from his musicals — Sarah Brightman, Betty Buckley, Christine Ebersole and newcomer Elena Roger. The Steven Spielberg one includes the United States Army Chorus. Then there's the tribute to conductor Zubin Mehta: His entire Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was secretly flown into town. That's something you don't see on a bottom-budget awards show.
"House," 7 and 8 p.m., Fox. The first rerun has Dr. House dealing with a boy who insists he was tortured by aliens. The second is a doubly terrific episode: The case itself — an oddly similar malady for a young woman and her husband — is fascinating; just as important, this introduces the patient (David Morse), who creates major complications this season.
"Tom Brokaw Reports: In the Shadow of the American Dream," 7 p.m., NBC. Many reports on illegal immigration might visit border towns; instead, this one goes to the Colorado Rockies. Mexican immigrants have flocked to jobs in Roaring Fork Valley between Aspen and Vail; Brokaw views the effect.
"Nova: Underwater Dream Machine," 8 p.m., PBS. Peter Robbins has dreamed of a ship like Jules Verne's fictional Nautilus — a submarine with vast windows to view the ocean. After budgeting $1.5 million, he starts his project. Despite slow spells in the middle, this is an interesting documentary.
"Big Day," 8 and 8:30 p.m., ABC. Here are two more new episodes of this dandy comedy series, which outlines one hectic wedding day. In the first episode, the couple's dance lesson hits a glitch. In the second, the planner has been fired and the rings have been lost.
"Boston Legal," 9 p.m., ABC. This reruns the episode that introduced Craig Bierko as the firm's new lawyer.
"My Boys," 8 and 8:30 p.m., TBS. In a change of plans, TBS has decided to air the final new episodes over the next three days then make new ones. That's good news, because this low-key comedy is immensely likable. The show centers on Jordana Spiro as P.J., a sports writer in a mostly male world. In tonight's first episode, a good one, her brother (Jim Gaffigan) parties when his wife is gone. In the second episode, P.J.'s eyed by the handsome owner (Colin Ferguson) of a trendy nightclub.