TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET
This 1975 movie, produced by Michael Douglas, took the role that Michael’s dad, Kirk Douglas, long had wanted to play himself, and gave it to Jack Nicholson – who was brilliant in it. But so is almost everyone in this Milos Forman movie, from Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched to Danny DeVito and Christopher Lloyd, later reunited on Taxi, as inmates at the lunatic asylum where Nicholson’s Randall McMurphy voluntarily commits himself. Shockingly good film, from start to finish.
NBC, 8:20 p.m. ET
From this point in the football season, and going forward, any team that’s still undefeated deserves to be watched. Tonight, it’s the 10-0 New England Patriots against one of the toughest remaining opponents on its schedule, the 8-2 Denver Broncos. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady could be in danger of letting his perfect record to date go to his head – but he’s not likely to suffer from an overinflated ego. If anything, he prefers to under-inflate.
PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET
Downton Abbey is returning, as usual, shortly after the calendar turns to the New Year. But this year, before it returns, PBS is setting the scene, and the table, by presenting a retrospective of this series’ first five seasons. If you’ve never seen Downton Abbey, consider this special a 90-minute collection of Spoiler Alerts. Otherwise, enjoy. Check local listings.
AMC, 9:00 p.m. ET
MIDSEASON FINALE: So last week’s episode ended with one of the towers collapsing, threatening to delay a long-awaited reunion – and threatening just about everything and everyone else in the process. Tonight’s episode is the midseason finale, a point in each season’s narrative when the body count, traditionally, has risen dramatically.
CBS, 9:30 p.m. ET
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, as Jason, has been a charismatic, funny and likable replacement for the departed Kalinda as a resourceful private investigator. Alicia (Julianna Margulies) already has leaned on him strongly – and tonight, she considers doing something more than leaning, and others are noticing their mutual chemistry. With her husband running for President, that's not necessarily a smart move...