TV column for Sunday, Jan. 14


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Masterpiece: Victoria” season-opener, 9-11 p.m., PBS.

The first season saw
an ill-prepared 18-year-old become Queen Victoria, ruler of an
empire. Now she's 21, with the first of her nine children. Her
husband and aides want to shield her from the outside world ... which
has big problems. British troops are trying a futile retreat from
Afghanistan.

Richly crafted,
“Victoria” gives us a queen who tries hard – sometimes failing.
To help the domestic silk producers, she holds a ball in which
everyone wears silk. The image – England's one-percenters, dressing
expensively during a time of poverty – is brutal for her image ...
but elegant for TV viewers.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Family Guy,” 9 p.m. Fox,

In its 16tth season,
“Family Guy” trails only “The Simpsons,” as the
longest-lasting half-hour comedy in TV history. Now here's its 300th
episode.

We expect something
substantial; soon, a major character has literally ripped another to
shreds. (Did we mention that one is a dog and the other is a teddy
bear?) That leads to a mixture of emotion and goofiness. There's an
erratic, stop-and-start nature, with enough fairly good moments to
hold us.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Trophy,” 9 p.m. ET and PT, CNN, barring breaking
news.

Back in Teddy
Roosevelt's day, big-game hunting was a two-way challenge. Today,
this well-detailed documentary says, people can buy vacations that
seem to include a sure kill. They can buy four of the “big five”
-- lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant – for $130,000; the fifth
(rhino) is $350,000.

Some want more; one
woman groans that her husband won't let her bag a giraffe. “He says
it's too expensive and we don't have room in our house.” There are
alternate proposals, including one to outsmart poachers by ranching
rhinos, removing a horn (that's $250,000 in Vietnam) every two years.

Other choices
include:

Football, 1 p.m. ET,
CBS and 4:30 p.m., Fox. The Steelers host the Jaguars and then the
Vikings host the Saints. Next week, today's winners face Saturday's
winners, for spots in the Super Bowl.

“The Simpsons,”
8 p.m., Fox. Feeling that the end of the world is near, Mr. Burns has
everyone tested to see who's worthy of being saved. Among the
Simpsons, there are surprises.

“Ride Along”
(2014), 9-11 p.m., NBC. With a hole in its schedule, NBC inserts a
Kevin Hart comedy.

“Last Man on
Earth,” 9:30 p.m., Fox. In what's called the “winter finale,”
Karl (Fred Armisen) – who was in prison when the virus spread -- is
introduced to the rest of the group.

“Madame
Secretary,” 10 p.m., CBS. Here's a familiar-sounding story: When
the president threatens Russia with military force, officials worry
about his mental state.

“The Chi,” 10
p.m., CBS. Last week ended with a jolt: Coogie, a charismatic kid,
had found a teen's body. He stole the shoes and necklace ... and was
mis-identified as the killer. Ronnie, the victim's dad, threatened
and accidentally killed him. That was seen by Kevin ... who told
Coogie's brother Brandon. Now Ronnie begins to grasp his mistake as
Det. Cruz has two killings to straighten out.

“Divorce” and
“Crashing” season-openers, 10 and 10:30 p.m., HBO. As the the
second seasons begin, Frances (Sarah Jessica Parker) sees her divorce
become official. Then Pete Holmes – a good-natured, devout guy –
starts to doubt his faith after a wild night with famed atheist Penn
Jillette.