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What’s on TV This Week: ‘True Detective: Night Country’ and ‘Doctor Zhivago’


With network, cable and streaming, the modern television landscape is a vast one. Here are some of the shows, specials and movies coming to TV this week, Feb. 12-18. Details and times are subject to change.

NCIS 9 p.m. on CBS. This nautical-flavored police procedural is back for its 21st season. Since its premier in 2003, it has spawned five spinoff series: “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “NCIS: New Orleans,” “NCIS: Hawai’i,” “NCIS: Sydney” and “NCIS: Origins.” We can expect the newest of the three, “Origins,” to debut sometime this season in a backdoor-pilot episode. You’d wonder how many naval crimes a writing team could possibly come up with, but they show no signs of slowing down.

THE HOST (2006) 11:45 p.m. on Flix. The director Bong Joon Ho received international acclaim for his 2019 film “Parasite,” but his monster epic about a man’s quest to rescue his daughter from a mutated creature in the Han River is not to be missed. It’s a pastiche that nails every genre it splices, moving deftly from incisive satire to campy horror/sci-fi to searing family drama.

LA BREA 9 p.m. on NBC. This sci-fi drama about a family separated by a sinkhole that opens up a time portal (sure!) will air its series finale, a continuation of last week’s episode “The Road Home.” The show was marginally popular during its first season, earning itself a People’s Choice nomination for sci-fi/fantasy show, and though it was nominated again the next year, this third and final season only ran for six episodes. If you’ll miss watching the show or want a D.I.Y. experience, see: tar pits.

GHOST ADVENTURES: SCREAMING ROOM 10:01 p.m. on Discovery. If you time your Valentine’s dinner plans well enough, you can arrive home to pour a few nice glasses of red wine, cuddle up to your sweetheart and turn on the most romantic viewing material imaginable: Zak Bagans, a “paranormal investigator” and proprietor of a haunted museum in Las Vegas with a dulcet-toned bro voice who, here, rewatches an episode of his own ghost-hunting reality show, “Ghost Adventures.” I’m really only half-kidding about its V-Day airing date — I do find ghosts romantic.

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965) 10 p.m. on TCM. If you prefer a more conventional, if doomed, romance, turn to this beloved historical epic starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. The film’s massive scale and sweeping shots of the vast snowy landscapes (which earned it an Oscar for best cinematography) evoke a grand, starry-eyed love with staying power.

FREAKY FRIDAY (2003) 5:50 p.m. on Freeform. Though there are several screen adaptations of Mary Rodgers’s children’s book, as far as I’m concerned this early-aughts gem, starring Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, is the only one that matters. With leather chokers, studded belts and chunky highlights, the film’s fashions have come full circle and are becoming popular again. The only thing better than the conspicuous outfits and stellar performances is the infectious pop-punk soundtrack.

YOUNG SHELDON 8 p.m. on CBS. This prequel spinoff to “The Big Bang Theory,” which was put on hold because of the recent strike by the Writers Guild of America, will return from its two-year hiatus for its seventh and final season. Since it’s a prequel, there is not much mystery to the main character’s arc, but it’s all about the journey, right?

THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (1999) 5:35 p.m. on Flix. Before Jacob Elordi’s Bathwater candle became a social-media fixation, there was Matt Damon’s skimpy neon swimsuit. In other words, if you can’t get enough of “Saltburn,” try watching “The Talented Mr. Ripley” — both are predicated on class anxiety and love triangles. Tune in for more wealthy people and sexual debauchery — there’s no need to limit yourself to “Murder on the Dance Floor” type fun.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2007) 3:30 p.m. on HBO. If you’re still craving more night-vision footage after “Ghost Adventures: Screaming Room,” look no further than this contemporary classic. This was the first film released by Blumhouse Productions, which inspired its model of producing wide-release films on low budgets. The naturalistic style seems minimalistic on rewatch, but those baby powder footsteps still make me shiver. They also prove that horror techniques need not be gory or overcomplicated to be effective.

TRUE DETECTIVE: NIGHT COUNTRY 9 p.m. on HBO. Issa López, the director of the spectacular “Tigers Are Not Afraid,” is this season’s showrunner, and her moody, surreal touch is visible everywhere. So far, we’ve seen ominous oranges, frozen bodies screaming to life, heavy-handed title name-dropping and sinister sigils, but few answers. Will the twisting mystery get a satisfying conclusion?

LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER 11 p.m. on HBO. The Emmy-award-winning show (which this year defeated “Saturday Night Live” for best scripted variety series) returns for its 11th season. With another tense election year upon us, you’re going to need some humor to cope.



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