All Times Eastern. PBS programming varies regionally.
Thursday, Feb. 24
Law & Order
Dick Wolf’s original Law & Order, whose first 20 seasons ran from 1990-2010, returns for Season 21, with the drama continuing its classic bifurcated format that follows the stories of both police and prosecutors in a given case. Sam Waterston reprises his Emmy-nominated role as District Attorney Jack McCoy, and Anthony Anderson is back as Detective Kevin Bernard. Camryn Manheim takes on the regular role of Lt. Kate Dixon; Jeffrey Donovan plays an NYPD detective; and Hugh Dancy and Odelya Halevi play assistant district attorneys.
TNT, beginning at 7:30pm Live
TNT’s NBA doubleheader opens with Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center in Brooklyn to take on Kevin Durant and the Nets. Then, Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors are in Portland to run the floor with Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers.
The firefighter and paramedic series returns for its winter premiere.
TCM Guest Programmer: Denis Villeneuve
TCM, beginning at 8pm
Catch a Classic!
French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve is one of the more creative and visionary directors working today, as evidenced in films such as Arrival, Blade Runner: 2049 and last year’s reenvisioning of Dune. So it’s not too surprising to see the two movie titles that have been among his influences and that he has chosen to discuss during their airings tonight on Turner Classic Movies. First up is 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 classic that ranks as perhaps the greatest science-fiction film ever made. With its incredible use of color and widescreen to tell an epic sci-fi tale of the kind that seems to be in Villeneuve’s storytelling sweet spot, you can certainly see how Kubrick’s film has influenced the director. Following that is another famously widescreen epic: David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Perhaps Lean’s sprawling presentation of the deserts of Earth’s Middle East played a part in how Villeneuve would similarly immerse viewers in Dune’s harsh and sandy alien world of Arrakis. — Jeff Pfeiffer
The hit medical series is back with new episodes tonight.
Tonight brings new twists in the second season winter premiere.
Friday, Feb. 25
This eight-episode spinoff of action-drama Vikings begins in the early 11th century and chronicles the legendary adventures of some of the most famous Vikings who ever lived: Leif Eriksson (Sam Corlett), Freydis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustavsson) and Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter). These men and women will blaze a path as they fight for survival in the ever-changing and evolving world.
ESPN, beginning at 7:30pm Live
ESPN’s NBA doubleheader starts with the Miami Heat at the New York Knicks. The second game has Paul George and the Clippers “on the road” to face LeBron James and the Lakers at their shared Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
New Time Slot!
After shifting to Thursday nights for a while, this James Spader-led spy thriller returns from its Winter Olympics hiatus by moving back into its original Friday evening time slot for the final new episodes of its ninth season, beginning tonight.
Framed by My Sister
Twins Reina and Alex (Scout Taylor-Compton) find their lives upended by their mysterious triplet Trinity (also Taylor-Compton), who was separated from them at birth and who has devised a plan to frame one for murder and assume the identity of the other. Also stars TK Richardson and Tracy Nelson.
Brain Games: On the Road
Nat Geo, 8pm
Comedian Chuck Nice hosts this all-new traveling iteration of the series that features an epic battle of the brains. In each of the 20 episodes, Nice brings the studio and games right to the players for the ultimate IQ showdown. From families and coworkers to friends and friendly rivals, teams will go head-to-head in a competition filled with mind-bending puzzles and brain teasers. Each game is also designed for at-home play-along. Four half-hour episodes premiere each Friday beginning tonight.
Starring Gene Hackman
TCM, beginning at 8pm
Catch a Classic!
When looking at the extensive body of work compiled by actor Eugene Allen Hackman, better known to moviegoers as Gene Hackman, it’s really hard to find a performance of his that is not enjoyable. Even in film projects that have been of lesser quality as a whole, Hackman always gives it his all, making even something like Superman IV: The Quest for Peace worth watching, if just for him alone. Fortunately, tonight’s salute to Hackman on Turner Classic Movies features the actor in three films from the 1970s and ’80s that are good in their entireties, and especially when Hackman is onscreen. The movies in this lineup range, as Hackman’s career has, across a variety of genres, beginning with one of the most beloved and inspirational sports dramas of all time: 1986’s Hoosiers. Hackman stars as a new coach who leads a small-town Indiana high school basketball team on an unlikely run toward the state championship in the early 1950s. Barbara Hershey and Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Dennis Hopper costar. Next, Hackman teams with Al Pacino in the cult-favorite 1973 road movie Scarecrow, in which the acting legends portray two men who travel from California to start a business in Pittsburgh. Tonight’s final film is Arthur Penn’s outstanding neo-noir thriller Night Moves (1975), which is one of the bleakest thrillers of the ’70s, and that’s saying something. Hackman is terrific as L.A. private investigator Harry Moseby, who uncovers all kinds of sinister activity while searching for the missing teenage daughter (Melanie Griffith) of a famous actress. Susan Clark, Jennifer Warren and James Woods also star. — Jeff Pfeiffer
State of the Union
Season 2 of the Emmy-winning short-form anthology drama from writer/director duo Nick Hornby and Stephen Frears concludes tonight. Brendan Gleeson, Patricia Clarkson and Esco Jouléy star.
Saturday, Feb. 26
Catch a Classic!
Best Director Oscar winner George Stevens helmed this sweeping, Best Picture Oscar-nominated 1956 saga of family conflict and social consciousness adapted from Edna Ferber’s bestseller. Simultaneously grand and epic (with a runtime of about three hours and 15 minutes) while also feeling intimate, this tale of fame and materialism among three generations of Texans is based around the discovery of oil at Spindletop and the establishment of the King Ranch of South Texas. It is led by Rock Hudson as rancher Bick Benedict, Elizabeth Taylor as his wife, Leslie, and James Dean, in his final film role, as nouveau oil baron Jett Rink. Isolating his star cast in the wilds of West Texas, Stevens brought together a volatile mix of egos, insecurities and talent. Yet the director coaxed performances out of them that made cinematic history, and earned Hudson and Dean Best Actor Oscar nominations. Dean’s nomination marked the actor’s second consecutive posthumous Best Actor nod following his 1955 death at age 24 in a car accident. Dean died while Giant was late into production, so actor Nick Adams was called upon to overdub some of his lines. The film’s sizable cast also includes Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Mercedes McCambridge, Jane Withers, Robert Nichols, Chill Wills, Carroll Baker, Earl Holliman, Rod Taylor, Sal Mineo and Dennis Hopper, making his third feature film appearance.
CBS, ESPN & FOX, beginning at 2pm Live
Catch some of the nation’s elite college hoops teams in action today with Kentucky at Arkansas (CBS), UCLA at Oregon State (CBS), Seton Hall at Xavier (FOX), Duke at Syracuse (ESPN) and Kansas at Baylor (ESPN).
ABC & TNT, beginning at 3pm Live
Saturday’s NHL action features the N.Y. Rangers at the Pittsburgh Penguins on ABC, followed by the Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series game on TNT with the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Predators in Nashville’s Nissan Stadium.
U.S. Premiere Season!
Ovation is the exclusive linear U.S. home for Season 15 of this popular, Canadian-produced mystery series set in turn-of-the-20th-century Toronto. The 15th season will be Murdoch’s longest to date, with 24 episodes, including two directed by star Yannick Bisson, and one written by Maureen Jennings, on whose novels the series is based. Tonight’s season premiere follows Detective Murdoch (Bisson) as he journeys to Montreal, seeking to find and protect his son, Harry (Etienne Kellici), from the Black Hand gang.
53rd Annual NAACP Image Awards
BET, 8pm Live
The long-running annual celebration of Black excellence returns with a live, two-hour awards ceremony honoring outstanding achievements and performances across more than 80 competitive categories spanning film, television and streaming, music, literature, and podcasts. Netflix leads this year’s television and streaming nominees with 52 nominations. Notable TV and streaming programs that received nominations include All American, black-ish, Harlem, Insecure, Pose and Queen Sugar. Anthony Anderson, who is also nominated as Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for black-ish, hosts. NAACP will also recognize winners in non-televised Image Awards categories; these will stream on naacpimageawards.net between Feb. 21-23, and during the NAACP Image Awards Dinner on Feb. 25.
Welcome to Mama’s
Hallmark Channel, 8pm
After she inherits an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, manager Amy teams up with a master chef to relaunch the establishment and make her loved ones proud. Stars Melanie Scrofano and Daniel di Tomasso.
Girl in the Shed: The Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez
Girl in the Shed: The Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez is the true story of 14-year-old freshman Abby Hernandez (Lindsay Navarro), who vanished while walking home from school in North Conway, New Hampshire. Kicking off the state’s largest search, Abby’s disappearance left her family, especially her mother Zenya (Erica Durance), investigators and the community mystified of her whereabouts. Taken by Nathaniel Kibby (Ben Savage), Abby was kept in a soundproof container and forced to wear a shock collar while enduring psychological, sexual and emotional abuse. Despite suffering daily torture, Abby kept hope alive that she would one day be able to see her family again.
NBA Basketball: Brooklyn at Milwaukee
ABC, 8:30pm Live
ABC’s Saturday NBA primetime matchup has an Eastern Conference semifinals rematch as James Harden and the Brooklyn Nets visit Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum.