For most Americans, the Amish are that odd sect that are the butt of jokes, occasional reality shows (“Amish in the City”) or the destination of weekend vacation trips.
What is really behind their beliefs and their varying set of rules to live by are thoughtfully put together in a new two hour edition of “American Experience” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings).
Some members of the community agree to talk about their life but still refuse to be photographed while doing so. That forces a lot of lyrical shots of their rural setting in David Belton’s film behind the narration, making “The Amish” informative, compassionate and gorgeous to look at. The subjects won’t be watching. They don’t have TVs. (A longer review of the show I wrote for Salon can be found here).
Before the Top 12 males perform for the first time live for viewer votes on “American Idol” (Fox, 8 p.m.), a 13th male will be picked from four who were cut from semi-finals last week.
The fate of the Republican presidential nomination may lie with the results of the Michigan and Arizona Primary Results (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, 7 p.m.). But we say that every primary night.
It’s been nearly a year since the major earthquake and tsunami in Japan led to a potentially bigger disaster of nuclear meltdown. The immediate reaction to the meltdown at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, featuring workers at the time, local firemen sent in with water, and frank comments from the then-Prime Minister tell the harrowing story on a chilling edition of “Frontline” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings).
The cast of the next “Dancing with the Stars” is announced on “Good Morning America” (ABC, 7 a.m.).
There’s big doings on the season finale of “Parenthood” (NBC, 10 p.m.) including opportunities for new parenting.
Running into another group on the Amazon can be a good or bad thing on “The River” (ABC, 9 p.m.).
Time for home visits on “The Biggest Loser” (NBC, 8 p.m.) a time fraught with temptations of past bad habits.
“White Collar” (USA, 10 p.m.) reaches its season finale.
Tales of the Middle East play on Turner Classic Movies with “The Man Who Would Be King” (8 p.m.), “Lawrence of Arabia” (10:15 p.m.), “Arabian Nights” ((2:15 a.m.) and “Topkapi” (4 a.m.).
College hoops include Michigan State at Indiana (ESPN, 7 p.m.) and Florida at Vanderbilt (ESPN, 9 p.m.).
In NHL action, it’s Kings at Wild (NBC Sports, 7:30 p.m.).
Kelly Ripa: Kristin Chenoweth, Poppy Montgomery, Lucy Liu. The View: Dana Delany, Alan Rickman, Mary J. Blige. The Talk: Penny Marshall, Tabatha Coffey. Ellen DeGeneres: Kate Walsh.
David Letterman: Nathan Lane, Estelle. Jay Leno: Rob Schneider, Khloe Kardashian Odom, Mona. Jimmy Kimmel: Steven Tyler, Mat Kearney. Jimmy Fallon: Don Cheadle, Jennifer Westfeldt, Kenny Chesney. Craig Ferguson: Dr. Mehmet Oz, Carrie Keagan. Tavis Smiley: Sinead O’Connor. Carson Daly: Werner Herzog, the Two, fun. Jon Stewart: Stephen Merchant. Stephen Colbert: Ross Eisenbrey. Conan O’Brien: Betty White, Ken Marino, Young Jeezy featuring Ne-Yo. Chelsea Handler: Ellen Pompeo, Dan Maurio, Natasha Leggero, Matt Braunger.