Sunday TV: ‘Escape at Dannemora’

Escape-at-Dannemora-still-showtimeThe rise of limited series allows storytelling to become more languorous. And a dramatization of that famous 2015 prison break in upstate New York that might otherwise be a fast moving caper turns into a slow-simmering eight-episo exploration of how a lonely prison worker, given a doozy of a performance by Patricia Arquette, could be seduced into helping a couple of quietly scheming inmates played by Benicio Del Toro and Paul Dano.

It gets an authentic atmosphere in “Escape at Dannemora” (Showtime, 10 p.m.) mostly by being filmed in the cold setting and exact prison where it occurred, and unexpectedly strong direction from Ben Stiller. The darkness of the scenes may be a cinematic problem; maybe that’s how things were in that faraway corner.

Another new limited series has a similarly unexpected provenance. “My Brilliant Friend” (HBO, 9 p.m.) is a wholly Italian import, complete with subtitles in the adaptation of the best-selling novels by Elena Ferrante that involved the mysterious writer in the screenplay. The surprise in the pleasing saga of two lifelong friends is, in the opening episodes, how splendid the acting is from the young actresses Elisa Del Genio and Ludovica Nasti.

Alex Gibney’s new four-part documentary series “Enemies: The President, Justice & The FBI” (Showtime, 8 p.m.), based on a book by Tim Weiner, looks at the role of the FBI in various significant presidential scandals, starting with Watergate, which Nixon wanted to blame on the CIA. While the first episode looks at J. Edgar Hoover’s relationship with Nixon (who thought him too old and wanted him fired), future ones will dwell on Reagan and linton scandals before settling into the Trump-Comey battles of recent history.

It’s one of two new documentary series from Gibney starting tonight. The three-part “The Clinton Affair” (A&E, 9 p.m.) looks at the travails of the 42nd president, featuring a new interview with Monica Lewinsky.

Catherine Zeta-Jones stars as a ruthless pageant coach  in a new series about pageants that is found on a social media site, “Queen America” (Facebook Watch, streaming).

“Poldark” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) ends its fourth season with a new century arriving; there’s just one more season in the saga remaining.

The parents surprise Sally and learn of her lifestyle change on “Sally4Ever” (HBO, 10:30 p.m.).

Jill Wagner and Mark Deklin star in the holiday romance “Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.), a sequel to “Christmas in Evergreen” (Hallmark, 6 p.m.) that also featured Holly Robinson-Peete and Barbara Niven.

“Return to Amish” (TLC, 10 p.m.) returns for its seventh season, with Mary deciding whether to rejoin her church.

“The Lost Tapes: Tet Offensive” (Smithsonian, 9 p.m.) culls footage and reports in the crucial Vietnamese battle 50 years ago.

Six kids remain on a Thanksgiving edition of “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” (ABC, 8 p.m.).

“America in Color” (Smithsonian, 8 p.m.) begins a second season. as does “Haunted Case Files” (Travel, 9 p.m.).

“Ray Donovan” (Showtime, 9 p.m.) tries to get back a kidnapped movie star.

Sunday Night Football has Minnesota at Chicago (NBC, 8:20 p.m.). Earlier games include Houston at Washington (CBS, 1 p.m.) and Philadelphia at New Orleans (Fox, 4:25 p.m.). 

“Doctor Who” (BBC America, 8 p.m.) explores the galaxy’s largest retailer, Kerblam.

Martha Stewart hosts “Macy’s Thanksgiving Cake Spectacular” (Food, 8 p.m.) in which favorite parade floats are remade as cakes.

Claire and Jamie look for a new home on “Outlander” (Starz, 8 p.m.).

“The Woman in White” (PBS, 10 p.m.) concludes with Walter risking everything.

Miles visits a dead lawyer on “God Friended Me” (CBS, 8 p.m.).

“Supergirl” (CW, 8 p.m.) has Thanksgiving.

A circus comes to town on the third season finale of “The Durrells in Corfu” (PBS, 8 p.m.).

Carleen goes missing on “Camping” (HBO, 10 p..m).

“Madam Secretary” (CBS, 10 p.m.) tries to help following a human trafficking arrest in Laos.

Kandi finds out info about Porsha’s man on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” (Bravo, 8 p.m.).

On “The Simpsons” (Fox, 8 p.m.), Marge gets a job.

The Belchers try to save a turkey on “Bob’s Burgers” (Fox, 8:30 p.m.).

Macy gets a message about her past on “Charmed” (CW, 9 p.m.).

Meg compete in the Olympics on “Family Guy” (Fox, 9 p.m.).

Khloe is about to give birth on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” (E!, 9 p.m.).

Carol seeks out an old friend living alone in the wilderness on “The Walking Dead” (AMC, 9 p.m.).

“NCIS: Los Angeles” (CBS, 9 p.m.) assists with a covert operation tied to a terrorist group.

“The Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge” (Food, 9 p.m.) has its finale.

“Rel” (Fox, 9:30 p.m.) meets a new friend while stuck at the hospital in a blizzard.

Lauren Graham is on “Busy Tonight” (E!, 10 p.m.).

Turner Classic Movies has two movies about coming to America, “Plymouth Adventure” (8 p.m.) and “America America” (10 p.m.). It’s followed by the 1926 silent comedy “The Boob” (1 a.m.) and Shohei Imamura’s “Profound Desire of the Gods” (2:15 a.m.).

Basketball includes Golden State at San Antonio (NBA, 7 p.m.).

Hockey has Minnesota at Chicago (NHL, 6 p.m.).

Men’s college basketball includes Wake Forest vs. Valparaiso (ESPNU, 10:30 p.m.), Georgetown vs. South Florida (CBS Sports, noon), Michigan vs. Providence (ESPN, 1:30 p.m.), Alabama vs. Wichita State (ESPNU, 1:30 p.m.), Austin Peay vs. Campbell (CBS Sports, 2:30 p.m.). Indiana at Arkansas (ESPN, 3:30 p.m.), South Carolina vs. George Washington (ESPN2, 4 p.m.), St. Joseph’s vs. West Virginia (ESPNU, 4 p.m.), Northeastern vs. Davidson (ESPNU, 6 p.m.), UCF vs. Western Kentucky (ESPN2, 6:30 p.m.), Ohio vs. Loyola Marymount (CBS Sports, 6:30 p.m.), Virginia vs. Purdue (ESPN2, 8:30 p.m.). Florida A&M vs. Central Connecticut State (CBS Sports, 9 p.m.) and Minnesota vs. Texas A&M (ESPN2, 10:30 p.m.).

Women’s college basketball has Miami at Iowa State (CBS Sports, 4:30 p.m.) and Maryland at South Carolina (ESPN, 5:30 p.m.).

NASCAR runs its Ford EcoBoost 400 (NBC, 3 p.m.).

Soccer includes Croatia at England (ESPN2, 9 a.m.) and Ivory Coast at Guinea (beIN Sports, noon).

Final rounds are played in golf’s Tour Championship (ABC, 1 p.m.).

The Canadian football playoffs have Hamilton at Ottawa (ESPNews, 1 p.m.) and Winnipeg at Calgary (ESPNews, 4:30 p.m.).

Women’s college volleyball includes North Carolina A&T at Howard (ESPNU, 8 p.m.).

Sunday Talk

ABC: Sen. Roy Blunt, Rep. Adam Schiff, Reps.-elect Deb Haaland, Chrissy Houlahan, Donna Shalala, Abigail Spanberger and Lauren Underwood. CBS: Haaland, Houlahan, Sens. Joni Ernst and Rand Paul, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Reps.-elect Dan Crenshaw and Joe Negus. NBC: Sens. Sherrod Bown, Lindsey Graham, Thom Tillis and Jeanne Shaheen. CNN: Sen. Jeff Flake, Haaland, Houlahan, Crenshaw. Fox News: Donald Trump.

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