Tuesday TV: Sports Docs, A Live ‘X Factor’

The epicenter for high school basketball these days isn’t somewhere in Indiana – it’s in gritty New Jersey where three teams in the industrial north of the state battle it out annually for being called the nation’s greatest.

Filmmaker Marc Levin (“Brick City,” Slam”) spent nine months with one of those teams, St. Patrick’s of Elizabeth. There under the thumb of a tough, hot-headed coach Kevin Boyle, a number of terrifically talented players emerge in trying to construct an unbeaten season.

They try despite all kinds of barriers – deaths, jail and a concussion in particular – not to mention the intense national media attention that now comes with being a top ranked school. The cameras seem to be there for all the important moments off the court, while catching some unforgettable games of the season. At the same time there is an innocence to the players and a purity to their game that isn’t always there in upper levels of the game.

On a night, oddly, when there isn’t much sports on TV, “Prayer for a Perfect Season” (HBO, 8 p.m.), a great sports documentary, more than fills the void.

Yet it’s not the only good sports documentary on tonight; Mike Tollin’s “The Real Rocky” (ESPN, 8 p.m.) tells the tale of great white hope and liquor salesman Chuck Wepner, whose story directly led to the “Rocky” films. So the old boxer sued Sly Stallone. It’s a colorful and fast-moving tale.

New science raises doubts whether Cameron Todd Willingham was responsible for the arson death of his three young children. Unfortunately, as the report on “Frontline” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings), makes clear, he was executed by the state of Texas in 2004.

It was the awful production values, annoying editing and unnecessary pop music soundtrack that made it difficult so far to watch “The X Factor” (Fox, 8 p.m.). Tonight, though, the show finally leaves all that behind, as each of the judges’ four acts (simon has five) perform live for the first time. It may set some kind of record for a mid-season episode of a series though – with a 2 ½ hour running time (alert the affiliates!). By the end, five will be cut.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. woos a Charlie’s Angel. In this case it’s David McCallum dating Cheryl Ladd on “NCIS” (CBS, 8 p.m.).

They’re selling it like “The Hurt Locker” in series form. And that film won the Oscar. So we might have to give the new “Bomb Patrol Afghanistan” (G4, 10 p.m.) a chance.

Foreclosures help fuel the latest new house-flipping series “Flip Men” (Spike, 10:30 p.m.).

A club vote on “The Sons of Anarchy” (FX, 10 p.m.) has to be delayed to deal with a threat.

For the Halloween episode of “The Biggest Loser” (NBC, 8 p.m.) there is a candy temptation. No kidding.

While many bad sitcoms have already been canceled “Last Man Standing” (ABC, 8 p.m.) tends to do OK. And even “Man Up!” (ABC, 8:30 p.m.) is still on the air.

Besides being a great movie, Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” (Flix, 8 p.m.) originated the term paparazzi.

Not often do sequels stumble this badly. But how else to compare “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2” (TMC, 9:30 p.m.) with the original “Blair Witch Project” (TMC, 8 p.m.)?

“American Idol” runner up Crystal Bowersox makes her acting debut on “Body of Proof” (ABC, 10 p.m.).

The overriding principle of “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” (More Max, 9 p.m.) is summarized by the movie that precedes it, “Let’s Throw Momma from the Train” (More Max, 7:30 p.m.).

For those who think “The Walking Dead” invented them, there’s the two hour crash course “Zombies: A Living History” (History, 8 p.m.). It goes back to the Bible and the Vikings, people.

Make mental note not to invite to dinner parties: “Wild Freaks” (Science, 10 p.m.).

The month-long marking of Nicholas Ray’s 100th birthday brings another Tuesday night full of his films: “55 Days at Peking” (8 p.m.), “We Can’t Go Home Again” (11 p.m.), “Don’t Expect Too Much” (12:45 a.m.), “King of Kings” (2 a.m.) and “Party Girl” (5 a.m.).

In college football, it’s Troy at Florida International (ESPN2, 8 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

The View: Alan Alda. The Talk:  Ozzy Osbourne, Eric Christian Olsen. Ellen DeGeneres: LL Cool J, Jonah, Jaon DeRulo. Wendy Williams: Dara Foster.

Late Talk

David Letterman: Eddie Murphy, Jane Levy, Mayer Hawthorne. Jay Leno: President Barack Obama. Jimmy Kimmel: Hugh Laurie, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. Jimmy Fallon: Abigail Breslin, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Musial, Blitzen Trappen. Craig Ferguson: Don Rickles. Tavis Smiley: Nile Rodgers. Carson Daly: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky, Action Bronson, the Airborne Toxic Event. Jon Stewart: Walter Isaacson. Stephen Colbert: Susan Saladoff. Conan O’Brien: Zach Galifianakis, Aaron Paul, Switchfoot. Chelsea Handler: T.I., Josh Wolf, Natasha Leggero, Joe Matarese.

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