Pierce Brosnan stars in a two-night miniseries based on “Stephen King’s Bag of Bones” (A&E 9 p.m.) about a writer haunted by the death of his wife, played by Annabeth Gish. He goes to a Maine cabin to get away from it all but there, he finds her ghost, as well as a few others, including a singer from the 1930s portrayed by Aniki Noni Rose.
The challenge for filmmakers is boiling down a 500-page novel into two, two-hour nights. It concludes Monday.
“Boardwalk Empire” (HBO, 9 p.m.) is closing up a fine season of double-crossings and vengeance among the bootleggers in Atlantic City. Much was revealed in last week’s eye-opening episode that combined flashback shocks with present day murders — an Oedipal setting that paves the way for tonight’s season finale, as Nucky prepares for his trail.
Just as newsworthy is the “sneak premiere” of the latest HBO drama, “Luck” (HBO, 10 p.m.), a horseracing saga from David Milch, who was behind their “Deadwood” (but also “John from Cincinnati”). The cast includes Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte; Michael Mann directs the pilot. The regular run begins Jan. 29.
It looked all season that snowboarders Tommy and Andy would cruise to an easy win on “The Amazing Race” (CBS, 8 p.m.). They had already won six of the 10 legs on the race and had that combination of skills and cool that made “the hippies” win just as easy several seasons ago.
But last week, they got behind and were eliminated, leaving three teams of moderate ability. Any of the three could win, depending on their luck with cabbies. I’m backing the NFL couples, except that he had already made his fortune in that game.
The second annual Big Cat Week begins with a trio of specials. The first two are eye-opening tracking on what is known in Montana as the mountain lion and in Wyoming is known as the cougar. In both “Stalking the Mountain Lion with Casey Anderson” (Nat Geo Wild, 8 p.m.) and “American Cougar” (Nat Geo Wild, 9 p.m.) the hounds are key to finding the elusive cats. They’re just looking for a glimpse in the former, but on a mission to find why cougar kittens haven’t been surviving in the latter. Then with “Cat Wars: Lion vs. Cheetah” (Nat Geo Wild, 10 p.m), the action turns to Africa’s Serengeti.
It’s Giants at Cowboys in Sunday Night Football (NBC, 8:15 p.m.).
Two great Sunday series are nearing their finales after explosive episodes last week, “Dexter” (Showtime, 9 p.m.) and “Homeland” (Showtime, 10 p.m.).
The votes are in for “CNN Heroes: All Star Tribute” (CNN, 8 p.m.), horonoring ordinary people who have gone beyond the call to help others. Of course celebrities must be involved, so Kid Rock, J.R. Martinez, Miley Cyrus, Will.i.am, Christy Turlington Burns and Kurt Warner appear. Anderson Cooper hosts.
More Christmas movies? New ones tonight include “12 Dates of Christmas” (ABC Family, 8 and 10 p.m.) with Amy Smart and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and “The Christmas Pageant” (Hallmark, 8 and 10 p.m.) with Melissa Gilbert.
There’s also a “A Very BET Christmas Special” (BET, 8 p.m.), with Kurtis Blow, Robin Thicke, Mindless Behavior, Lloyd, Monica, Jacob Latimore and Elle Varner.
A Christmas-themed episode of “The Simpsons” (Fox, 8 p.m.) flashes forward 30 years, when Bart and Lisa bring their own families back to celebrate.
Low-rated “Allen Gregory” is denied his own season finale, replaced by a Christmas episode of “The Cleveland Show” (Fox, 8:30 p.m.) in which the holiday story of “Die Hard” is retold.
See how the Obamas decorated this year on the annual “White House Christmas” (HGTV, 8 p.m.). The dog Bo seems especially well-represented.
Sidney Poitier is the star of the night on Turner Classic Movies with “A Raisin in the Sun” (5:45 p.m.), “Cry, the Beloved Country” (8 p.m.) and “Lillies of the Field” (10 p.m.), ”
ABC: Jon Huntsman, CBS: Reps. Michele Bahmann, Steve King. NBC: Rep. Ron Paul. CNN: Rick Santorum, former Reps. Bob Walker and Tom Davis, former White House communications director Anita Dunn, former Gov. John Sununu, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. Fox News: Gov. Rick Perry, Sens. Mitch McConnell, Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham, Gov. Terry Branstad.