Thursday TV: Behind the National Film Registry

In the week when another 25 films, from “Forrest Gump’ and “Bambi” to “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Faces,” have been named to the National Film Registry for preservation as cultural and artistic treasures, a documentary on “Independent Lens” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings) further pins down what the designation actually means.

“These Amazing Shadows,” by Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton, at first looks like a needless argument that films are good, accompanied by only the most expected moments in film history from the utterance of “Rosebud” to “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Then as things go along, we see glimpses of the early, historic, educational or even home movies that have been chosen for preservation. And it’s important work, as is pointed out in the film, that the movies that have been most watched are also in the worst shape. A demonstration on the before and after restoration of “The Godfather” sells the point immediately.

Unfortunately, not many films from the registry are on tonight, though “Forrest Gump” star Tom Hanks appears a dozen times in “The Polar Express” (AMC, 8 p.m.), which itself seems to have played a dozen times this week. If it’s not on the list, “La Dolce Vida” (Flix, 8:05 p.m.) should be, whether it’s American or not.

The latest variation of the family fishing boat reality show comes in “Hook, Line and Sisters” (TLC, 11 p.m.), about the trevails of the Andersons, which includes daughters Sierra, 26; and Memry, 21. It follows the start of a new season for “NY Ink” (TLC,9 p.m.). “Hook, Line and Sisters” isn’t the only fishing on TV tonight either. There is always “Big Shrimpin'” (History, 9 p.m.).

Striving to find the true meaning in the changing of the calendar: “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown” (ABC, 9 p.m.) in a special from 1986. “Peanuts” art work also comes up in an episode of “Antiques Roadshow” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings) from Phoenix.

Ark-like, reruns come by the twos tonight with double episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC, 9 and 10 p.m.), “Bones” (Fox, 8 and 9 p.m.) and “The Office” (NBC, 9 and 10 p.m.), whose John Krasinski also appears on an episode of “Sesame Street” (PBS, check local listings).

A new season comes for the man and wife wilderness team of Mykel and Ruth Hawke on “Man, Woman, Wilderness” (Discovery, 9 p.m.). The are stranded on a glacier in Alaska, a land further explored in the new Palin-free series “Alaska: The Last Frontier” (Discovery, 10 p.m.).

“Beyond Scared Straight” (A&E, 10 p.m.) is more than an effective cautionary tale. It also provides some of the strongest drama of the evening.

It’s been quite a week for marathons. The latest is one for the fourth season of “True Blood” (HBO, 8, p.m.).

A season finale comes for “Beavis and Butt-head” (MTV, 10 p.m.) in their comeback season. The finale of “Good Vibes” (MTV, 10:30 and 11 p.m.) comes with two episodes.

Toni’s still recovering on “Braxton Family Values” (We, 9 p.m.).

A winner is presented with an apartment at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago redesigned by Vern Yip on the special “HGTV Urban Oasis Giveaway 2011” (HGTV, 8 p.m.). Then this year’s giveaway dream home, a ranch house in Park City, Utah, is unveiled on “Behind the Build: HGTV Dream Home 2012” (HGTV, 9 p.m.).

Bowl games roll on with Florida State vs. Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl (ESPN, 5:30 p.m.) and Washington vs. Baylor in the Alamo Bowl (ESPN, 9 p.m.).

Syfy passed on a new series with James Marsters about a man’s ability to move objects with his mind, but only three inches. But they show the pilot they made for for “Three Inches” (Syfy, 9 p.m.) hey made for it anyway, to get their money out of it.

It’s a big night for fans of “Big Bang Theory” (CBS, 8 p.m.). In addition to the network rerun, there are four more episodes on TBS starting at 9 p.m. And star JimParsons is on two different late night talk shows: “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC, 12:05 a.m.) and “The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson” (CBS, 12:37 a.m.).

The month long salute to William Powell on Turner Classic Movies comes to an end with “The Great Ziegfeld” (8 p.m.), “Love Crazy” (11:15 p.m.), “I Love You Again” (1 a.m.), “Manhattan Melodrama” (2:45 a.m.) and “Libeled Lady” (4:30 a.m.).

In college basketball, it’s Vanderbilt at Marquette (ESPN2, 9 p.m.). in NBA action it’s Mavericks at Thunder (TNT, 8 p.m.) and Knicks at Lakers (TNT, 10:30 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

Reruns all: Kelly Ripa: Zac Efron, Olivia Wilde, “Science Bob” Pflugfelder, Josh Groban. The View: Diane Keaton, Sasha Grey. The Talk: Ozzy Osbourne, Eric Christian Olsen. Ellen DeGeneres: Felicity Huffman, cast of Cirque du Soleil: Iris. Wendy Williams: Toni, Tamar, Trina, Towanda, Traci & Evelyn. Rosie O’Donnell: Kody Brown & the Sister Wives.

Late Talk

All reruns but one: David Letterman: Matt Damon, Shelby Lynne. Jay Leno: Louis CK, Levi LaVallee, Young the Giant. Jimmy Kimmel: Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, My Morning Jacket. Jimmy Fallon: Helen Mirren, Damon Wayans Jr., Paul Simon. Craig Ferguson: Jim Parsons, Cake. Tavis Smiley: Harry Belafonte. Carson Daly: Butch Walker, Steve Mazan, Wye Oak. Conan O’Brien: Shaquille O’Neal, Brian Posehn, Seether. Chelsea Handler: Liz Carey, Sarah Colonna, Kerri Kenney-Silver (not a rerun).

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