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The Globe and Mail

TV: Five shows worth watching tonight: Dec. 12

A select viewing guide for Wednesday, Dec. 12

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HISTORY How We Invented the World (Discovery, 8 p.m.) There’s no ingenuity like human ingenuity. First broadcast on the U.S. Discovery Channel, this sharp series puts a spotlight on vital inventions and scientific breakthroughs of the modern age. The program uses cutting-edge CGI effects and dramatic reenactments to explore the inspiration behind some of the world’s most important inventions, including the automobile, the airplane and the cell phone. The series kicks off tonight with a profile of the towering city skyscraper, which has become globally synonymous with power and wealth. But how did a city in flames and a horse and wagon factor into the creation of the very first skyscraper? Watch and learn.

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COMEDY The Neighbors (ABC, CTV Two, 8:30 p.m.) This offbeat sitcom takes a short hiatus after tonight’s new episode, so catch it while you can. For those viewers who haven’t had the pleasure, the show is set in suburban New Jersey, where Marty Weaver (Lenny Venito) and wife Debbie (Jamie Gertz) have recently moved into a new development with their three kids. Soon after arriving, they discover the entire community is populated by residents from another planet who have inexplicably adopted the names of sports celebrities like Larry Bird and Mary Lou Retton. Although panned by most reviewers, the show has earned solid U.S. ratings since its debut last month, which bodes well for a full-season renewal. In tonight’s closer, Larry Bird (Simon Templeman) is distraught when his human gardener Juan passes away. And then everyone else in the neighbourhood is terrified when Larry brings Juan back to life. Hurry back.

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COMEDY Just for Laughs: Russell Peters’ Best Night Ever (CBC, 9 p.m.) Ever wonder what funny people find funny? In this hourlong special, hotshot standup Russell Peters hosts a lineup of standup performances by a personally-selected list of his favourite comedians. The lineup includes fellow Canuck Jeremy Hotz, U.K. comic Jimmy Carr, Sebastian Maniscalco and Nick Thune. No laugh track required.

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NEWS Barbara Walters Presents the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2012 (ABC, 10 p.m.) Were you aware that Barbara Walters has been doing this program since 1992? As in years past, the format consists of Babs sitting down for interviews with the past year’s most prominent names in sports, politics, entertainment and pop culture. Confirmed recipients of the lofty honour include Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James, Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, actor-director Ben Affleck and British boy-band One Direction, who collectively qualify as One Fascinating Person.

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MOVIE Remember the Night (TCM, 9:45 p.m. ET; 6:45 p.m. PT) A few years before they made noir cinema history in Double Indemnity, Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray demonstrated chemistry to spare in this 1940 comedy-drama. Written by Preston Sturges, the story casts Stanwyck as Lee, a tough-talking New York dame arrested for shoplifting the day before Christmas. District attorney John Sargent, played by MacMurray, bumps her trial until after the festive season and takes pity on her when he learns they both come from Indiana. John drives Lee home for the holidays, then takes her into his own warm household. Naturally, prosecutor and prisoner fall in love, but her impending trial looms over their budding romance.

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