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The Globe and Mail

TV: Five shows worth watching tonight: March 14

A select viewing guide for Thursday, March 14

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COMEDY Parks & Recreation (NBC, Citytv, 8:30 p.m.) Funnier than Community and edgier than The Office, this mockumentary-style comedy set in the fictional burg of Pawnee, Indiana, continues to draw in new fans each week. The show’s strength still spreads outward from former Saturday Night Live regular Amy Poehler’s portrayal of smalltown politico Leslie Knope, the sort of deluded bureaucrat who never met a situation she couldn’t foul up royally. In tonight’s new episode, Ms. Knope races in to rescue a local video store about to close due to Pawnee’s foundering economy. The sticky part: The store owner, played by quirky film fixture Jason Schwartzman, doesn’t want her help.

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HISTORY Museum Secrets (History, 9 p.m.) It’s true: Sometimes the sharpest TV programs really are blessedly simple concepts. Back tonight for a third season, this popular series tours the world’s most revered museums–the Louvre, London’s Natural History Museum, et al–and saves viewers the trip by neatly recapping the history behind each location’s best-known exhibits. Tonight’s opener wanders the halls of Moscow’s State Historical Museum, home to such treasures as Lenin’s Rolls-Royce, Ivan the Terrible’s torture chamber and multiple artifacts from Napoleon’s army.

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REALITY Freakshow (AMC, 9:30 p.m.) Full marks to the AMC network for trying new things. Launched three weeks ago, this series focuses on an industrious fellow named Todd Ray, who runs an old-school freak show on the Venice Beach boardwalk with the assistance of his wife and two kids. The watch-factor naturally stems from the very special people who star in Ray’s attraction, including Marcus “The Creature,” whose entire body is an amalgam of tattoos and piercings and The Amazing Ali, who stands around three feet tall. In tonight’s show, all the freak-show denizens become terribly excited when Ali announces she’s getting married. Todd’s master plan: Replicate the wedding ceremony given to legendary circus attraction Tom Thumb, whose marriage to another little person in 1863 made headlines all over the world.

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DRAMA Elementary (CBS, Global, 10 p.m.) Clearly the stars have aligned for this new show based on an old idea. A fresh spin on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, the series has been drawing remarkable Thursday-night ratings since debuting last fall and is a cinch to be around for years to come. Certainly the fine English actor Jonny Lee Miller’s holds the spotlight as the famed literary sleuth, but no doubt many are watching for Lucy Liu’s measured portrayal of Holmes’ partner-in-solving-crime Watson (who is also his addiction sponsor, as it turns out). In tonight’s new show, Watson branches out by tackling her first solo case: The disappearance of a woman who left her husband a tearful breakup video that also references a murder in the New York subway system. You go, girl.

Jeffrey Neira

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MOVIE Waking Ned Devine (Vision, midnight) Only three more shopping days until St. Patrick’s Day! To prepare for the occasion, revisit this delightful 1998 comedy starring the late, great Ian Bannen as the cunning Jackie O’Shea, who is tickled to discover that someone in the remote Irish town of Tulaigh Morh has won the massive jackpot in the national lottery. In short order, he travels to the tiny town with his wife Annie (Fionnula Flanagan) and best mate Michael (David Kelly) in tow. When they discover that the winner Ned Devine has dropped dead from shock, the unholy trio set about an elaborate scam to claim his winnings. Erin go bragh!

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