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TV highlights, Nov. 30 

SPACEK: As Lynne.
  • SPACEK: As Lynne.

COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER (1980)
Turner Classic Movies
(Comcast Ch. 30)
5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30

While we’re always going to be fond of musical biopics like “The Doors” and “Ray,” one of the best of that breed has to be “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Based on the life of country-Western songbird Loretta Lynn, it’s the story of her hardscrabble mountain girlhood and her improbable rise to superstardom. Featuring the talents of Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones and Arkansas’s own Levon Helm as Lynn’s father, Ted Webb, it’s full of scenes so good that they still send a little chill up our spine (the scene where the ghost of Lynn’s father comes across the field — a harbinger of news of his death in a mining accident — comes to mind). A great film, about one of America’s great musical talents.

TRANS-SIBERIAN
ORCHESTRA: THE GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS EVE
9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3,
Broadcast Ch. 2)

While you could buy tickets for the Dec. 21 Trans-Siberian Orchestra show at North Little Rock’s Alltel Arena, that would mean finding a babysitter. It would also mean getting up that night — which is bound to be chilly — getting your clothes on, driving across town in traffic, finding a place to park, yadda, yadda, yadda. Wouldn’t it be much easier to stay home in your cozy pajamas and watch this special on AETN? Here, TSO provides the music behind a story of Christmas magic. Ossie Davis stars as the caretaker of a rundown theater who brings the place to life to fulfill one boy’s Christmas Eve dreams. With the singer Jewel.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
NBC (Comcast Ch. 5,
Broadcast Ch. 4)
7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5

You don’t have to be a football fan to love “Friday Night Lights,” one of the best new shows of this season. Set in the small, football-obsessed town of Dillon, Texas, it’s the story of a group of young people saddled with the burden of their backwater community’s hopes and dreams. Based on the book by H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger and the movie starring Billy Bob Thornton, the idea has readily made the jump to crowd-pleasing TV drama. Especially effective are the football scenes (though, true to the show’s form of being more about people than football, they only play a game every other episode). Heartfelt, poignant and often funny, it’s the one new series this year that has us hooked.

— David Koon

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