Tonight in HD: December 9

SoHo Highlight: Mildred Pierce (Sky 10, 8.30, 5.1) After throwing her cheating husband out of the house, a young mother tries to find suitable work in Depression-era California. It won five Emmy Awards (but lost in 16 other categories) and was adored and scorned in equal measure. Salon called it a “masterpiece. I say that with some surprise, because I went into this five-part, limited-run HBO series skeptical of the channel’s motivation for making it (Period costumes! Kate Winslet! Emmy bait!) and resisting the appeal of its director, Todd Haynes (Safe, Far From Heaven), a filmmaker whose work I’ve always admired but rarely loved. If I see a richer, more perfect drama on TV this year, I’ll be surprised.” But the Wall Street Journal thought completely the opposite. It acknowledged its strengths but argued: “What nothing can alter, or overcome, is the fact that the basic story of Mildred Pierce makes no sense. On any level. Over five-plus hours, the miniseries would have had time to explore every nuance. But there are so few that rise above artifice, and so little dramatic action driving the plot, that even an actor as talented as Ms Winslet can hardly fill the dead spaces.” Guy Pearce and Melissa Leo also star. ✭✭✭✭

The Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.30)

Friends (TV2, 6.30, R) Series finale: Ross wants to be with Rachel, but she still wants to go to Paris. Can he convince her to stay? Part one of two. ✭✭✭✭

Shortland Street (TV2. 7.00) Callum is confronted by Hunter’s crimes; Daniel has a last chance with Lana; Brooke has Vinnie seeing double. ✭✭✭

The X Factor USA (TV3, 7.30, 5.1) And then there were four … ✭✭

The Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.30) With Robin Williams (who laments the decor in Saddam’s palace and wonders how Elmer Fudd would sound doing Shakespeare), Jennifer Saunders, Elijah Wood and music from JLS. ✭✭✭✭

The Bachelor (TV2, 10.40) As hometown dates loom, the ladies fall all over themselves and Brad in Anguilla while emotions run high at a sexy photo shoot for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

NCIS (TV3, 11.15, 5.1, R) When a government scientist goes missing, Abby is recruited to carry on his work, but the team worries that she may meet the same fate as her predecessor. ✭✭

CSI: Miami (TV3, 12.15, 5.1, R) The CSIs solve the murder of a man who was killed in outer space. ✭✭

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