Worth Watching: Jan. 16-22

FRIDAY The Children’s Hour Extraordinarily powerful and utterly faithful screen adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s ground-breaking 1934 play. Karen (Audrey Hepburn) and Martha (Shirley MacLaine) run a private girls’ school together — their dream since they met at 17. It’s all going very well until Mary, a trouble-making student, tells a lie about them: that they are lovers and she saw them kissing and more. The rumor spreads, the school is closed, the women sue for slander and lose. But as time passes, truths emerge that neither woman is ready to face, culminating in tragedy. Hepburn is at her graceful, swanlike best, but MacLaine tears up the screen with her magnificently tortured performance, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. In an interview for “The Celluloid Closet,” MacLaine told Vito Russo that she and Hepburn never discussed the lesbianism of their characters. She also asserted that director William Wyler cut some of the scenes from the final version of the film that were more specific about Martha’s lesbianism. A pivotal film in the queer repertoire whose ending will leave you sobbing. 8 p.m. on TCM.

The Devil Wears Prada Meryl Streep at her arch and vicious best in this fashionistas-gone-wild dramedy. With Anne Hathaway and Stanley Tucci. Lots of caustic fun. 8 p.m. on FX.

Howie Do It Who doesn’t love Howie Mandel? In this new “Punked”-style series, Mandel makes people mad, cry and then, of course, laugh. Simple fun after a rough week. 8 p.m. on NBC.

Flashpoint The edgy Canadian police drama starring Enrico Colantoni, Hugh Dillon and soon-to-be lesbian heartthrob Amy Jo Johnson. Tonight, a woman holds another woman hostage. 9 p.m. on CBS.

SATURDAY Ellen DeGeneres Presents Halo Purely for Pets Animal-lover Ellen pimps for pets and gives advice on why Halo products are the best for Spot and Fifi. 3 p.m. on QVC.

Game Show in My Head This reality show executive-produced by “Punked” cutie-pie Ashton Kutcher and hosted by former “Fear Factor” host Joe Rogan is pretty engaging, as people are forced to convince total strangers to do outrageous things in a con-man 101. 8 p.m. on CBS.

Raging Bull Martin Scorcese’s extraordinary paean to boxing. Lush, brutal tale of boxer Jake LaMotta (Robert DeNiro). DeNiro won an Oscar for Best Actor as well as a Golden Globe and National Critic’s Circle Award. The film was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, both of which it should have won. The cinematography is breathtaking, the film is arguably Scorcese’s best and it ranks as one of the best films ever made. Phenomenal. With Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty. 8 p.m. on IFC.

Lewis Black: Red, White and Screwed

Comedian Lewis Black does his pro-queer, anti-Republican shtick with gusto. Unbelievably funny. 8:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.

D.L. Hughley: Unapologetic The superbly funny African-American comedian takes on everything from Obama to immigration. 10 p.m. on Comedy Central.

Saturday Night Live Rosario Dawson hosts with Fleet Foxes as the musical guest. 11:30 p.m. on NBC. Check out political sketches at NBC.com.

SUNDAY Big Love The fun-loving polygamist returns with his three wives in this season premiere, in which Bill is wooing more than his wives: He’s also wooing a casino partner. 9 p.m. on HBO.

Desperate Housewives When neighborhood handyman Eli Scruggs passes away, the residents of Wisteria Lane come to realize just how much he affected their lives in this 100th-episode extravaganza. 9 p.m. on ABC.

The L Word In the sixth-season premiere, things pick up after we last saw the girls in the “Lez Girls” wrap-up party. Shane tries to deal with her betrayal to Jenny as they both attempt to figure out their feelings. Bette and Tina get anxious when Angelica’s fever suddenly peaks. Alice and Tasha don’t know whether to break up or stay together. Meanwhile, Helena and Kit party as the new club owners of HIT! Oh — and there’s a murder, which will take all eight episodes of the season to solve through flashbacks. 9 p.m. on Showtime.

Wuthering Heights The Masterpiece Theater version of the classic Emily Bronte novel begins tonight. British heartthrob Tom Hardy stars as Heathcliff and newcomer Charlotte Riley is Cathy. 9 p.m. on PBS.

Brothers & Sisters Now that Robert has Kevin lying to Kitty, what’s next? (And where is Scotty, the MIA gay spouse?) Nora is pushing Saul to debut his new boyfriend. And Sarah is in trouble, for a change. 10 p.m. on ABC.

Flight of the Conchords The zany New Zealanders return in the second-season premiere of what the critics call the best comedy you aren’t watching. 10 p.m. on HBO.

The United States of Tara Toni Collette tears up the small screen as four different characters of a woman with multiple-personality disorder. Series premiere. With Stephen Spielberg as executive producer, this series will indeed match the hype. Collette is, as ever, amazing. 10 p.m. on Showtime.

MONDAY The Big Bang Theory The revolt of the nerds continues on the funniest night on TV. 8 p.m. on CBS.

House At Cameron’s urging, the team takes the case of a suicidal man who suffers from excruciating chronic pain — pain that mirrors House’s. Meanwhile, Cuddy discovers that caring for her newly adopted baby leaves her little time to run the hospital, and Foreman and Thirteen continue to explore their complicated relationship — more complicated since last season she was a lesbian — as they work together on the Huntington’s disease drug trial and her illness. 8 p.m. on FOX.

24 Tony Almeida is alive. How long ’til Jack goes after him? 9 p.m. on FOX.

Bromance It was only a matter of time before TV got hip to the semi-sexual world of male bromance. Host Brody Jenner (“The Hills”) puts nine guys to the test of best buddy-dom. 9 p.m. on MTV.

Momma’s Boys The season finale of Ryan Seacrest’s latest reality show. Three good-looking guys search for the girl of their dreams — with the help of their stereotypically controlling mothers. Eliminations are done via text messages, not roses. The “girls” are dwindling as the viciousness from the mommas heats up. These guys would be so much happier gay, but the “girls” are mostly wonderful. 10 p.m. on NBC.

True Beauty Produced by Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher, this reality series is mesmerizing. The premise is that beauty is interior, not exterior — except the players don’t know that. (Where did ABC get these contestants — six women, four men — who are incredibly, revoltingly self-absorbed?) The cultural-stereotyped snap-diva African-American woman was voted out in the premiere week. One of the bottle blondes seems ripe for tonight’s picking. 10 p.m. on ABC.

TUESDAY American Idol Must-watch, train-wreck TV to seek the latest singing sensation. 8 p.m. on FOX.

Nip/Tuck The hiatus is over and everybody’s favorite slicers and dicers (after Dexter) are back. 10 p.m. on FX.

WEDNESDAY 13: Fear is Real This new series is a reality show with a scary twist as 13 contestants tackle awesomely horrific challenges. This ain’t just bug-eating in the tropics. 8 p.m. on the CW.

Lost After an endless hiatus due to the writers’ strike, the season premiere was delayed until … now! The most complicated, thrilling and engaging show on TV returns with a three-hour premiere in which the Oceanic six try and figure out how to get back to the island. Now where are the others — and The Others? 8 p.m. on ABC.

American Idol The competition continues. 8 p.m. on FOX.

Damages There may be better performances by women on the tube, but it’s difficult to imagine anyone doing a better job than Glenn Close as demonic attorney Patty Hewes. With Rose Byrne, William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden. 10 p.m. on FX.

The Real World: Brooklyn This season includes Sarah, a tatted-up bisexual artist who works with victims of sexual abuse; Katelynn, a transgender female who wants to marry her boyfriend; and Chet, a Mormon frat boy. 10 p.m. on MTV.

Top Chef: New York San Francisco lesbian Jamie, with the many tats and obsessive love of scallops, is hanging in, having made it to the top three. But Eugene and Melissa are out. Rahdika seems to have a lock on immunity — perhaps because she cooks best? 10 p.m. on Bravo.

Sordid Lives: The Series Latrelle comes clean about her pill problem. Jackie, another mental patient, tells Brother Boy she is digging a tunnel out of the institution. Sissy invites Latrelle to stay with her, and Bumper sneaks into Latrelle’s house to attack her. Ty is upset over Walker’s death while Sara moves into Walker’s apartment. G.W. decides to get rid of Noleta so he can be with Peggy. 10:30 p.m. on Logo.

THURSDAY Ugly Betty Betty comes up with a solution to deal with her personal problems, but her sexy neighbor Jesse keeps her distracted from her goals. Daniel does his best to cover his tracks as Connor is adamant on unveiling Molly’s admirer. Time to gay it up, kids. 8 p.m. on ABC.

CSI Grissom’s final episode. (Maybe.) Guaranteed to be a tearjerker. 9 p.m. on CBS.

Grey’s Anatomy Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Sadie (Melissa George) are the best new lesbian couple on the tube. That hair-twirling thing that Sadie does to Callie is fabulous. And the accent… Meanwhile, life and death go on as Meredith and Bailey work to find a donor for a desperately ill child. 9 p.m. on ABC.

30 Rock Liz accompanies Jack to his corporate retreat. Meanwhile, Frank helps Jenna prepare for her role as Janis Joplin. Kenneth helps Tracy through a diabetes scare. With the phenomenal Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. 9:30 p.m. on NBC.

Burn Notice The September cliffhanger left ex-spy Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan) hanging as a bomb went off. The new season premieres tonight with a plot reminiscent of this season’s “24,” as Weston goes off to hunt down the people who tried to kill him. 10 p.m. on USA Network.