Only Yesterday (TCM 6 p.m.) TCM continues its month-long tribute to Japanese master animator Hayao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli films. This subtle yet masterful drama (written and directed by Grave of the Fireflies director Isao Takahata) is unavailable on DVD in the U.S., so you shouldn't miss the opportunity to see it. It follows a 27-year-old office worker to the Japanese countryside, where she reminisces about her childhood. Incomparably beautiful.
“Cartoon Cartoon” (Cartoon Network 10 p.m.) CN's cartoon premiere show shows off “The Karate Guard,” the first new Tom and Jerry short in Lord knows how long. It's actually directed by animation legend Joseph Barbera, who helped create the characters 65 years ago! The 7-minute cartoon has been submitted for a 2006 Academy Award nomination in the animated short film category, marking the first time a major studio has been nominated in the category in Lord knows how long.
Hidden Places (Hallmark 7 p.m.) This no-doubt inspiring film stars Jason Gedrick (of Iron Eagle fame) as a drifter who helps a widow (Shirley Jones of “The Partridge Family” fame) save her apple farm. I'm weeping already.
“The 12th Annual Screen Actor's Guild Awards” (TNT 6 p.m.) Everybody always seems pretty uptight at these awards--probably because there are no directing or writing awards to take the heat off the actors.
Submerged (USA 7 p.m.) Thank God for USA Network; otherwise, fat, aging pacifist Steven Seagal would be unemployed. And you don't want that guy knocking on your door telling you about how he's the reincarnation of a Buddhist lama and asking for donations.
The Water is Wide (KRQE-13 8 p.m.) This novel by Pat Conroy (The Great Santini, The Prince of Tides) was filmed once before, in 1974, as Conrack. This time around, it's on TV and “idealistic white teacher inspiring poor black kids” Jon Voight has been replaced by some guy named Jeff Hephner.
Flight 93 (A&E 7 p.m.) I gotta say, I'm a little uncomfortable about this first dramatization of the events that took place on 9/11. ... But, if you wanna see the origin of George W.'s catchphrase “Let's Roll!” this is the place for it.
“2006 State of the Union Address” (KASA-2, KOB-4, KNME-5, KOAT-7, KRQE-13 7 p.m.) Speaking of George W.'s catchphrases, tune in for a handful tonight: “Torture is OK by me,” “We only wiretap people we don't like” and the increasingly popular “Abramoff who?”
“That's What I'm Talking About” (TV Land 8 p.m.) This three-part miniseries (just in time for Black History Month), traces the effect African-Americans have had on music, movies, popular culture and (of course) television. Guest commentators include Spike Lee, Nia Long, Wayne Brady, DL Hughley, Wanda Sykes, Harry Belafonte, Rev. Al Sharpton and Joey Fatone. ... Joey Fatone? OK, who let the chubby *NSync dude in here?