The French Impressionists (November 18; 8 to 10 p.m.; Channel 21) doesn’t tell us much we didn’t already know, but tells it in high-definition, so the color sticks, the light explodes, and if we can’t leave immediately for Paris, we will want at least to listen to Edith Piaf. Frank Deford is an agreeable tour guide among the famous paintings by Monet, Pissaro, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne, Gauguin, Cassatt, and van Gogh, while also explaining what led up to a revolution in sensibility.
Invincible (November 18; 8 to 10 p.m.; TBS) is as much fun to look at as it is ludicrous to contemplate. Billy Zane stars as Os, a 2,000-year-old Shadowman, or fallen angel, who has seen the light as well as the terrible swift sword of the White Warrior, converts to a blissful wushu, and trains four “Elements” (Air, Fire, Water, Metal) to do martial-arts battle with forces of evil bent on opening a “vortex” to destroy our world. The rest is Crouching Buffy Meets Kung Fu.
In Love and War (November 18; 9 to 11 p.m.; CBS), an adaptation by Sir John Mortimer of Eric Newby’s autobiography, recounts a World War II love affair in Occupied Italy between a British POW (Callum Blue) and a Slovenian anti-fascist’s daughter (Barbora Bobulova) who bicycles to his rescue. Italy looks sort of French Impressionist, the young lovers are equally handsome, and we are cheered to learn at the end that their real-life counterparts recently celebrated their fifty-fifth wedding anniversary.
The Nightclub Years (November 18; 9 to 11 p.m.; A&E) is a perfectly good excuse to hear Frank Sinatra, Sophie Tucker, Milton Berle, Lena Horne, and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, as the likes of Alan King and Barbara Walters sound-bite about what the Latin Quarter, Blue Angel, and the rest did to the livers and lungs of New Yorkers and Angelenos in the decades of scotch and smoke between vaudeville and television.