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TV Highlights (Jan. 15, 2021): '20/20' ignores recent events for JonBenet special
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TV Highlights (Jan. 15, 2021): '20/20' ignores recent events for JonBenet special

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In the days and weeks after the 9/11 attack, network and cable broadcasters devoted their programming to little else.

But now, a scant 10 days after a terror attack on the Capitol — and at a time when thousands die every day from a pandemic, a president has just been impeached for the second time and a presidential transition is taking place against the backdrop of multiple Constitutional crises — the “news program” “20/20” (8 p.m., ABC) devotes two hours of prime time to the search for the killer of JonBenet Ramsey, a child pageant contestant murdered in 1996.

TONIGHT’S HIGHLIGHTSLadies free figure skating (7 p.m., NBC), live from Las Vegas.

Wrestling action on “WWE Friday Night SmackDown” (7 p.m., Fox).

In a 2021 melodrama, a college grad returns home to find her mother has a new boyfriend, someone she thinks of as “The Wrong Mr. Right” (7 p.m., LMN).

A vital witness seems rather sketchy on “Blue Bloods” (9 p.m., CBS, rerun).

Opera singers and music buffs recall a famous soprano’s 1964 comeback on “Great Performances: The Magic of Callas” (9 p.m. on Channel 36, 10 p.m. on Channel 11, PBS).

CULT CHOICECary Grant and Audrey Hepburn star in the stylish 1963 romantic thriller “Charade” (7 p.m., TCM), set in Paris and directed by Stanley Donen in the Hitchcock tradition. A perfect score by Henry Mancini adds an element of whimsy to the intrigue.

SERIES NOTESDeciphering a dead man’s last message on “MacGyver” (7 p.m., CBS) ... Artisanal sauces on “Shark Tank” (7 p.m., ABC) ... Improvisations on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” (7 p.m. CW), followed by a repeat episode (7:30 p.m., CW).

Shelter from the storm on “Magnum P.I.” (8 p.m., CBS) ... magic tricks on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” (8:30 p.m., CW).

NEW TO STREAMINGHulu streams the new teen melodrama “The Ultimate Playlist of Noise.”

After suffering a seizure, precocious high school senior Marcus (Keean Johnson) must undergo lifesaving surgery that will leave him deaf. While that would be tragic under any circumstances, it’s particularly hard on Marcus, an audio buff and collector of songs and sounds.

Faced with the loss of hearing, he decides to compile a collection of every “noise” that he loves and knows he will lose and share them with his friends, especially the fetching busker (Madeline Brewer) he met just before his seizure. They fell in love “at first sound.”

“Noise” will appeal to fans of the many books and movies about young adults dying young. It also suffers from most of the pitfalls of that maudlin genre. Its poignancy is hammered in nearly every scene, mostly through use of Marcus’s wise-beyond-his-years voiceover. The kid sounds like he’s living his life as a podcast.

It also continues one of the more annoying trends of recent pop culture. For some writers, teens can only sound “smart” if they parrot the pop culture of their elders. Do teens in 2021 really want to listen to cassettes of Sonic Youth?

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