What's the old saying? History repeats itself: first as tragedy, then as farce.
The second coming of "90210" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) concludes tonight, unmourned and unmissed. And largely unwatched.
In fact, while most people watch series finales to see how things turn out, the network is promoting the last "90210" as a showcase for a guest stint by Prince Michael Jackson and a performance by the Goo Goo Dolls.
The CW, and the WB before it, used to be the place for teenage melodrama. From "Dawson's Creek" to "One Tree Hill" to "Gilmore Girls," it was where you could watch improbably good-looking young people wrestle with several lifetimes of emotional entanglements all before graduating from high school.
That baton appears to have been picked up, or perhaps stolen, by the ABC Family network. That channel routinely grabs the lion's share of the young female audience that used to watch the WB/CW with "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," "Pretty Little Liars" and similar fare. Even "Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has migrated there with the critically acclaimed "Bunheads."
While no CW show has a huge audience, its strengths -- and that word may be an exaggeration -- appear to be the comic book melodrama. The series the network was quickest to renew were "Arrow," "The Vampire Diaries" and
---The three-part documentary series "Going Ape" (10 p.m., National Geographic, TV-14) uses hidden cameras to examine human and primate behavior and demonstrate
startling similarities between humans and their simian
TV fans of a certain vintage may recall the phrase "going ape" as one of the favorites of Wally Cleaver on "Leave It to Beaver." Whenever he wanted to condescend to his excitable little brother, he'd say, "Hey Beav, don't go ape about it."
---Speaking of condescending, youngsters unload on their brothers and sisters on the "Nick News" special "If Only I Were an Only Child" (8 p.m., Nickelodeon, TV-G), a frank discussion of the annoying things brothers and sisters can do.
---"Independent Lens" (10 p.m., PBS, TV-14) presents a documentary as timely as this week's headlines. "The Invis- ible War" addresses rape and sexual assault in the U.S. military, as well as the ostracism of women who report on their abusers.
---"First Ladies: Influence & Image" (9 p.m., C-SPAN) profiles Lucy Hayes, dubbed "Lemonade Lucy" when she and her husband (President Rutherford B. Hayes) refused to serve alcohol at White House functions.
---The gang anticipates Robin and Barney's wedding on "How I Met Your Mother" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---A deep cleaning proves rewarding on "2 Broke Girls" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---After a rough session with the feds, Beckett rethinks his career on "Castle" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Chefs create a dinner for service members on "Hell's Kitchen" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---Adrian, Amy and Grace muse about their futures on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (8 p.m., ABC Family, TV-14).
---A teen's (Reese Witherspoon) ambitions get trapped in a teacher's (Matthew Broderick) midlife crisis in the 1999 comedy "Election" (8:15 p.m., Cinemax).
---Worlds collide on "Defiance" (9 p.m., Syfy, TV-14).
---McGarrett helps his mother retrieve evidence on "Hawaii Five-0" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Romance blooms on "Revo lution" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---Daniel's adjustment takes a toll on his sanity on "Rectify" (10 p.m., Sundance, TV-14).
---Miss Watson encourages Norman's imaginative side on "Bates Motel" (10 p.m., A&E, TV-14).
---Enrico Colantoni and his "Galaxy Quest" co-star, Missi Pyle, appear on "Warehouse 13" (10 p.m., Syfy, TV-14).
Family intrigue and 16th-century religious wars loom large in the 1998 big-screen biography "Eliza beth" (8 p.m., TMC), starring Cate Blanchett.
---Live performances on "The Voice" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
---Amy chafes at Sheldon's assistant on "The Big Bang Theory" (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).
---Molly remains blind to an in-
appropriate advance on "Mike & Molly" (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---J.J. Abrams is scheduled on "The Daily Show With Jon Stew art" (11 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Mila Kunis, Chris Hardwick and Family of the Year appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS, r).
---Lady Antebellum, Thomas Dale, Arden Myrin and Gary Valentine are booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).
---Jessica Buchanan & Erik Landemalm sit down on "The Col bert Report" (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Mark Harmon and Luke Bryan appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Miranda Lambert, Ross Matthews and Pistol Annies on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Robert Downey Jr., Simon Pegg and the Goo Goo Dolls appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC, r).
---Bradley Cooper, Portia de Rossi and Vampire Weekend visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts John Cho on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at email@example.com.