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    The ticket: Television

    Bob Mahoney


    THE 86th ACADEMY AWARDS 8:30 p.m., ABC

    Ellen DeGeneres returns for her second stint as host of the big show. Among the themes slated for tribute set pieces are “heroes and heroines” and a commemoration of “The Wizard of Oz” on its 75th anniversary, including an appearance from Judy Garland’s children Liza Minnelli and Lorna and Joey Luft. Our money is on Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”) and Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”) to bring home the Academy Awards for best actress and actor, respectively.


    BATES MOTEL 9 p.m., A&E

    Norma (Vera Farmiga) and Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) return in all their twisted familial glory for a second season of psychodrama. While this show had jagged tonal shifts in its first season, Farmiga is astonishing in her portrayal of a very complicated woman.



    Skye (Chloe Bennet) is in trouble and Coulson (Clark Gregg) is determined to save her. Enter recurring guest star Bill Paxton (“Big Love,” “Aliens,” “Near Dark”) as John Garrett, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent with a whole lot of cigar-chomping attitude.


    WEIRD OR WHAT? 9 p.m., Syfy


    This series attempts to explain the seemingly unexplainable, including a sky diver who survived his parachute failing and the possibility of spontaneous human combustion. No word on whether “Spinal Tap” drummers are studied in the latter.


    SIRENS 10 p.m., USA

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    “Rescue Me” star Denis Leary returns to TV as executive producer of this half-hour comedy about a trio of Chicago EMTs. At the recent Television Critics Association press tour Leary promised high comedy with the occasional jolt of emotional drama. Look for guest-starring appearances from Leary’s Boston comic buddy Lenny Clarke as well as Jean Smart and Bill Nunn.


    GUCCI: THE DIRECTOR 8 p.m., Showtime

    This documentary offers a glimpse inside the famous fashion house as it presents a portrait of Gucci’s creative director, Frida Giannini. The filmmakers spent 18 months inside the walls of Gucci watching the woman credited as the creative force behind the brand.


    THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL 8 p.m., Lifetime

    This Horton Foote classic began as a TV film, migrated to Broadway, then the big screen and back to Broadway in a Tony-winning revival with Cicely Tyson. “Bountiful” comes full circle with this star-studded Lifetime adaptation which finds Tyson reprising her Tony-winning Broadway role and joined by Vanessa Williams, Blair Underwood, and Keke Palmer. (Pictured: Underwood and Tyson.)