In a 2019 special-effects thriller, the top of the mutant reptile heap has to fight his way through Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah before he can be considered “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (9 p.m., HBO Signature). This is all but prelude to the theatrical release of “Godzilla vs. Kong” on March 31. It will also debut on the streaming service HBO Max on that date.
Time was, “Godzilla” movies were considered pretty silly. The quintessential cheap Japanese movie, the 1954 original was only imported into the United States after scenes with Raymond Burr (“Perry Mason”) were spliced into the action to make it accessible to American viewers.
Although many saw the original film as a thinly disguised metaphor about the American atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, its popularity in this country helped turn “Godzilla” into an international franchise, and one of the most durable in film history.
Yet as late as the 1980s, “Godzilla” was enough of a joke for John Candy to appear on “SCTV” as a world-weary giant lizard, reluctantly dragging himself through the talk-show circuit, desperately resisting entreaties to “crush something” and only half-heartedly obliging his hosts.
Yet, as we have seen over the past half-century, one generation’s junk gets recycled into very big box office.
A much-anticipated 1998 “Godzilla” starring Matthew Broderick was crushed by negative reviews, but made enough money worldwide to get the imitative ball rolling.
Since 2014, moviegoers have flocked to “Godzilla,” “Kong: Skull Island” (2017) and “King of the Monsters,” mentioned above, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Let the stomping and snorting begin.
— Craig Wright, Harpo Films and the team behind the recently completed megachurch melodrama “Greenleaf” present the legal soap opera “Delilah” (9 p.m., OWN, TV-14).
While new, the series follows familiar tropes. Delilah Connolly (Maahra Hill) is not just a lawyer, but an elite one, at the tippy-top of the profession. She leaves her white shoe firm to start her own outfit and raise her kids. But her first big case lands her in court, where the opposing counsel happens to be her best friend, Tamara Grayson (Jill Marie Jones).
In conflicts of old, knights would take on their opponents with swords. Cowboys had their six-shooters. Here, professional frenemies do battle wielding giant goblets of chardonnay.
Just as “Greenleaf” was set in and around Memphis, “Delilah” makes much of its Charlotte, North Carolina, setting. As series and streaming platforms proliferate, you’d think “television,” or whatever we’re calling it these days, would pay attention to viewers who live outside New York and Los Angeles.
This is particularly true after COVID, when so many have decided to relocate outside of big cities, since so much office work can be done remotely. It opens up a whole new world of set locations and potential dramatic conflicts or comic culture clashes. But it’s not certain if the folks in charge are really interested. The provincialism of “the industry” is beyond embarrassing.
TONIGHT’S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
— The man who attacked Nic is admitted to the ER on “The Resident” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
— A bombing kills three on “FBI” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
— A seamstress snags some royal attention in the 2021 romance “Fit for a Prince” (9 p.m., Hallmark, TV-G).
— A priest’s murder may be linked to an exorcism on “Prodigal Son” (9 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14).
— A rookie joins the team on “FBI: Most Wanted” (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
— Max confronts unintended consequences on “New Amsterdam” (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
— Looking back at a summer of activism on “Soul of a Nation” (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14)
Music by composer Elmer Bernstein offers a striking contrast to the onscreen chaos of the 1978 comedy “Animal House” (8 p.m., TMC), a great example of a score playing the straight man.
Food truck competition can be murder on “NCIS” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14) … Two helpings of “The Voice” (8 p.m., NBC, r, and 9 p.m., TV-PG) … “To Tell the Truth” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) … Barry’s mind works faster than his feet on “The Flash” (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
House-bound on “black-ish” (9 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG) … Clark recalls days on Krypton on “Superman & Lois” (9 p.m., CW, TV-PG) … The perils of passing on “mixed-ish” (9:30 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG).
Riz Ahmed and Janelle Monae drop by “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (11:35 p.m., CBS) … Jimmy Fallon welcomes Chrissy Teigen and Rory McIlroy on “The Tonight Show” (11:35 p.m., NBC) … Don Johnson, Christina Hendricks, Chloe Zhao and Josh Herndon visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (12:35 a.m., NBC).