Tune in Tonight: Let’s party like it’s 1984

For years after the publication of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, the notion of the year 1984 loomed as a fearful vision of the future. Now, some eight decades after the novel and 40 years after the fearful year came and went, some of Orwell’s notions about mass surveillance and not-so-subtle societal control have come to pass.

At the same time, the year 1984 is now seen as a sweet spot of nostalgia and a way for programmers to reach viewers who associated it with their youth. Tonight’s cable schedule includes three films from that year. Kevin Bacon and John Lithgow star in the musical fantasy “Footloose” (8 p.m., AMC, TV-14). Molly Ringwald portrays an overlooked teen in the bittersweet comedy “16 Candles” (9:30 p.m., AMC, TV-14) and Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a frightening avatar of robotic AI gone rogue in the prophetic drama “The Terminator” (7:30 p.m., BBC America, TV-14). Given current concerns, one could argue that the warnings from that film have eclipsed those of Orwell’s novel. Some might also argue that the political fever dreams of our current era were anticipated by the deeply paranoid fantasy “Red Dawn,” another 1984 release, directed by John Milius.

— Hulu streams the documentary “Brats,” a glance back at the films and celebrity culture of the mid-1980s. Produced by ABC News, it is directed by Andrew McCarthy, who assembles some of his fellow Brat Pack actors, including Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Jon Cryer, Lea Thompson and Timothy Hutton, some of whom he has not seen for decades. He also invites writer David Blum, who coined the term “Brat Pack” for a New York magazine cover story published in 1985, the year of the thoroughly ridiculous movie “St. Elmo’s Fire.”

Was Judd Nelson too busy to attend this reunion? Apparently, or at least according to an article in Us magazine, Nelson had no interest in rekindling interest in a cultural phenomenon he did not entirely understand or enjoy. He seemed to imply that the definition of the Brat Pack was rather vague and its list of members even more tenuous.

Nelson, who appeared in “St. Elmo’s Fire,” the definitive Brat Pack movie, does seem to have a point. Many films of the period featured ensemble casts, from “The Outsiders” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” from 1983, “The Goonies” (1985) and too many John Hughes comedies to catalog. Are all their cast members Brat Packers? If not, why not?

When did the phenomenon begin or end? Is “The Lost Boys” (1987) on the list? Or did the Coreys kill the Brat Pack”? Inquiring minds want to know!

— Max streams the comedy special “Hannah Einbinder: Everything Must Go,” starring the supporting actress from the service’s just-renewed comedy about comedy, “Hacks.”

— Competitors agree to travel above the Arctic Circle for a chance to win $500,000 as the survival series “Alone” (9 p.m., History) enters its 11th season in its Northernmost and most remote location.

— The social influencer series “Follow Me” streams its second season on Crackle.


— Stocks and bonds and homicide on “Law & Order” (8 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).

— A two-hour helping of “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG).

— The Edmonton Oilers host the Florida Panthers in the 2024 Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m., ABC).

— Benson consoles a rattled witness on “Law & Order: SVU” (9 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).

— The runway can be murder on “Elsbeth” (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).

— The squad goes out of their way to help Stabler on “Law & Order: Organized Crime” (10 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).


There was a quaint time (2005) when some worried that it was undignified for a presidential hopeful (John McCain) to appear in a raunchy comedy like “Wedding Crashers” (8 p.m., Paramount, TV-14).


Heavy weather on “Young Sheldon” (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) … Jay’s sister visits on “Ghosts” (8:30 p.m. CBS, r, TV-PG) … A bonfire party gets out of control on “Fire Country” (10 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG).


Jude Law and Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats are booked on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (11:35 p.m., CBS) … Jimmy Fallon welcomes Ayo Edebiri, Talking Heads and the Linda Lindas on “The Tonight Show” (11:35 p.m., NBC) … Sean Penn, June Squibb and the Avett Brothers appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (11:35 p.m., ABC).

Jon Hamm, Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (12:35 a.m., NBC) … Taylor Tomlinson hosts Jenna Ushkowitz, Kate Micucci and Eliot Glazer on “After Midnight” (12:35 a.m., CBS).