TV picks for Feb. 16-20: National Theatre, 'House of Cards,' Jimmy Fallon, Amy Adams

  • Updated: February 13, 2014 - 6:55 PM
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Judi Dench performs "Send in the Clowns" from "A Little Night Music" in "Great Performances: National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage."

Photo: Catherine Ashmore,

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All the world’s a stage

Those who believe the London theater scene is reserved for Shakespeare and Andrew Lloyd Webber need to grab a front-row seat to “National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage,” a rich collection of archived clips and fresh scenes that celebrate the institution founded by Laurence Olivier shortly after the opening of the Guthrie. Among the highlights: a delicious clip from Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever” proving Maggie Smith mastered haughty humor years ago; Benedict Cumberbatch and Adrian Lester mining big laughs from Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” and Judi Dench (above) delivering such a moving version of “Send in the Clowns” that you’ll wonder why they didn’t give her “M” character in the James Bond films a musical number. 1 p.m. Sunday, TPT Life

Mind games

Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) returns for another round of deception, manipulation and BBQ ribs in the second season of “House of Cards,” the delicious political thriller that has already changed television. By once again releasing 13 episodes at once, producer David Fincher and others are proving that the regular network distribution of programs is becoming less and less relevant. Currently streaming on Netflix

Be our guest

“The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” debuts with Will Smith and U2, which means there’s always the possibility the Fresh Prince and Bono will team up for a version of “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It.” Other guests for inaugural week include Jerry Seinfeld, Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama and Justin Timberlake. For more on Fallon and the show’s potential, read our story on page E1. 10:35 p.m. Monday, KARE, Ch. 11

Do the hustle

Oscar nominee Amy Adams stops by “Inside the Actors Studio,” where host James Lipton should have a note card dedicated solely to her time at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Knowing Lipton, though, he’ll probably turn over that allotted time to focus on the subject of his guest’s cleavage in “American Hustle.” 7 p.m. Wednesday, Bravo

Neal Justin

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