Welcome to the jungle

Watching violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Lang Lang face each other across a ping-pong table may not be your idea of great television, but to classical music fans it’s the equivalent of a sci-fi fan geeking out to the sound of Stephen Hawking chiding Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory.” “Mozart in the Jungle” may not be nearly as popular as that hit sitcom, but it deserves credit for humanizing musicians who appear so stoically on stage at stuffy symphonies. The second season, available this week for streaming, doesn’t offer as many titillating views behind the curtains as it did last season, succumbing to such sitcom staples as a wacky search for crooks through Mexico City, but perhaps that’s the sacrifice you make in trying to attract those who don’t know the difference between a violin and a viola. In other words, you may not know that’s Lang Lang delivering a killer table-tennis serve, but you’ll certainly admire his form. Available Wednesday on Amazon Prime

You’ve got a friend

George Lucas may have about as much to do with the new “Star Wars” as the gal popping corn in the theater lobby, but there’s no doubt he deserves to be saluted during “The Kennedy Center Honors,” the closest thing the American arts community has to knighthood. Cicely Tyson, Rita Moreno, Seiji Ozawa and Carole King also join the royal court in what always turns out to be one of network TV’s classiest nights. 8 p.m. Tuesday, WCCO, Ch. 4

Strange brew

Aspiring stand-up Barack Obama has used his executive authority to skip open-mic night at Chuckles Cafe and go straight to “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” Jerry Seinfeld’s caffeine-fueled dissection of his craft, which revs up for its seventh season. The cruise with the president, in a 1963 Corvette Stingray, precedes episodes with Will Ferrell, Steve Martin and Garry Shandling. Available for streaming at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday on Crackle

Bubbly with Coop and Seacrest

Kathy Griffin’s impression of a brat annoying her big brother is the main reason to celebrate “New Year’s Eve Live With Anderson Cooper” (7 p.m. Thursday, CNN), but it’ll be hard to ignore all the bells and whistles emanating from “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest” (7 p.m. Thursday, KSTP, Ch. 5), including the world premiere of Taylor Swift’s video for “Out of the Woods” and Jimmy Buffett’s performance of “Margaritaville.”

Neal Justin