FX REMAKES a classic film and offers it as a three-part limited series. I had a bad feeling about similar efforts when they first announced “Fargo,” and that has been a triumph. So I decided to give this “Black Narcissus” (8 p.m., TV-MA) the benefit of the doubt.
Based on a best-selling novel by Rumer Godden, “Narcissus” relates the story of an order of British nuns who set up a convent school in the remote Himalayan palace of Mopu. Known as “the house of women” because a local warlord once kept his harem there, it has a tragic history. The current general (Kulvinder Ghir) hopes the presence of holy women can cleanse the place of its evil reputation, as it was there his sister Srimati (Gianni Gonsalves) committed suicide.
The nuns of Saint Faith have problems of their own. Headstrong and overconfident, the mother superior, Sister Clodagh (Gemma Arterton), may have unwisely entered religious life to get over a broken heart. She must contend with the nervous sister Ruth (Aisling Franciosi) as well as the altitude, indifferent locals and the handsome and louche Mr. Dean (Alessandro Nivola), a British expat working for the general who comes to her rescue time and again.
The 1947 adaptation by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger featured cinematography by Jack Cardiff that many believe represents the greatest triumph of the Technicolor process.
In the decades since, many visitors to the Himalayas claim they have seen the original location of that film, not knowing that its Palace of Mopu was built entirely on a set. Such were the miracles of Powell-Pressburger productions, films that represent the distinction between mere special effects and art.
In that film, the slow unraveling of Sisters Clodagh and Ruth could be blamed on a lush location, its exotic pull, erotic past and ever-present winds. In this miniseries, Mopu is literally haunted.
The nuns of Saint Faith have banished mirrors from their midst. When poor Sr. Ruth stumbles upon a looking glass, she just can’t stop gazing. And soon she’s got company. But not among the living.
This takes “Black Narcissus” in a whole new direction. And, mercifully, away from unfair comparisons to a masterpiece.
Look for appearances by Jim Broadbent, Gina McKee and the late Diana Rigg in one of her final screen appearances.
FX will air all three episodes tonight. It streams tomorrow on FX on Hulu.
• Over the next four nights, the CW will air “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” (8 p.m., CW, TV-14). Each two-hour episode follows mother and daughter and the folks from Stars Hollow over the course of a season. First up: “Winter.” “Life” has streamed on Netflix since 2016.
• The “Independent Lens” (10 p.m., PBS, TV-14, check local listings) documentary “Belly of the Beast” exposes abuses in the California prison system, where forced sterilization and other procedures recall the horrors of the eugenics era in the early 20th century.
• A diamond heist on “L.A.’s Finest” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
• The season finale of “Dancing With the Stars” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
• The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Los Angeles Rams in NFL action (8 p.m., ESPN).
• An overscheduled professional rekindles a relationship with her high school boyfriend when she returns to her small town for Christmas in the 2020 romance “Heart of the Holidays” (8 p.m., Hallmark, TV-G). A major deviation from the norm! (Just kidding).
• Overexposed on “All Rise” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).
• Jesus goes missing on “Filthy Rich” (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
• Dust in the wind on “His Dark Materials” (9 p.m., HBO, TV-14).
• Conflicts of interest on “Bull” (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
• A wretched decision on “The Good Doctor” (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
A son’s snobbery keeps his mother from remarrying and blinds him to his family’s fading fortunes in Orson Welles’ 1942 adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s novel “The Magnificent Ambersons” (6:15 p.m., TCM, TV-PG).
Debate night on “The Neighborhood” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... “The Voice” (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) ... A party postponed on “Bob Hearts Abishola” (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... Jane Lynch hosts “Weakest Link” (10 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
Jimmy Fallon welcomes Emma Stone, Ben Falcone and Josh Groban on “The Tonight Show” (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Mandy Moore and Jeff Tweedy visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (12:35 a.m., NBC).