By Kevin McDonough
If you can imagine "Reservoir Dogs"-level violence employed in an hour-long sitcom, then perhaps you're ready for "Happy!" (10 p.m., Syfy, TV-MA).
Not to give too much away but the show opens with miserable hit man Nick Sax (Christopher Meloni) staring in the mirror of the men's room of a dive bar. Then he takes a revolver and blows his head off.
But instead of dying, he dances around for an excruciating period with a torrent of blood rushing out of the top of his head and throbbing to dance music. Then he's back to staring in the mirror.
Maybe this was a hallucination. Or maybe he can't be killed. Or something.
From there we go to a tale of a sick child molester dressed as a Santa who kidnaps kids from Christmas pageants and keeps them in crates.
A bloodbath shootout follows that should have killed Nick, but instead sends him to the hospital, where he's pursued by a sadist torturer and bad cop (Lili Mirojnick).
Then finally there's Happy (the voice of Patton Oswalt), a goofy, animated flying blue unicorn that just may be the guardian angel (or something) for one of the kidnapped children.
In between geysers of blood, Happy keeps flying Tinker Bell-like after Nick, trying to keep him focused on saving the girl. This is all supposed to be funny. Or something.
• For more gore, don't miss "Knightfall" (10 p.m., History, TV-14), a new 10-part historical epic about the Knights Templar, the medieval military order associated with the Crusades and the search for the Holy Grail. "Knightfall" is clearly a complement to "Vikings" and very rich in hacking, whacking, swordplay and blunt force trauma. Look for Jim Carter (Mr. Carson from "Downton Abbey") as Pope Boniface VIII.
• Sigourney Weaver narrates the three-part special "Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist" (9 p.m., National Geographic). "Secrets" pulls from more than 40 hours of archival footage and draws upon Fossey's letters and interviews to recall her 18 years in the jungles of Rwanda studying and protecting mountain gorillas, a mission that probably cost Fossey her life. She was found brutally murdered in 1985.
• Hulu begins streaming the 10-episode second season of "Shut Eye," set among con artists and psychics.
TONIGHT'S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
• "A Very Pentatonix Christmas" (8 p.m., NBC, r, TV-PG) features holiday-themed a cappella performances.
• Diana's schemes bear fruit on "Empire" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
• Ragnar's boys squabble on "Vikings" (9 p.m., History, TV-MA).
• An overdose sparks a hunt for a pill mill on "Chicago P.D." (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
• A message in the mail bag on "Designated Survivor" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
• Kesha and Old Crow Medicine Show blend styles on "CMT Crossroads" (10 p.m., CMT, TV-PG).
Everybody's a critic on "The Goldbergs" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) * F.P. (Skeet Ulrich) returns on "Riverdale" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) * JJ feels the force on "Speechless" (8:30 p.m., ABC) * A rescue mission sparks an international incident on "SEAL Team" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14) * An online prank proves all too real on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14) * Carlotta puts family first on "Star" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * Phil goes camping on "Modern Family" (9 p.m., ABC) * Darkness descends on the tree lighting on "Dynasty" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14) * Double-dating on "American Housewife" (9:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) * Trouble in Roswell on "Criminal Minds" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
St. Vincent is booked on "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah" (11 p.m., Comedy Central) * Denis Leary, Frankie Shaw and Khalid Rahmaan on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS) * Ed Helms, Christopher Jackson and Bleachers are on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (11:35 p.m., CBS) * Jimmy Fallon welcomes John Cena, Bridget Everett and Beck on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC) * Dax Shepard, Lily James, Max Brooks and Brooks Wackerman visit "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (12:35 a.m., NBC) * Kristen Wiig, Morgan Freeman and Seth MacFarlane appear on "The Late Late Show With James Corden" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
© 2017, United Feature Syndicate