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Filmmaker Asgeir Helgestad in a scene from the documentary, “My Journey with a Polar Bear,” tonight at 9 p.m. on the Smithsonian channel.

Years in the making, the documentary “My Journey with a Polar Bear” (9 p.m., Smithsonian) follows filmmaker Asgeir Helgestad as he bonds with a polar bear mother and her two cubs.

He didn’t set out to film them, but fate intervened in the most dramatic fashion. “My snowmobile overheated while I was crossing a frozen fjord,” Helgestad recalls. That’s where he first catches sight of the bear he would name “Frost” and her two tiny offspring.

Set against the breathtaking austerity of the Arctic, “Journey” allows viewers to follow Frost, her cubs and wildlife as diverse as walruses and arctic birds as the seasons change in the some of the most forbidding climate on Earth. It also documents the undeniable effects of rising air and water temperatures on the landscape and ecology of the region.

• Cable networks continually appeal to 40-something viewers with movies from the 1980s or shows set in that decade, or reflecting its pop culture.

A clear influence on the spirit, if not the story, of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” the 1985 buried-treasure adventure “The Goonies” (9:30 p.m., Freeform, TV-PG) stars Sean Astin, Josh Brolin and Jeff Cohen as well as other young talent. On a radio interview, actress Martha Plimpton (“Raising Hope”) recalled how fans still shout “Goonies!” when she walks by.

The decade began as the anti-authority spirit of comedies like “Saturday Night Live” and “Animal House” were beginning to dominate popular culture. Few films better reflected that comedy generation than the 1980 country club spoof “Caddyshack” (9 p.m., POP), starring “SNL” veterans Bill Murray and Chevy Chase. “Caddyshack” would champion a scholarship student and pit a nouveau riche slob (Rodney Dangerfield) against a rich, cheating snob (Ted Knight, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”)

The decade would conclude with the curious Cinderella fantasy “Pretty Woman” (9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., WE), starring Julia Roberts as a hooker with a heart of gold “saved” by a Wall Street operator (Richard Gere). The film and its popularity reflected a 180-degree change in attitudes toward the wealthy from films like “Caddyshack.”

If Julia Roberts’ incandescent smile illuminated the early 1990s, Molly Ringwald played the every-girl of the 1980s in John Hughes movies including the 1984 comedy “Sixteen Candles,” (8 p.m., IFC, TV-14).

Eighties nostalgia is hardly a recent phenomenon. It’s been around at least since 1998, when Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore starred in the ‘80s-themed rom-com “The Wedding Singer” (10 p.m., IFC, TV-14), which includes Sandler’s mopey covers of songs by The Cure and concludes with a Billy Idol cameo.

• The Australian political thriller “Secret City” enters its second season on Netflix.

Tonight’s other highlights

• A shootout rattles staff on “Chicago Med” (9 p.m., NBC, R, TV-14).

• Auditions continue on “American Idol” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

• The two-hour finale of “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back” (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) offers tough love for an L.A. eatery.

• Emma Stone and Steve Carell star as Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in the 2017 true-life drama “Battle of the Sexes” (9 p.m., Cinemax).

• A structure fire puts lives at risk on “Chicago Fire” (10 p.m., NBC, R, TV-14).

• “The Real Housewives of New York City” (10 p.m., Bravo, TV-14) enters its 11th season.

• A case hits close to home for Atwater on “Chicago P.D.” (11 p.m., NBC, R, TV-14).

• Kiss and tell on “Whiskey Cavalier” (11 p.m., ABC, TV-14).

Cult choice

• Matt Damon and Claire Danes star in the 1997 legal thriller “John Grisham’s The Rainmaker” (11:10 p.m., TMC), directed by Francis Ford Coppola. One of many comebacks for Mickey Rourke and the last film appearance by Teresa Wright (“Mrs Miniver”).

Series notes

Contestants engage in an immunity challenge on “Survivor” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... Betty learns about the Farm’s plans on “Riverdale” (9 p.m., CW, TV-14) ... Judges and experts evaluate “The World’s Best” (10 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... Spencer wants nothing to do with his father’s return on “All American” (10 p.m., CW, TV-PG).

Late night

“The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” (Midnight, Comedy Central) examines the Russian scandal ... Rachel Feinstein sits down on “Conan” (Midnight, TBS) ... Jimmy Fallon welcomes Steve Martin, Martin Short, Tim Tebow and Avril Lavigne on “The Tonight Show” (12:35 a.m., NBC, R) ... Chris Pratt, Gemma Chan and David Gray appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (12:35 a.m., ABC).

John Goodman, Julia Garner, Geoffrey Zakarian and Charlie Hall visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (1:35 a.m., NBC, R) ... Allison Janney, Samuel L. Jackson and the Jonas Brothers appear on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” (1:35 a.m., CBS).