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What To Watch

The best TV during the week of July 21, 2000, from the baseball documentary ”When It Was a Game III” to the sitcom ”Manhattan, AZ”

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MONDAY July 17

WHEN IT WAS A GAME III (HBO)
The second sequel to the award-winning 1991 documentary uses gorgeous vintage footage to recount the story of baseball in the 1960s. Comments from players (Hank Aaron), broadcasters (Bob Costas), and fans (Billy Crystal) accompany the film, but since they’re heard only in voice-over, we don’t see what, say, St. Louis Cardinals hurler Bob Gibson looks like today. But that’s the only strike against this Game. B+Bruce Fretts

TUESDAY July 18

THE LOST GODS OF EASTER ISLAND WITH DAVID ATTENBOROUGH (PBS)
Famed wildlife freak Attenborough chases the mystery behind an arresting wooden figurine he snagged at auction. His search for answers on isolated Easter Island makes great television, even if it does sometimes play like one of those endless science-class videos we’re all trying to erase from memory. BNicholas Fonseca

THURSDAY July 20

WIN BEN STEIN’S MONEY (Comedy Central)
This Ben Stein Witch Project spoof would be an absolute hoot… if it weren’t a full year too late. The shaky hand-held camera movement, the spooky stick figures, the obligatory flashlight shot — they’re all here… again! While we love the fun Ben and Jimmy have on their theme episodes, we expected something a wee bit more current. What’s next, a Macarena edition? B-

FRIDAY July 21

SOUND AFFECTS (VH1)
It’s not nice to make fun of other people’s epiphanies, but we’re gonna do it anyway. This VH1 sap-fest profiles people’s emotional tales of triumph over tragedy through the inspiring power of music. Before long, however, the endless assault of personal calamities wears thin, leaving us to mock callously the uplifting music (Neil Diamond? ”The Seeds of Love”-era Tears for Fears?) in question. C

SATURDAY June 22

ICE (ABC)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, so pass the hot cocoa. Grant Show and Eva La Rue take on Mother Nature and the dawning of a new ice age in this horrendous disaster telepic. Also along for the ride are a mini-motley crew of survivalists with a license to chill, including a crabby scientist, a religious nutjob, and some sort of Kid ‘n Play reject who engages Show in a tired Die Hard 3 race routine. If we had our say, we’d vote the whole damn lot of them off the planet, along with whoever wrote this cliché riddled absurdity. D

SUNDAY June 23

MANHATTAN, AZ (USA)
This assiduously zany sitcom features an L.A. police officer (Brian McNamara) who desires a change of scenery after his environmentalist wife goes overboard during a save-the-dolphins protest, dies, and is inadvertently canned as tuna (the widower and his son, played by Berry, even go so far as to bury a case of her). The series — which gives new meaning to the phrase ”fish out of water” — has the lawman move to fictional Manhattan, Ariz., to be sheriff, where he encounters a genially corrupt mayor (TV vet Chad Everett, having a great time sending up his tanned-pretty-boy image) and numerous local oddballs. Overwrought, to be sure, but dang if it isn’t a hoot. B
Ken Tucker