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What To Watch

From the animal series ‘Shark Gordon’ to the debut of comedy series ‘That’s Life,’ a guide to notable programs during the week of September 29, 2000

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Tuesday September 26

Don’t movies just flat out rule? And Twentieth Century Fox, does it kick butt or what? This two hour pat on the back (it’s produced in conjunction with the studio) does little more than rattle off a laundry list of Fox’s cinematic success stories (like Star Wars) of the past 35 years. It’s like one long, inflated Oscar night montage, only without that delightful Billy Crystal. C

Wednesday Sept. 27

This Biography edition ponders the whereabouts of the maverick labor organizer who disappeared in 1975. But what disappoints is not that it can’t tell us where he is, but who he was. It’s known that as leader of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Hoffa and his Mob alliances helped make the IBT the nation’s most powerful union, and that they also paved the way (perhaps literally) for his demise. But was he a good man who did a bad thing, or a Machiavellian thug? Like the feds’ ongoing search party, the jury’s still out. B-
Mike Flaherty

Thursday Sept. 28

Move over, Crocodile Hunter. The folks over at the critter network have obviously decided that one hyperactive Aussie adventurer isn’t enough. Meet Ian ”Shark” Gordon, the affable host of Animal Planet’s 13-part series who wants to educate viewers about ”one of the most fee-ud animals on uuuth.” Like his lizard loving counterpart, Gordon is reckless, fearless, and disarmingly garrulous: In the first episode, he makes such cheerful comments as ”Thay’s nothing that a white shawk likes moah than a fat, juicy seal pup!” Here’s something else I learned: An ‘awf hour is a bloody long time to be watching a bunch of shawks. C
Wook Kim

Friday Sept. 29

Mainlander Samantha Brown sheds a few layers to explore island life in this new travel series. And while being escorted through scenic Hawaii by a bikini clad babe may seem like every guy’s dream, an hour with the perma perky host had us searching for that other vacation hot spot — the bar. C+

Sunday October 1

Heather Paige Kent and, in a smaller, best friend supporting role, Debi Mazar, are far too realistically intelligent for this cutesy show about a New Jersey bartender (Kent) who goes to college to improve herself, and in turn, humanize her snobbiest professor (Peter Firth, doing a Malcolm McDowell impersonation). As Page’s parents, Paul Sorvino and Ellen Burstyn are asked to be ridiculous but instead, like Kent and Mazur, only prove that they are too skilled to fully give in to the foolishness of the script. (Wedging Sorvino into a tollbooth on the New Jersey Turnpike as his place of employment even seems a bit cruel.) With all this talent on hand, let’s hope the thing’ll get better. C
Ken Tucker