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What To Watch

A day-to-day guide to notable programs. Times are Eastern standard and are subject to change.

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MONDAY January 1

7-8AM* SESAME STREET (PBS, TV-Y) The show that made it cool to have green fur and live in a trash can is back for its 32nd season. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

9AM-8PM JUDGE WAPNER’S ANIMAL COURT MARATHON (Animal Planet, TV-G) Perhaps Judge Wapner is the man to rule on that eternal query as to who let the dogs out?

11AM-1:30PM* THE TOURNAMENT OF ROSES PARADE (ABC, NBC, CBS, TV-G) What better way to work off that New Year’s hangover than popping a few Advils and checking out some ridiculous-looking floats? *TIMES VARY BY NETWORK

8-10:30PM GREASE (TNT, TV-14) We got chills, they’re multiplying, we’re losing control, ’cause the power this film’s supplying — it’s electrifying!

10-11PM LADIES’ HOME JOURNAL’S MOST FASCINATING WOMEN TO WATCH (CBS) Gossip maven Liz Smith is one of the more curious names being honored this evening as ”the most talented and successful women in the world.”

TAKE MY JOKES, PLEASE 10-10:30PM COMEDY CENTRAL PRESENTS ADAM FERRARA (Comedy Central, TV-14) Ferrara may have the swagger of a young Tony Danza, but his material — a laundry list of male-female differences — is hardly boss. Among the witticisms: Women like a clean bathroom and are overemotional, while men are slobs who like sex without commitment! If such lame observations are the best Ferrara has to offer, perhaps it’s time for him to pass the mic. C- — Brian M. Raftery

TUESDAY January 2


8-9PM MARILU HENNER: PERPETUAL MOTION (A&E, TV-G) This Biography edition marvels at a woman who, at 48, ”weighs less than she did in her twenties.” Uh, congratulations, we suppose.

8-9PM BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (The WB, TV-PG-DLV) Riley’s Initiative conditioning has his heart racing a mile a minute. (R)

SERIES DEBUT 9-11PM LABOR AND DELIVERY (TLC, TV-PG) Billy Baldwin narrates this new series following the everyday miracles of birth. (Just keep us away from that funky placenta, and we’re all good.)

BRING ME A HIGHER LOVE 8-9:35PM HIGHER LOVE (Starz!, TV-PG) Originally screened at festivals under the title At Sachem Farm, this 1998 Rufus Sewell-Minnie Driver yawner resurfaces tonight as a cable premiere. Sewell (left) plays a man whose dreams of purchasing a manganese mine (we’re not making this up) are thwarted by an eccentric uncle (Nigel Hawthorne) who walks on stilts and spews boatloads of confusing wise-man mumbo jumbo, like: ”Money is only a form of congealed energy.” Perhaps, but at least that’s energy well spent. C+


8-9PM SEVEN DAYS (UPN, TV-PG) When project leader Bradley goes cuckoo for Coco Puffs, Parker is stripped of his time-traveling privileges and sent back to the funny farm.

SEASON PREMIERE 10-11PM 18 WHEELS OF JUSTICE (TNN, TV-PG) Our favorite series currently featuring G. Gordon Liddy, Billy Dee Williams, and a big freakin’ truck rolls on into season No. 2.

10-11PM SOUL FOOD (Showtime, TV-14) Tyra Banks guest-stars as scheming sister number three and a half.

THE UGLY AMERICAN 9-10:30PM* THE AMERICAN (PBS, TV-PG) Matthew Modine (above) barely registers as wealthy ex-pat Christopher Newman in this staid Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Henry James’ 1877 novel. Luckily, the film stays afloat thanks to a fine supporting cast including porcelain beauty Aisling O’Sullivan and Mystery!’s Diana Rigg as her scheming mum, an ice queen so ruthless she makes Joan Crawford’s lap seem downright cozy. B — Nicholas Fonseca *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

THURSDAY January 4

8-9PM THE DIRECTORS: JOEL SCHUMACHER (Encore, TV-14) Names like Schwarzenegger, Clooney, and Carrey pay tribute to the guiding force behind such ’80s classics as The Incredible Shrinking Woman and D.C. Cab.

8-9PM* THE 1900 HOUSE (PBS, TV-G) What if they made a reality show free of people forming sneaky alliances and using coconut phones? It’d be a little something like this. (R) *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

SERIES DEBUT 9:30-10PM AFTER MIDNIGHT (Discovery Channel, TV-G) This new reality-docu program follows the late-night goings-on in party-poppin’ Miami, so it’s not really all that shocking when Dennis Rodman shows up. Raise the roof, yo!

WHERE’S MY MOUNTAIN DEW? 9-10PM BEHIND CLOSED DOORS WITH JOAN LUNDEN (A&E, TV-G) It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s former Good Morning America host Joan Lunden! In her latest special, Lunden profiles U.S. Army paratroopers, even going so far as to take part in an actual formation skydive with the elite Golden Knights unit. While light and airy to be sure, where else do you get to see someone break two kneecaps falling from the sky? (Besides on Fox, of course.) B-

FRIDAY January 5

SERIES DEBUT 9-10PM FARSCAPE (Sci Fi, TV-14-V) With D’Argo’s son offered up in a slavery sale, the crew must come up with a creative way to score some cash.

SERIES DEBUT 10-10:30PM CASINO DIARIES (Discovery Channel, TV-G) A card counter and casino security chief match wits, while a Vegas showgirl explains how she’s gonna make her first million, and it ain’t through orthodontics.

10-11PM* THE NEXT BIG THING? (PBS, TV-G) There’s this guy, Firoz Rasul — he’s created some sort of supercar that runs on a hydrogen fuel cell, and no, he doesn’t call it KITT. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8-9PM BLACK SCORPION (Sci Fi, TV-14-V) Throw together 10 Playboy Playmates, a former Miss Kansas, plus loony Adam West and you’ve got…a party at Charlie Sheen’s crib! They’re also the ingredients for this inept comic-book-style series cocreated by Roger Corman about a crime-fighting superbabe (Michelle Lintel, above) out to avenge her father’s murder. In between the laughably bad special effects and kung fu sequences, you’ll find yourself treated to unending scores of lame one-liners, diabolical laughter, and stock explosion footage. Making viewers sit through an entire hour — now, that’s just plain evil. Bwha-ha-ha-ha! D

SATURDAY January 6

8-11PM THE DEVIL’S OWN (NBC, TV-14) Don’t even get us started on Brad Pitt’s accent.

8-9:30PM MY FAVORITE MARTIAN (Starz!, TV-PG) Your Honor, in the case of the People v. Hollywood Studios Remaking Classic TV Shows Into Crappy Feature Films, we offer into evidence, Exhibit A.

9-11:45PM ANY GIVEN SUNDAY (HBO, TV-R) Huddle up for some of the most overstylized football scenes since that nonsensical gun-toting quarterback took the field in The Last Boy Scout.

10-11:45PM BRINGING UP BABY (Turner Classic Movies, TV-G) Quite simply, the quintessential screwball comedy.

LIGHTS OUT FOR 2000 SYNDICATED* EBERT & ROEPER AND THE MOVIES: WORST OF 2000 (TV-PG) Enough with all these year-end best-of lists. Now let’s get to the good stuff (or, more exactly, the bad stuff). We’re talking Big Momma’s House. We’re talking Dude, Where’s My Car? We’re talking anything involving John Travolta and dreadlocks! Tonight, Roger and Richard pontificate on last year’s biggest bombs. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

SUNDAY January 7

7-11PM LES MISERABLES (Fox Family, TV-PG) Apparently 1998’s Liam Neeson-Geoffrey Rush version wasn’t sufficient, as we now have a Gerard Depardieu-John Malkovich edition to contend with.

SERIES DEBUT 8-9PM TOTALLY HOOPS (Disney Channel, TV-G) Take The White Shadow, replace the male basketball players (yes, even Salami and Go-Go) with real female ones, and you’re in the ballpark of this new show.

8-10PM BOB NEWHART: THE LAST SANE MAN…(A&E, TV-G) Now would a ”sane man” really go and star in four different self-titled TV series?

8-9:30PM THE SPORTS PAGES (Showtime, TV-PG) Bob Newhart (him again?) plays a killer game of golf in this cable flick, offing partner Kelsey Grammer in the process, while Jets fans riot over the airing of a dumb kid’s movie.

8-10PM AMERICA’S NEW HEROIN EPIDEMICS: ALONG COMES THE HORSE (MSNBC) Addictive probably wouldn’t be the best term to describe this Forrest Sawyer-anchored special report.

9-11PM THE 27TH ANNUAL PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS (CBS) Host Kevin James gives the people what they want — winners.

SERIES DEBUT 10-10:30PM THE LOT (AMC, TV-PG) Sylver Screen Studios is back open for business when AMC’s four-part special returns as a full-fledged series.

SEASON PREMIERE 10-11PM OZ (HBO, TV-MA) Adebisi’s death is still on the minds of the inmates, the warden, and even Ally Sheedy!

SEASON PREMIERE 10-11PM LA FEMME NIKITA (USA, TV-14-V) Nikita is back on TV, saved from cancellation thanks to more than 25,000 letters and e-mails sent by viewers in dire need of what psychologists call ”face time.” Peta Wilson (above) also returns as the titular field agent in the reluctant service of Section One, a top secret intelligence organization whose painfully minimalist offices are more reminiscent of a Soho boutique. Fans should be pleased: The show’s writers have rewarded the faithful with eight new episodes that continue some of television’s most involved plotlines, including Nikita’s reassignment tonight into a new division. You got what you wanted — now just promise us you’ll spend more time outdoors. B