What to Watch
A day-to-day guide to notable programs (times are Eastern standard and are subject to change)
Monday November 10
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Wrap up those high-tech toasters — Worf and Dax get hitched in the Trek franchise’s first marriage of series regulars. *Check local listings
Cosby (CBS, TV-G) Shades of William Shatner’s legendary Twilight Zone turn, ”Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” As Jack, a delirious airplane passenger, the former Captain Kirk complicates life for Hilton (Bill Cosby with Shatner, right), who’s struggling to get a plane-phobic Griffin to a gig on time. ”I had a hilarious time,” says Shatner of his latest sitcom stint. So how did this foray into comedy differ from, say, Star Trek? ”You get laughs in the drama and tears in the comedy,” he says. Some might call that highly illogical.
Penn & Teller’s Home Invasion Magic (ABC, TV-PG) The bad boys of magic hit the road. Drew Carey‘s Kathy Kinney, Christa Miller, and the Drew-meister himself add celebrity heft to the proceedings.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (The WB, TV-PG) A demon Giles conjured in college initiates a potentially deadly reunion.
Ally McBeal (Fox, TV-14-D) The ever-malleable Sandra Bernhard guest-stars as an obnoxious lawyer.
The Naked Truth (NBC, TV-PG) A cameoing John Tesh throws a mid-flight tantrum when he’s put in coach while Nora rides first-class.
Brooklyn South (CBS, TV-14-LV) The precinct deals with a gay-bashing officer.
Tuesday November 11
I Remember (CBS Eye On People, TV-PG) ”It was my first story for CBS News,” says veteran newscaster Lesley Stahl of the Watergate scandal. In this premiere of the cable network’s documentary series, Stahl, Dan Rather, Bob Schieffer, and Fred Graham look at how Watergate shaped the country and themselves. ”lt made me very skeptical as a reporter and as a person,” says Stahl. ”But it also completely restored my faith in [the ability of the] American form of democracy to cleanse itself.”
So Proudly We Hail! (American Movie Classics) The 1943 World War II flick kicks off a Veterans Day marathon that includes The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), The Young Lions (1958), Battle Cry (1955), and Von Ryan’s Express (1965).
Newsradio (NBC, TV-PG) Efficiency expert Andrea is getting tiresome, but it’s fun to see Dave seethe when she hands Lisa a promotion.
100th Episode 9-9:30PM
Frasier (NBC, TV-PG) A milestone inside a milestone: The sitcom’s centennial finds Frasier planning a fete for his 1,000th radio show.
NYPD Blue (ABC, TV-14-LSV) The boys suspect a man who seems too eager to collect on his dead wife and son’s insurance policy.
Wednesday November 12
Dharma & Greg (ABC, TV-PG-DL) D&G’s backseat tryst in the nation’s capital becomes a cause celebre. Speaking of celebs, Politically Incorrect‘s Bill Maher guest-stars.
The Drew Carey Show (ABC) Where’s letterboxed television when we need it? Drew, Oswald, and Lewis decide to take it all off to raise some fast cash.
Party Of Five (Fox, TV-PG) Those Salingers just can’t catch a break: Charlie hosts a wedding bash for Julia, which ends with her having serious doubts about her new husband.
Working (NBC, TV-14) After he and his coworkers attend a sexual-harassment seminar, Matt gets a tad sheepish about asking out a foxy colleague.
Primetime Live (ABC) Jay Schadler has an exclusive in-jail chat with Luke Woodham, the teen whose slaying spree at his Pearl, Miss., high school made front-page news in October.
Law & Order (NBC, TV-14) Hoping to land another sweeps windfall, NBC again teams the L&O gang, including Benjamin Bratt, (far left) and Jerry Orbach (right) with the dicks from Homicide: Life on the Street (the squads combined forces on a New York subway gas bombing case in 1996). This time toxic shock syndrome and possible sexual abuse figure into the death of a 14-year-old fashion model. The two-parter concludes on Homicide, Nov. 14.
Thursday November 13
Starring Pam Grier (The Movie Channel) The blaxploitation queen — and Jackie Brown costar — is feted in a mini film-fest including Above the Law (1988), Original Gangstas (1996), Coffy (1973), and Class of 1999 (1990).
Friends (NBC, TV-PG) Lovestruck Chandler gets in deeper when his infatuation with Joey’s girlfriend, Kathy, results in a passionate kiss.
Nothing Sacred (ABC) Father Ray comes to the aid of a boy who’s been hospitalized for speaking in tongues.
Seinfeld (NBC, TV-PG) One day you’re a brain-damaged hellion on Melrose Place, the next you’re a woman smart enough to remain unfazed by Jerry’s showbiz flash. That’s right, Marcia Cross (MP‘s Kimberly) guest-stars.
Cracker (ABC) A talk-radio host is stalked, while Fitz discovers that his estranged wife is dating their marriage counselor.
Veronica’s Closet (NBC, TV-PG) Ronnie decides it’s no time for realism when a toy company decides to make a doll in her image.
ER (NBC, TV-PG) Greene tags along for an emotional journey with Ross, who’s driving to California to mourn his dad’s death.
Unsolved Mysteries (CBS, TV-PG-L) The whodunit series returns (to a new network) with a look at whether Elvis may have committed suicide.
Diagnosis Murder (CBS) We don’t often (okay, ever) highlight the work of the stethoscope-clutching sleuth (Dick Van Dyke, above center), but this sweeps-month stunt proved too tantalizing. The good doctor investigates a CIA agent’s death and finds himself in the company of a quartet of TV spies of yesteryear. From left, Barbara Bain (Mission: Impossible), Patrick Macnee (The Avengers), Robert Culp (I Spy), and Robert Vaughn (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) guest-star.
Friday November 14
Cable Premiere 8-10PM
William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet (Cinemax, PG-13) TV, street gangs, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Claire Danes all figure into the bizarre 1996 riff on the Bard’s classic. Whether you deem it screwball success or interesting failure, one thing’s forsooth: You’ve never seen anything like it.
Sabrina, The Teenage Witch (ABC, TV-G) It’s not exactly Boogie Nights, but the ex-Mrs. Burt Reynolds, Loni Anderson, guests as one of Sabrina’s hillbilly cousins.
Millennium (Fox, TV-PG-V) Road trip! Frank, Watts, and Andrews (ER‘s CCH Pounder) travel to Germany to divine the origins of the Group.
The Gregory Hines Show (CBS, TV-G) Matty breaks up with his girlfriend, but it’s Ben who’s heartbroken when he finds out his kid confided the news to Uncle Carl first.
20/20 (ABC) Everyone’s favorite diva Barbra Streisand plugs her latest album, Higher Ground, as well as her relationship with fiancé James Brolin in an exclusive chat with Barbara Walters.
Saturday November 15
The 19th Annual Cable Ace Awards (TNT) David Hyde Pierce and Sela Ward host the live ceremony in which the cable nets say ”Bravo” (and Showtime and HBO … ) to the best non-network TV fare.
Denis Leary: Lock ‘N Load (HBO, TV-MA) It’s never a good sign when edgy stand-ups start riffing on parenthood. Luckily, lots of other things also get Leary’s Irish up in this New York gig.
Don King: Only In America (HBO) As boxing ultra-promoter King, Ving Rhames gives a grandly energetic, profane performance. Kario Salem’s exciting, comically operatic script revels in King’s violent past and strong-arm business hustles: The movie is gleefully pro-Don without letting him off the hook as a shrewd bloodsucker, and Rhames conveys King’s ebullient charm. The year’s best-supporting cast includes a finely tuned performance by Chicago Hope‘s Vondie Curtis Hall as R&B singer Lloyd Price (credited here with creating King’s trademark nimbus hairdo). And watch for the movie’s hilarious attack on HBO itself. A — KT
Before she became the crusading queen of prime time, Ellen DeGeneres cut her sitcom teeth on Open House (1989-90; TV Land, Nov. 16, 11-11:30 a.m.), a Fox spin-off of sorts from its failed romantic comedy Duet. Set in a California real estate agency, it costarred DeGeneres as Margo, a spacey — and decidedly hetero — receptionist with a very bad haircut. Although it’s Margo’s excessive distress over the death of her cat, not her sexuality, that provides the focus for this episode of the underwhelming House, the before-they-were-stars peek does make for a curious novelty. And there’s not a parental advisory in sight.
Sunday November 16
Flood: A River’s Rampage (The Family Channel, TV-PG) Hallmark Entertainment presents the Richard Thomas flick about the repercussions from the 1993 uprising of the mighty Mississippi.
The Wonderful World Of Disney (ABC, TV-G) Disney does Dickens with a new adaptation of Oliver Twist starring a grizzly Richard Dreyfuss as king of the pickpockets Fagin and Elijah Wood as the Artful Dodger. True to Hollywood tradition, Disney’s gone with a newcomer, Alex Trench, to play the title waif.
The Simpsons (Fox, TV-PG-L) Under pressure from his mom to wed, Apu sets out to convince her he is already married — to Marge.
Nature: The Elephants Of Africa (PBS) Expert Cynthia Moss traveled from savannah to desert to forest to mountainside to look at the diverse habitats of Dark Continent pachyderms. *Check local listings
Ray Combs: The E! True Hollywood Story (E!) Family and friends offer insight into the turbulent life and early death (by suicide) of the Family Feud host.
The Ultimate Guide: Whales (Discovery Channel, TV-G) In case you came away wanting more after watching a penultimate guide to the great mammals (yes, for the last time, they’re mammals), try this comprehensive look.
King Of The Hill (Fox, TV-PG) Fed up with the noise being made by the local garage band (guest-voice alt-rockers Green Day), Hank and buddies challenge the musicians to a game of paint ball.
Batman Forever (NBC, TV-PG) Though the franchise seems to have grown colder than Mr. Freeze at the box office, the Peacock net is betting that the 1995 Batman installment (with Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader) will help heat up its sweeps-month ratings.
Medusa’s Child (ABC, TV-PG-LSV) A race against time ensues when a nuclear warhead aboard a cargo plane suddenly starts ticking. Martin Sheen, Christopher Noth, Vincent Spano, Lori Loughlin, Gail O’Grady, and Kevin Dillon star in the two-part movie based on John J. Nance’s novel. (Concludes Nov. 20)
Inside The Actors Studio: Harvey Keitel (Bravo, TV-PG) The eternally nude film star has gotten a lot of ink lately because of his nakedly vicious custody battle with his ex Lorraine Bracco, but tonight, thankfully, Keitel is asked only to bare his thespian soul.
The X-Files (Fox, TV-PG-LV) ”I don’t want to tip too much of the story because it’s so good,” says X-Files guest star Richard Belzer (above right), sounding a bit like cryptic series creator Chris Carter. This much is certain: During a flashback to 1989, one of the three Lone Gunmen (jailed above) winds up in the interrogation room with Belzer’s Homicide character, Det. John Munch. For his part, Belzer couldn’t be happier with his entrée into the world of paranormal TV. ”They had a chair for me with the X-Files logo and my name on it, and they gave me T-shirts,” says Belzer, who makes a dramatic hat trick this week with a role on Law & Order as well as his usual Homicide stint. ”I was just like a fan who happened to be an actor.”
On The Brink: Doomsday (TLC, TV-PG) The documentary uncovers a host of Cold War contretemps that brought the world perilously close to nuclear holocaust. Now they tell us.
Bella Mafia (CBS, TV-14-LSV) It’s the Girl Power version of The Last Don! Four seemingly mismatched actresses — Vanessa Redgrave (above left, with Gina Philips), Jennifer Tilly, Illeana Douglas, and Nastassja Kinski — mesh delightfully as a gaggle of Mafia wives united to avenge their murdered husbands. A refined script that eschews typical miniseries self-indulgence lets each actress stand out in different ways — Tilly with jiggle, Redgrave with dignity, Kinski with beauty, Douglas with smarts. It’s equal opportunity Mob entertainment. (Concludes Nov. 18) B+ — Kristen Baldwin
Doctor Zhivago (Turner Classic Movies, TV-PG) TCM wraps up its ”Around the World in 30 Movies” week with a screening of David Lean’s epic Russian love story.