A day-to-day guide to notable programs (times are Eastern daylight and are subject to change)
Advertisement

Monday August 10

9-10PM
Madonnarama (VH1, TV-PG) If you’ve been wondering how to celebrate Ms. Ciccone’s 40th birthday, this tribute (including a Pop-Up special, a new ”Behind the Music,” and more) should do the trick. (Airs through Aug. 16.)

9-10PM
Ally McBeal (Fox, TV-14-D) Ally decides to see a therapist, only to find one (guest star Tracey Ullman) who’s nuttier than she is. (R)

Series Debut 9-10PM
Penn & Teller’s Sin City Spectacular (FX, TV-PG-LVD) Irreverence aside, the illusionists attempt to praise the variety-show genre, not bury it. And, with the help of a wacky, kitchen-sink guest slate, they succeed wonderfully. Spectacular‘s charms range from unsettling (Drew Carey’s not-for-the-squeamish card trick involving a bucket of hungry rats) to rancorous (Todd Oliver and his ill-tempered talking dog, Irving) to near-historic (musical guest Lou Reed) to simply cute (the comic contortions of a human rag doll). B+

10-11PM
ABC Soaps’ Most Unforgettable Love Stories (ABC, TV-14) Daytime stars reminisce about them and fans vote for their absolute fave in the prime-time special.

10-11PM
Oz (HBO, TV-MA) The bizness in ”Family Bizness” has mostly to do with a couple of unfortunate deaths befalling loved ones of two Emerald City staffers. Also demised is McManus’ high school equivalency program, the victim of budget cuts by the slimeball Governor Devlin.

Tuesday August 11

7:30-8PM
Trevor (HBO) Let’s play ”What’s the Issue?” Ellen DeGeneres introduces the film about a boy who adores Diana Ross, show tunes, and a pal named Pinky, then runs away to San Francisco. Any guesses?

8-8:30PM
King Of The Hill (Fox, TV-PG) Peggy’s evolution from guilty career woman to disgruntled housewife to Lilith-worthy songstress is aided by guest stars Tammy Wynette and Ani DiFranco. (R)

9-10PM
Inside Story: The Real Full Monty (A&E, TV-PG) This um, hard-hitting documentary goes behind the screams of the Welsh women cheering on the men of Centaur, a five-G-string group from Swansea. We’re not privy to their practice sessions (which made the feature film so appealing), but we do get to see the men shaving their chests, pumping iron, showering, and lotioning up. What’s more interesting, though, are the chats with their fans and the (too?) trusting significant others the gents leave at home. B Eileen Clarke

10-11PM
The Demille Dynasty (American Movie Classics, TV-PG) Chuck extolls Cecil, William, and Agnes’ legacies in the worlds of film, theater, and dance, respectively.

Wednesday August 12

8-8:30PM
Dharma & Greg (ABC, TV-PG) A Valentine’s Day weekend turns into a romantic challenge when the couple’s dream destination turns out to be a dump. (R)

8-10PM
Blade Squad (Fox) Hey, the futuristic flatfoots of the TV movie sport octane-powered in-line skates! Not only that; Squad stars Corin Nemec, he of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose! (Wanna bet?)

9-10PM
American Justice: Spouse Killers (A&E, TV-PG) Host Bill Kurtis (geez, is there a show on A&E that this guy doesn’t host?) looks at three deadly cases of domestic violence.

9-10:30PM
The Watermelon Woman (Sundance Channel, TV-MA) Sure, the title suggests some horrid sci-fi flick that Dawson’s Creek‘s video store clerk, Pacey, would dig. But this reflective film — part of the indie-movie channel’s monthlong spotlight on African-American filmmakers — focuses on another video buff, Cheryl (director Cheryl Dunye, above), who begins to reexamine her own identity after studying the life of an obscure black actress in 1940s Hollywood. While the acting of some of the supporting players feels stilted, Dunye is simply amazing. This woman has not only found her voice, she’s singing with it. A- Shawna Malcom

Series Debut 9:30-10PM
Stressed Eric (NBC, TV-PG) The Peacock’s first animated series since 1965’s Mr. Magoo is a retooled (i.e., Americanized) Brit import about a put-upon divorced father of two living in London (voiced by Simpsons throat-of-all-trades Hank Azaria).

Thursday August 13

2:05-8:05PM
1998 PGA Championship (TBS) First-round coverage, live from the Sahalee Country Club in Redmond, Wash.

9-9:30PM
Seinfeld (NBC, TV-PG) The fetish of the week in ”The Frogger” is George’s determination to save a videogame (and his legendary high score on it) before it’s booted from a neighborhood pizza joint. (R)

9-10PM
Fox Files (Fox) Ever consider what happens to relocating pets in the English quarantine system? It ain’t pretty. More savory is a report on ”Cool Britannia,” as London basks in its role as the fin de siecle’s locus of hip.

10-11PM
ER (NBC, TV-PG) Dr. Morgenstern (William H. Macy) makes his post-heart attack return to work, with increased self-knowledge but diminished surgical judgment. (R)

10-10:30PM
Celebrity Deathmatch (MTV) Pop masterminds (Puff Daddy vs. Trent Reznor) and hyper-Aryan superstars (David Hasselhoff vs. John Tesh) venture into the square circle.

10-11PM
Aspen Comedy Festival (Comedy Central, TV-PG) Michael Richards hosts as Gilbert Gottfried, George Wallace, and Margaret Cho perform out where the air is thin and the shtick is thick.

10:30-11PM*
Encore (PBS, TV-G) Schumann is the composer du jour, and the Tokyo String Quartet the special guests, at the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. *Check Local Listings

11PM-1AM
The Third Man (Bravo, G) Orson Welles (above) stars in Carol Reed’s moody 1949 thriller, gorgeously set in postwar Vienna.

Friday August 14

9-11PM
The Usual Suspects (USA, TV-14-V) Bryan Singer’s labyrinthine debut (1995) features Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, an Oscar-winning Kevin Spacey, and some dude named Keyser Soze. Who? Exactly.

9-10PM
Millennium (Fox, TV-14-V) Poor Frank realizes the stalker he’s been stalking has been collecting more than Polaroids; he’s gone and grabbed Mrs. Black! (R; part 2 of 2.)

Midnight-1AM
Kathy Griffin: Hot Cup Of Talk (HBO, TV-MA) As hyper and giggly as ever, Suddenly Susan‘s Griffin doesn’t exactly tell jokes. Instead, she delivers anecdotes (meeting the President, watching VH1’s Divas Live, and, God help us, her ”vagina material”) punctuated with gesticulating and hand flapping. Her eager-to-please tenacity can be endear- ing, however, especially when she gets around to telling us about her sex talk with Hanson. B- Kristen Baldwin

Saturday August 15

Noon-4PM
Spice Girls’ Favorite Videos (MTV) How apt that, in a time slot historically friendly to cartoon characters, the Ginger-less quartet unveil their video pantheon.

8-9PM*
Cirque Ingenieux (PBS, TV-PG) Long on acrobatics and theatrics, and sans animal exploitation, the European-style big top features musical accompaniment by award-winning composer Kitaro. *Check Local Listings

Season Premiere 8-8:30PM
Rugrats (Nickelodeon, TV-Y7) The large-livin’ cartoon kicks off its sixth season with an episode that finds Chas and Chuckie babysitting Angelica’s evil feline, Fluffy.

9-10PM
The Avengers: The Journey Back (A&E, TV-G) Much like the show it fetes, the cool and calculated special is hosted by erstwhile John Steed, Patrick Macnee, who muses on the franchise’s various incarnations, including the brand-spanking-new feature film.

11-11:30PM
Ohh, Noo!!!, Mr. Bill Presents (Fox Family Channel, TV-PG) The Fox regime inaugurates its reign over the Family Channel with everyone’s favorite long-suffering Claymation character. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Sunday August 16

7-8PM*
Dr. Laura Schlessinger: The Ten Commandments, What’s In It For Me? (PBS, TV-G) How’s this for a ’90s take on the Bible? And what better mouthpiece for it than the hubristic radio personality? *Check Local Listings

7-8PM
You Be The Judge (NBC, TV-14) Law & Order cop Jerry Orbach hosts a Firing Line of sorts in which six directors create short films making pro or con arguments on issues like gun control and sexual harassment.

8-9PM
Babe Ruth (HBO) The cable network’s outstanding ”Sports of the 20th Century” series continues with this ebullient tribute to the Big Bambino. Footage of the moonfaced slugger’s mammoth home runs are interspersed with insights from former Yankee teammates (Charles Devens, Bill Werber), relatives (daughter Julia Ruth Stevens), and admirers (historian Studs Terkel). Remembers author Jean Shepherd, ”This guy was the king of the world.” Eat your heart out, Leo. A-BF

8-10PM
Titanic Live (Discovery Channel, TV-G) In what could be a monumental TV event or a disaster akin to Geraldo’s 1986 visit to Al Capone’s vault, Discovery ventures two and a half miles into the deep for a look at the doomed liner’s carcass.

8-10PM
The American President (TBS, TV-PG-L) Michael Douglas plays a commander in chief who romances a lobbyist (Annette Bening) in Rob Reiner’s 1995 film. And there’s nary an intern in sight.

9-10PM
The X-Files (Fox, TV-PG-LVD) Brian Markinson, the creepily riveting dad in NYPD Blue‘s ”Lost Israel” couplet, turns in another stellar guest spot as a man who instigates a hostage crisis on the belief that his boss is a monster … literally. (R)

10-11PM
The Practice (ABC, TV-PG-DV) Finally granted a high-profile perch on the Alphabet schedule, the Emmy-nominated drama debuts with a corker: Rebecca’s life is endangered when she witnesses a murder. (R)

Comments