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

Monday August 31

U.S. Open (USA Network, TV-PG) John McEnroe and Tracy Austin serve up behind-the-mike commentary as America’s premier tennis tourney gets under way live from Flushing Meadows, N.Y. (Airs through Sept. 13.)

Diana (NBC, TV-PG)

As It Happened: When Diana Died (History Channel, TV-G) Two looks back, one year later, for those who still haven’t gotten their bawling, breast-beating fill.

Penn and Teller’s Sin City Spectacular (FX, TV-PG) Tonight’s motley cast includes Super Dave Osborne, Cheech Marin, and Steven Seagal — as a musical guest!

Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS, TV-G) In the grip of a midlife crisis, Ray composes a Things to Do Before I Die list. (R)

Season Finale 10-11:10PM
Oz (HBO, TV-MA) Among the myriad highlights of this prison drama have been the supple performances of Dean and Scott William Winters (from left, above) as sibling inmates Ryan and Cyril O’Reilly. The Winters, who were discovered by creator Tom Fontana while bartending in their hometown of New York City, say their characters’ close relationship parallels their own. ”I’d take a bullet for Scotty,” says Dean, 34, of his brother, who’s younger by 12 1/2 months (”We’re Irish twins,” he jokes). And like the loyal, brain-damaged Cyril, adds Scott, ”I’ve done many things blinded by love for Dino.” Concludes Dean, ”To bring that bond alive on screen, it’s like being in the sandbox again.” — BF

Tuesday September 1

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (The WB, TV-14-LV) When a monster starts attacking Sunnydale’s star swimmers, Buffy steps in to keep the team afloat. (R)

Mad About You (NBC, TV-PG) If it takes a commercial-free episode to get us to watch, so be it: Paul’s life flashes before his eyes during a fall in the shower. (R)

Accident Or Murder? Lives Cut Short (Court TV) A 1996 showdown in Kansas City ends with 16-year-old Candy McDonald (above) slashing the throat of her romantic rival’s best friend. Did she intentionally go for the jugular — or simply forget she was holding a razor-sharp utility knife? Trial footage, interviews with the cherubic Candy, her family, and the victim’s, make one verdict a cinch: The real villain is Candy’s fiancé, whose cheatin’ heart sent one girl to prison and another to her grave. B+ Alice King

Inside Story (A&E, TV-PG-DS) ”New York Street Sex” gets up close and personal with Gotham’s working girls.

Maximum Bob (ABC, TV-PG-L) Holy theme episode! Kathy and Hammond look into a rottweiler’s attack on a church organist, while Judge Bob gets hold of a defrocked minister to exorcise Wanda’s spirit from Leanne.

Wednesday September 2

Young Poisoner’s Handbook (The Movie Channel, R) Hugh O’Conor stars in the British black comedy about a young man methodically killing off his family — all in the name of science, of course.

Wild Islands (PBS, TV-G) This week’s episode revisits British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace’s work on Indonesia, which has served as an evolutionary crossroads, absorbing creatures from Asia as well as Australia, like the fearsome Komodo dragon (below).*Check Local Listings

The Quick And The Dead (Fox, TV-14-LV) Horrormeister Sam Raimi crosses genres to direct Sharon Stone as a grrrly gunslinger in the 1995 Western. (R)

Whose Line Is It Anyway? (ABC, TV-PG) The series’ extemporaneous foursome put their heads together to evoke a talk-show parody dedicated to the Cinder-ella story.

Chicago Hope (CBS, TV-PG) Hope meets Deliverance as a weekend in the country for Drs. Austin, Grad, and Catera turns dangerous. (R)

Thursday September 3

Star Trek (Sci-Fi Channel, TV-PG) Reinstating previously edited footage to all 80 original Trek episodes, Sci-Fi’s 90-minute treat tonight is ”Where No Man Has Gone Before”: Guest crew members Gary Lockwood (above) and a fresh-faced Sally Kellerman have their ESP powers activated after a trip through an energy barrier.

When Cars Attack (ABC, TV-PG-V) Homicide‘s Richard Belzer jumps networks to crack wise about the seemingly bizarre behavior of our autos, and our insane devotion to them. (R)

Frasier (NBC, TV-PG) Bebe Neuwirth sizzles in this knee- slapping season highlight, as her Lilith visits Seattle and manages to get both Crane boys all hot and bothered. (R)

Seinfeld (NBC, TV-14) Kramer’s attempts to take on the business world have been one of Seinfeld‘s hilarious constants. Here, he initiates a revival of Kramerica Industries by hiring an intern. (R)

Signature (CBS Eye on People, TV-G) Documentarian Ken Burns discusses mammoth projects past (The Civil War, Baseball) and future (Jazz).

Friday September 4

Series Debut 8:30-9PM
Animorphs (Nickelodeon, TV-Y7) The adventure series (part of NNick’s new prime-time ”O-Zone” package) portrays a group of teens able to morph into an array of ferocious, evil-combatting animals. (Get it?)

Parker Poses (Sundance Channel, R) Alleging Parker Posey (above) to be indie film’s It Girl, Sundance airs some of her finest moments, starting tonight with Party Girl (1995) and Drunks (1996). (Airs through Sept. 6.)

Homicide: Life On The Street (NBC, TV-14) NBC redeems itself for not airing Homicide reruns all summer with this gem, in which a massacre in a Vietnamese restaurant leads the squad into a cat-and-mouse game with an unlikely suspect. (R)

Dazed And Confused (USA, TV-14-DS) Milla Jovovich, Jason London, Anthony Rapp, Ben Affleck, and Matthew McConaughey cut their thespianic teeth on Richard Linklater’s bleary-eyed, spot-on ’70s spoof (1993).

Saturday September 5

Young Hercules (Fox Family Channel, TV-PG) Hey, it worked for Kevin Sorbo; let’s see if Ian Bohen succeeds with his take on the mythic strongman’s salad days.

The Edge (HBO, R) Men doing manly things and talking a lot about it: Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin battle each other and an unforgiving wilderness milieu in David Mamet’s 1997 thriller.

The Roots Of Evil (Discovery Channel, TV-PG) Roots basically poses two questions in its three dense segments (”Ordinary People,” ”The Tyrant,” and ”The Torturer”). First, it asks the world’s religions, What is evil? Second, it ponders whether nature or nurture is to blame, via portraits of some of the world’s premier baddies (like Saddam Hussein, above) as well as queasily explicit examples of their handiwork. B

TLC Legends (TLC, TV-G) ”Marilyn in Manhattan” recollects the screen goddess’ happier, more studious days in the Big Apple of the ’50s.

Sunday September 6

M*A*S*H Bootcamp Marathon (FX, TV-PG) Before adding the sitcom to its daily schedule on Sept. 8, FX offers up a whopper of an appetite whetter, including the 1972 pilot, Henry Blake’s gut-wrenching exit, and the hallowed two-and-a-half-hour finale.

Surviving Ovarian Cancer (PBS, TV-G) Harper’s Bazaar editor Liz Tilberis, herself a survivor of the dreaded disease, hosts the special, in which four women relate their similarly harrowing experiences. *Check Local Listings

The Wonderful World Of Disney (ABC, TV-G) Tonight’s treat: 1994’s Ernest Goes to School. (Hey, you try coming up with a week’s worth of recommendable programming this time of year!)

In The Doghouse (Showtime, TV-G) No, not Slick Willie’s State of the First Family Address, but a TV movie (starring Rhea Perlman, Matt Frewer, and ER‘s Trevor Morgan) about a pooch who lucks into a showbiz career and comes to his family’s financial rescue. That is, before he’s dognapped …

Season Premiere 8PM
Sunday Night Football (ESPN) Rounding up die-hard fans still unsated after Fox’s and CBS’ opening-week slate of games, ESPN’s nightcap contest features a time-worn rivalry as the Oakland Raiders visit the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Simpsons (Fox, TV-PG) A dead-end bus trip leaves Lisa lost en route to the museum, and Homer putting his mind to finding her. Uh-oh … (R)

The E! True Hollywood Story (E!, TV-PG) How tactful of E! to let Phil Hartman’s corpse cool sufficiently before presenting its inevitable tribute/video autopsy of the late comic.

That ’70s Show (Fox, TV-PG-L) That monument to ’70s cluelessness, Gerald Ford, comes to town, inspiring the kids to partake in one of the decade’s more dubious pursuits: streaking.

The X-Files (Fox, TV-14-V) Robert ”Pusher” Modell resurfaces to wreak more telepathic mayhem. (R)

The Practice (ABC, TV-PG-V) One week before they face the Emmy music, ABC’s upstart drama and Ally McBeal put their heads together, as the Bean Town law firms collaborate on a grisly ax murder. (R)

Behind The Planet Of The Apes (American Movie Classics, TV-PG) Planet was rejected by nearly every studio before Fox agreed to back it. And yet, its then president never got it. To Richard Zanuck, it was just an adventure film: ”You never wanted people … thinking anything other than that they had been entertained.” Fortunately, studio heads aren’t rocket scientists, and the creators camouflaged their political allegory with first-rate action, makeup, and casting (including the supremely ripe Charlton Heston). Planet star Roddy McDowall guides viewers through four sequels and two TV shows. Packed with trivia (Fox nixed a half-ape, half-human child in the first sequel because implied mating of the species might have jeopardized its G rating!), it may be too much monkey business for some. Me? Can’t keep my stinking paws off it. B+ Mary Kaye Schilling

All The President’s Men (Flix, PG) What better cinematic coda to this summer of scandal than Alan J. Pakula’s 1976 tour de force about the unearthing of the Watergate brouhaha?