A day-to-day guide to notable programs. Times are Eastern daylight and are subject to change.
MONDAY June 18
9-11PM FRIDAY (USA, TV-14) Chris Tucker gets high with a little help from his friends.
9-11PM HITLER’S HOLOCAUST (History Channel, TV-PG) Roger Mudd hosts this six-part series on the Nazis and their final solution. (Concludes June 21.)
SERIES DEBUT 10-11PM WHAT’S MY 20? (VH1, TV-PG) Tonight, rockers chime in on their favorite power ballads. (Consider this a vote cast for ”Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”)
10-11PM THE CHRIS ISAAK SHOW (Showtime, TV-MA) Chris gets heebie-jeebies of the Rear Window variety when he’s laid up in a wheelchair with way too much time on his hands.
10-11PM GAY RIVIERA (Bravo, TV-14) From South Beach to South Street Seaport: the first two installments in an eight-part docu-series on gay life in Miami and New York.
WHERE SMOKE, THERE’S IRE 9-10:30PM A HUEY P. NEWTON STORY (BLACK STARZ!, TV-14) Spike Lee films the hypnotic Off Broadway one-man show by actor-writer Roger Guenveur Smith (right), who sits in a chair as Newton, chain-smoking, riffing on everything from Archie Bell and the Drells to what he wryly calls ”another pop group, the Black Panther party,” which he helped found. The ramblings, taken from Newton’s speeches and interviews, cohere as a dual portrait of a revolutionary ideologue and a criminal provocateur. A- — Ken Tucker
TUESDAY June 19
8-10PM PRETTY IN PINK (The WB, TV-PG-DL) We know Anthony Michael Hall, we’ve seen the work of Anthony Michael Hall, and Jon Cryer, you’re no Anthony Michael Hall.
9-11PM BEER MONEY (USA, TV-14-DL) Former kiddie star Mark-Paul Gosselaar is saved by the alien, when he tries to cash in on a little green man in this cable pic.
9:30-10PM MY WIFE AND KIDS (ABC, TV-PG-D) Jay wants to have some family time, while Michael would rather watch hoops, which counts as family time too if you can just get them to watch it with you. (R)
10-11PM* SCOUT’S HONOR (PBS, TV-PG-L) P.O.V. kicks off its 14th season with a documentary on a 12-year-old scout and 70-year-old scoutmaster — both heterosexual, mind you — fighting the Boy Scouts of America’s policy of excluding gays from their ranks. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS
SERIES DEBUT 8-9PM GO FISH (NBC, TV-PG) High school sucks, but not nearly as badly as this lame burn-off comedy. Kieran Culkin (upper left corner) plays a dorkified freshman with his eyes on the prize — in this case a sophomore babe. As if that setup weren’t predictable enough, tonight’s double shot of eps features not one but two instances of folks being mistaken as gay. (People think they’re homos. Hilarious!) Summer school has never been more painful. D+
WEDNESDAY June 20
8-10PM TEEN CHOICE PRESENTS: TEENAPALOOZA (Fox, TV-G) Sisqo joins girl groups Eden’s Crush and Dream in what is being billed as ”television’s largest music event of the summer.” Man, that’s bleak.
SERIES DEBUT 8-9PM YOU DON’T KNOW JACK (ABC, TV-PG-DL) We love the computer game and adore host Paul Reubens, so why are we cringing in absolute fear?
8-9:30PM* WHO’S DANCING NOW (PBS, TV-G) This new documentary catches up with performers featured in the 1983 Oscar-winning docu He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS
9-10PM BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (The WB, TV-14) Ewww! Spike reveals his big crush. (R)
9-10PM THE WEST WING (NBC, TV-14) Toby is distraught at the disorganized state of protesters today. Of course, it just makes his job that much easier, but let the man mope, we say. (R)
9:30-10PM SPIN CITY (ABC, TV-PG-L) Charlie reveals his addiction to gambling. Well, better that than hookers. (R)
10-11PM CELEBRITY PROFILE: RUSSELL CROWE (E!, TV-PG) We’re sure this amiable Australian offered the E! network his full cooperation in the construction of his celeb biography.
SEASON PREMIERE 10-10:30PM SOUTH PARK (Comedy Central, TV-MA) They claim this episode features Cartman uttering the S-word. You mean as in strongyloidiasis?
SERIES FINALE 10-11PM* AMERICAN HIGH (PBS, TV-PG) Sad to say, but it’s already cap-and-gown time for the students in this intimate high school docu-series. Amid the finale’s swirl of unfettered excitement, wistful reflections, and angsty self-analysis: Wandering soul Pablo struggles vulnerably with his fractured family right through his big day (”The single most important and the single least important accomplishment of my life,” he notes of his newly minted degree); meanwhile, big-hearted rebel Morgan jeopardizes his special moment with an ill-fated prank (”You’re f — -ing up everybody’s life around you, Morgan,” fumes his father. ”Stop it. You only have a right to f — – your own up”). High may not hit the sensational notes of other ”reality” shows, but it boasts enough heart and smarts to make the grade. In fact, let’s graduate these kids with honors. A- — Dan Snierson *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS
THURSDAY June 21
7-8PM INTIMATE PORTRAIT: LIZ SMITH (Lifetime, TV-PG) Sorry, but don’t get your hopes up for much juicy gossip to come out of this Lifetime profile.
8-9PM MEDICAL DETECTIVES (TLC, TV-14) Throw together taxidermy, murder, and some good ol’ fashioned prostitution, and you have the makings of a TLC program.
9-10PM* MYSTERY!: HETTY WAINTHROPP INVESTIGATES (PBS, TV-PG) The children of a wealthy widow worry her fiance may not be quite up to snuff. The fact that he was a gambler and gigolo might have something to do with it. (R) *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS
9-10:30PM MR. HULOT’S HOLIDAY (Sundance Channel, TV-PG) Jacques Tati’s 1953 comedy will have you laughing with the French, as opposed to just at them.
9-9:30PM WILL & GRACE (NBC, TV-PG) Ellen DeGeneres guest-stars as a nun with a nose…for cash. (R)
9-10PM CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS, TV-14) Grissom has to take on both a serial killer and those pesky feds. (R)
10-11PM VH1 ALL ACCESS: ROCK & RELIGION (VH1, TV-PG) Creed’s Scott Stapp and others discuss what makes God such a rocker.
10-11PM 48 HOURS (CBS) Dr. Drew Pinsky joins a panel trying to guess which of three married couples has survived seven years together. So, if he’s wrong, does CBS make him do another season of Big Brother?
SERIES DEBUT 8:30-9PM SPY TV (NBC, TV-PG) It was only a few weeks ago on Ed that Michael Ian Black (above) was scheming to get a television gig hosting an outrageous Candid Camera-type prank show. Well, it seems that during the dog days of summer network TV, anything’s possible. In the umpteenth take on this tired trend, Black introduces a series of predictable hidden camera gags (hooray, it’s the fake psychic routine again!) from the back of some high-tech mobile truck (which, among other gizmos, also houses a really annoying laugh track). While we’re all for making people look stupid on camera (remember, we liked Chains of Love), if you’re gonna stack the deck against a pigeon, at least have some new cards to play. C
FRIDAY June 22
HEY, I SEE YOU NOT ROCKING UP THERE! 9-10PM VH1 STORYTELLERS: BILLY IDOL (VH1, TV-PG-L) At first, the idea of a Billy Idol Storytellers might seem a bit pointless. (”Um, the inspiration for my version of ‘Mony Mony’ came from the time I told the guys in the band, ‘Hey, let’s cover that ”Mony Mony” song.”’) But in actuality, the former Generation X frontman spins a pretty good yarn, and manages to belt out some vital Idol while he’s at it, including acoustic versions of ”White Wedding” and ”Rebel Yell.” Of course, there are also plenty of snarls and air punches to go around, most rousingly during ”Dancing With Myself.” In the end, you’ll be crying for more, more, more. B
6:05-7:45PM BIO-DOME (Showtime, TV-PG-13) Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy…Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin?
7-8:45PM KING COBRA (HBO, TV-PG-13) You may want to track down some King Cobra malt liquor if you actually plan on sitting through this Anaconda rip-off pitting Pat Morita against a 30-foot rubber snake.
8-10PM AVALON: BEYOND THE ABYSS (UPN, TV-PG) Don’t be fooled by the title: This underwater action flick starring Parker Stevenson as an oceanographer is most certainly not a sequel to The Abyss.
8:30-9PM MAKING THE BAND (ABC, TV-PG) It seems the only girls not screaming madly for Trevor and Ashley are their own girlfriends.
9-10PM FREAKYLINKS (Fox, TV-14-LV) The FreakyLinks team investigates a creepy murder. While they’re at it, why don’t they look into who gave their show such a crappy name?
9-10PM FARSCAPE (Sci Fi, TV-PG-V) Crichton and Co. journey into the belly of the beast when Talyn is swallowed by a huge space creature.
10:30PM-12:15AM THE FLY (American Movie Classics, TV-PG) Nothing against Jeff Goldblum, but this Vincent Price 1958 original is the real deal.
10:30PM-1AM SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (TNT, TV-PG) With all the tacky clothes and dance routines, it’s difficult to remember that this disco extravaganza can be pretty darn depressing in parts.
SATURDAY June 23
LIFE ON THE INSIDE 9-10:30PM STRANGER INSIDE (HBO, TV-MA) Treasure Lee (newcomer Yolanda Ross, above center) — black, 21, and a perennial lawbreaker — gets herself transferred to a women’s prison in the hope of meeting her mother, Brownie (Becker’s Davenia McFadden), who’s doing life for murder. Director Cheryl Dunye (The Watermelon Woman) does a remarkable job of summoning up the constant tension and danger of prison life, and elicits performances from Ross and McFadden that turn the slightest shifts of their guarded, deadpan expressions into revelatory emotional moments. If the story turns on an unsatisfying twist, it nonetheless offers a glimpse into the wretched positions in which racism and poverty place too many intelligent, well-intentioned people. A- — KT
SERIES FINALE SYNDICATED* XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS (TV-PG-V) The only things standing between Xena and a walk off into the sunset are 20,000 samurai warriors and a nasty ghost. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS
12:30-1PM WIMBLEDON 2001 PREVIEW SHOW (TNT) Call us purists, but we kind of lost interest once they stopped using those funky white tennis balls.
SERIES DEBUT 9-9:30PM COVER WARS (VH1, TV-PG) Be on full-scale ”Freebird” alert when Paul Shaffer hosts this competition among bands trying their best not to butcher their favorite artists’ tunes.
10-11:30PM THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN MOVIE (BBC America, TV-14) If you have yet to pass through the twisted gates of Royston Vasey, now is a good time.
SUNDAY June 24
11-11:30AM ANSWERING MICAH’S CALL (CBS) You’ll burn in hell for not watching this religious special profiling four Atlanta congregations following the words and deeds of the biblical prophet. Unless you’re just sleeping late. That’s totally excusable.
6-8:30PM INHERIT THE WIND (Turner Classic Movies, TV-PG) The 1960 legal drama was a big influence on Rob Reiner’s A Few Good Men, which works out just swell seeing as Reiner is hosting this screening.
8-10PM NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER (CNBC, TV-G) We could sit and watch footage of giraffes all day long. Of course, that would cut into our time maintaining the Wings Hauser Appreciation Society, but sometimes sacrifices are in order.
8-8:30PM THE SIMPSONS (Fox, TV-PG) In what could’ve made a nice Shaft crossover, the Simpsons take on criminals in Africa. (R)
8-9PM PLASTIC SURGERY (E!, TV-14) What?!? According to this special, some Hollywood types actually have certain features of their appearance altered to compete for high-profile roles. That is just, like, so unfair!
8:30-9PM MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (Fox, TV-PG) The family that cooks together…um, eats together, we guess. (R)
9-10PM LONI ANDERSON: THE E! TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY (E!, TV-PG) Baby, if you ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me…
9-9:30PM SEX AND THE CITY (HBO, TV-MA) A visit to a bar leaves Carrie and Miranda wondering if old flames are ever truly extinguished. Maybe they should just stop drinking.
9-11:30PM FEAR STRIKES OUT (ESPN Classic, TV-PG) As always, Anthony Perkins plays a total loony: this time a mentally unstable baseball player trying to make it in the bigs.
9:30-10PM ARLI$$ (HBO, TV-MA) Arliss travels to Canada in an effort to kick-start a Corey Hart revival. Actually, it has something to do with a hockey team, so we’ll just have our own damn revival! Who’s with me? I said, Who’s with me?
10-11PM SIX FEET UNDER (HBO, TV-MA) We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning since the world’s been turning — or at least since someone torched the house across the street.
ELIMINATION EPISODE! 10-11PM BANDS ON THE RUN (VH1, TV-14-DL) In a shocking twist, the party animals of Flickerstick lose a drinking contest to…Soulcracker? Meanwhile, another one of the groups is heading home after a battle of the bands.
DID I MENTION I WAS ONCE MARRIED TO GEENA DAVIS? 8-10PM ONE OF THE HOLLYWOOD TEN (STARZ!, TV-MA) Jeff Goldblum (above with Angela Molina) brings his trademark quicksilver intelligence and off-kilter line readings to the role of left-leaning director Herbert Biberman, who was imprisoned in 1950 for contempt of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Greta Scacchi is rock solid as Biberman’s wife, actress Gale Sondergaard, who couldn’t work in film for 20 years despite having won an Oscar for 1936’s Anthony Adverse. Writer-director Karl Francis wisely doesn’t dwell on familiar scenes of witch-hunt congressional testimony, instead focusing on Biberman’s battle to make the 1954 miners’-strike opus Salt of the Earth (costarring Will ”Grandpa Walton” Geer) outside of the studio system. It’s too bad such a highly burnished docudrama as One wound up on its own blacklist, failing to find a theatrical distributor.