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

By Caroline Kepnes and Josh Wolk
Updated November 15, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
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MONDAY November 11

SYNDICATED* HOLLYWOOD SQUARES (TV-G) Hopefully Paula Abdul’s comedy writer will do a better job than he did for her on American Idol when the straight-up diva guests. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8-8:30PM THE KING OF QUEENS (CBS, TV-PG-L) You know those disposable cameras on tables at every wedding you’ve ever been to? After Doug is through with one, you may never see them again, to which we say — thank you, Doug.

8-9PM KINDRED SPIRITS: A TRIBUTE TO JOHNNY CASH (CMT, TV-PG) Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, and Little Richard pay homage to the man in black. So does Hank Williams Jr., but try not to let that bother you.

8-8:30PM THE PARKERS (UPN, TV-PG) How many times can a former celeb get away with playing himself? A question to ponder as you watch Gary Coleman guest-star on The Parkers. (I guess it beats security guard work.)

9-10:30PM* JIMMY CARTER (PBS, TV-PG) American Experience presents an evenhanded presidential portrait, giving equal time to the Nobel Prize winner’s summits (the Camp David accords) and nadirs (the Iran hostage debacle). It’s all here — the Playboy interview, the killer rabbit, Billy Beer — except one thing: a new interview with Jimbo. Luckily, talks with wife Rosalynn and VP Walter Mondale amount to more than peanuts. (Concludes Nov. 12) A- — Bruce Fretts *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

TUESDAY November 12

8-9PM BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (UPN, TV-PG-V) Dawn receives a visitor from beyond the grave, but we won’t say who. Oh, okay — it’s Joyce.

9-9:30PM LIFE WITH BONNIE (ABC) We can’t think of a better guest for an improv-heavy show than Jonathan Winters. Which works out just swell, since he’s actually appearing here this evening.

9-10PM HAUNTED (UPN, TV-PG-L) We’re assuming Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong has a good reason for guest-starring on Haunted, although then again, we don’t really have a good excuse for writing it up.

9-10PM THE GUARDIAN (CBS, TV-PG-L) CBS’ press release has a big headline that announces ”Episodes Contain Scenes Shot in Pittsburgh.” Not sure why that’s such a big deal…unless you’re from Pittsburgh…and you care.

10-11PM O.J.: A STUDY IN BLACK AND WHITE (HBO, TV-PG) You mean there’s more to say about the Juice? Sure, when it comes to O.J. Simpson’s racial symbolism both pre- and post-murder trial. This HBO Sports-produced news special plays like a college seminar on ”Race, Football, and Hertz Rental Car Commercials,” but there are reasons for the rambling by coaches and academics about Simpson’s evolution from black hero for white America in the ’70s to villain in the ’90s. Deadly important ones. B+ — Caroline Kepnes

WEDNESDAY November 13

8-9PM* SKIN (PBS, TV-G) I guess it’s impressive that this National Geographic special uses ”state-of-the-art computer-generated animation to delve beneath the skin’s surface,” but isn’t looking at what’s under skin…I don’t know, nasty? *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8-9PM ED (NBC, TV-PG) Here we go with another Vessey showing up out of nowhere. Tonight, Carol’s lil’ sis magically appears, which can’t help but remind me of frosted Lucky Charms, noted for being magically delicious. (Sorry, my mind tends to drift toward sugarcoated cereals from time to time.)

9-10PM THE AMAZING RACE 3 (CBS) True, it hasn’t been quite as amazing as the last two seasons, but how great was that diesel fuel mishap? And how annoying are Aaron and Arianne?

9-10:30pm GRASS (Sundance Channel, TV-R) Woody Harrelson feels the need…the need for weed! Okay, that’s not necessarily news, but the hemphead is narrating this documentary ”chronicling the bizarre 100-year history of laws against the use of marijuana.” More bizarre than Money Train?

9-10PM THE BACHELOR (ABC) It’s all about Gwen, people. Unless she got kicked off after press time, in which case it’s probably not that much about her anymore.

10-11PM DIXIE CHICKS REVEALED (E!, TV-PG) I’ve still never listened to the Dixie Chicks. Not dissing, simply stating.

8-10pm THE ALIEN SAGA (AMC, TV-PG-DLV) Hey, fellas, ever wonder why the first Alien movie always has you squirming in your seat? Well, it’s not just the sight of blood and fangs. In this comprehensive docu on the film franchise, cowriter Dan O’Bannon explains his thought process while writing the Alien script: ”I’m gonna put in every image I can think of that I know will make the men in the audience cross their legs. Homosexual, oral rape. Birth…. The whole number.” Ooookay, and thanks for that, Dan. AMC’s retrospective (narrated by John Hurt) appropriately spends most of its time on the Ridley Scott original and the James Cameron sequel and less energy on David Fincher’s third installment (”A big disaster,” in the words of designer H.R. Giger) and the final flick (at least for now), Alien Resurrection (go, Winona!). Along the way, we learn that Ripley was originally supposed to be a male character and that Michael Biehn was ”really hurt” not to be brought back for Alien3. Sorry, Michael, but as you should know, in space, no one can hear you whine. B+

THURSDAY November 14

8-9PM SURVIVOR: THAILAND (CBS) To date, Survivor: Africa has been the weakest link in the franchise, but I gotta tell you, at this point (even with the genius non-merge move), Thailand is gaining on it — fast.

8-8:30PM FRIENDS (NBC, TV-14) Chandler and Joey find a mysterious videotape, which naturally means they both have only seven days to live.

9-11PM BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA (Lifetime, TV-14-LSV) Hey, watch the language! Pottymouth Anjelica Huston directed this 1996 cablepic adaptation. (R)

9-10PM LET’S GET MARRIED (PBS) George W. Bush wants you to get married. And if you already are, then he wants you to stay married! The question is, why has he proposed spending $300 million a year to make it happen? Frontline aims to answer. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

9-11PM MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING (ABC, TV-PG-DL) Sorry, but I’d take Cameron Diaz over Julia Roberts any day. Whether she’d let me take her anywhere is another matter altogether.

9-10PM CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS, TV-PG-LV) Beating someone to death isn’t considered murder when it takes place in a boxing ring, but don’t tell that to Grissom. Seriously, don’t tell him. He’ll kick your ass.

10-11PM ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (TLC, TV-G) This special features interviews with people who claim to have seen the alleged beast. Of course, they also claim to be perfectly sane. (R)

8:30-9PM SCRUBS (NBC, TV-14) Bill Lawrence is no dope. First, the Scrubs creator cast his wife, Christa Miller (who wisely deserted The Drew Carey Show), as Jordan, the hysterically antagonistic ex-wife of Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley). Then he lined up Heather Locklear (above left with McGinley and Miller) for her first sitcom gig since Spin City (which Lawrence cocreated), as Julie, a foxy pharmaceutical saleswoman who’s handed out free samples — if you know what we mean — to almost every doctor in the hospital. Now here’s the beauty part: He’s pitted the two vixens against each other in a good old-fashioned catfight over Cox. So why are you still flipping over to watch Tribal Council? B+ — BF

FRIDAY November 15

8-10PM DOMINICK DUNNE PRESENTS: MURDER IN GREENWICH (USA, TV-14-V) Christopher Meloni plays Mark Fuhrman, who’s hot on the trail of Martha Moxley’s killer. POTSIE ALERT!

8:30-9PM SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH (The WB, TV-PG) The tables are turned when Anson Williams directs old boss and Happy Days creator Garry Marshall (as well as Avril Lavigne) in tonight’s episode.

8-10:30PM PUMPING IRON: 25TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION (Cinemax, TV-PG) If you thought Arnold Schwarzenegger (above) couldn’t do comedy, then you’ve never seen him psych out Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno in Pumping Iron, the ultimate bodybuilding documentary (granted, the field is slim). Cinemax celebrates this 1977 massive musclefest with a digitally enhanced presentation (digitally enhanced deltoids — sweet!) and two docus (on the docu) complete with outtakes and new interviews. Why, even a 140-pound girlyman of a TV critic can appreciate that. A-

SATURDAY November 16

8-8:30PM CHRISTMAS WITH TONY BENNETT — BEHIND THE SCENES (Hallmark Channel, TV-G) As long as he didn’t leave his nutmeg in San Francisco, we’ll pay a visit.

8-9:45PM GIMME SHELTER (IFC, TV-PG) The Rolling Stones have a great idea — throw a massive free concert! The Rolling Stones have a not-so-great idea — have Hell’s Angels work the security! This rockumentary covers the carnage.

9-10:45PM LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (The Movie Channel, TV-PG-13) Angelina Jolie carries around two big guns.

10-11PM THE AGENCY (CBS, TV-PG-L) Tom Arnold guest-stars on the best damn secret agent show not called 24 or Alias, period.

9-11PM HUNTER: RETURN TO JUSTICE (NBC, TV-14) Poor LAPD detective Rick Hunter (Fred Dryer, above) can’t be involved in seven shootings in three years without pesky internal affairs breathing fire, sparking a reunion with sexy partner Dee Dee McCall (Stepfanie Kramer). Meanwhile, Hunter pursues biker assassins and the Russian Mafia while belting out great lines like ”I’m a police officer, and shooting you is just one more thing I’m gonna have to do today.” It’s like he never left the beat. B- — Vanessa Rothschild

SUNDAY November 17

6-8PM ANOTHER STAKEOUT (Showtime, TV-PG-13) At least Estevez loses his cheesy mustache for this one.

7:30-8PM ANATOMY OF A SCENE: FAR FROM HEAVEN (Sundance Channel) Director Todd Haynes, Julianne Moore, and Dennis Quaid dissect a scene from their new movie. You can watch and take notes, or do whatever wannabe filmmakers do when they watch these sorts of things.

8-9PM AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC, TV-PG) JJ fears some of his teammates have been paid to throw the big game. On a somewhat related note, could someone please pay me to watch this show? True, it is my job, but could someone pay me, like, more?

8-8:30PM THE SIMPSONS (Fox, TV-PG-V) Haven’t seen this episode in which Bart and Lisa become classmates yet, but if it’s even half as good as last week’s season premiere, then it’s still the best thing on this evening. The whole week, in fact.

8-9PM* NATURE: BLOODY SUCKERS (PBS, TV-PG) Filmmaker Mark Ferns lets a vampire bat suck his blood for almost 10 minutes, and by all accounts he is not auditioning for a role in the next Jackass movie. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8:30-11:30PM NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT OAKLAND RAIDERS (ESPN) You haven’t laid eyes on truly scary football fans till you’ve taken a trip to Raider Nation. (Although they would certainly look a bit scarier if they weren’t still crying over last year’s controversial play-off loss to the Pats.)

8:30-9PM KING OF THE HILL (Fox, TV-PG-LV) A graffiti artist is taking over the town, not to mention Bobby’s heart.

9-10PM ALIAS (ABC, TV-14-V) Sydney has a chance to save Vaughn, but it could kill Sloane. Of course, Vaughn is about 80 times cuter, so we don’t see what the big dilemma is.

9-10PM ZIP CODE 007 (HGTV, TV-G) Jane Seymour (Solitaire from Live and Let Die) takes us on a tour of homes occupied by Bond babes and bad guys, and you know what that means: all 7 feet 8 inches of Richard Kiel’s bed! Take a number, ladies.

9-9:30PM MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (Fox, TV-PG) We’re assuming Malcolm and his brothers all ask for rides in the bitchin’ DeLorean time machine when Christopher Lloyd guest-stars as their grandfather.

9-10PM THE SOPRANOS (HBO, TV-MA) It’s that damn ponytail working its magic once again when Carmela pays another visit to foxy Furio.

10-10:30PM CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO, TV-MA) Larry does something stupid in the first five minutes, and then pays for it for 25 more. At least that’s what usually happens.

10-11PM BOOMTOWN (NBC, TV-14) Stevens and Smith investigate a collision between a big rig and a station wagon. Guess which vehicle won that one.

10:30-11PM THE MIND OF THE MARRIED MAN (HBO, TV-MA) Micky is gung ho for couples therapy. Personally, I’m more into Gung Ho the movie, but to each his own.

10:45PM-12:40AM OPERATION DUMBO DROP (HBO Family, TV-PG) Wanna have some fun? Go up to your loved one and say, ”Hey, honey, how about tonight we make some popcorn and watch Operation Dumbo Drop.” Trust me, the reaction will be worth it, although if he or she breaks up with you, I can’t be held responsible. (Seriously, we have an army of lawyers here ready to back me up.)

11PM-1AM THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (Sci Fi, TV-14-V) Now, we’re not here to encourage alcohol abuse, but a six-pack of Old Milwaukee might be in order if you truly want to appreciate Marlon Brando in this camptastic extravaganza.

7-9PM MR. ST. NICK (ABC, TV-PG) First things first: November 17? A Christmas-themed TV movie on November 17? I suppose it’s only a matter of time before we’re seeing Frosty and Rudolph in April. (Especially with The Santa Clause 2 racking up big numbers on freakin’ November 1.) Which is actually fine if you’re a sucker for yuletide specials like I am. In this one, Kelsey Grammer (above) is the heir to Santa’s throne, but he’s got problems beyond remembering who’s naughty and nice — like seeing eye to eye with his father, the current Claus (Charles Durning), or trying to foil a charity fraud scheme in his name. Of course, the story of a reluctant St. Nick is nothing new, but Grammer is game as Santa’s swinging son, and is surrounded by a jolly supporting cast (most notably Colin Cunningham as a dogged federal agent). And just think, only five and a half weeks to go till the real thing! B

9-10PM INSIDE TV LAND: TABOO TV (TV Land, TV-PG-D) Archie Bunker’s bigotry. Maude’s abortion. NYPD Blue’s parade of bare asses. Each barreled through one or more of television’s accepted limits, and this comprehensive documentary shows how TV progressed from couples sleeping in separate beds to, well, 93 percent of Fox’s broadcast slate. Taboo manages to add fresh nuggets to the usual touchstones (a debate as to whether they could say ”toilet” on the sex-crazy Three’s Company, left) and also offers intriguing sociological insight: In the ’80s, boozing (a staple in ’50s sitcoms) became verboten, hence the idea of setting Cheers in a bar…but making bartender Sam Malone a recovering alcoholic. A-

MONDAY

MONDAY November 11

SYNDICATED* HOLLYWOOD SQUARES (TV-G) Hopefully Paula Abdul’s comedy writer will do a better job than he did for her on American Idol when the straight-up diva guests. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8-8:30PM THE KING OF QUEENS (CBS, TV-PG-L) You know those disposable cameras on tables at every wedding you’ve ever been to? After Doug is through with one, you may never see them again, to which we say — thank you, Doug.

8-9PM KINDRED SPIRITS: A TRIBUTE TO JOHNNY CASH (CMT, TV-PG) Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, and Little Richard pay homage to the man in black. So does Hank Williams Jr., but try not to let that bother you.

8-8:30PM THE PARKERS (UPN, TV-PG) How many times can a former celeb get away with playing himself? A question to ponder as you watch Gary Coleman guest-star on The Parkers. (I guess it beats security guard work.)

9-10:30PM* JIMMY CARTER (PBS, TV-PG) American Experience presents an evenhanded presidential portrait, giving equal time to the Nobel Prize winner’s summits (the Camp David accords) and nadirs (the Iran hostage debacle). It’s all here — the Playboy interview, the killer rabbit, Billy Beer — except one thing: a new interview with Jimbo. Luckily, talks with wife Rosalynn and VP Walter Mondale amount to more than peanuts. (Concludes Nov. 12) A- — Bruce Fretts *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

TUESDAY

TUESDAY November 12

8-9PM BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (UPN, TV-PG-V) Dawn receives a visitor from beyond the grave, but we won’t say who. Oh, okay — it’s Joyce.

9-9:30PM LIFE WITH BONNIE (ABC) We can’t think of a better guest for an improv-heavy show than Jonathan Winters. Which works out just swell, since he’s actually appearing here this evening.

9-10PM HAUNTED (UPN, TV-PG-L) We’re assuming Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong has a good reason for guest-starring on Haunted, although then again, we don’t really have a good excuse for writing it up.

9-10PM THE GUARDIAN (CBS, TV-PG-L) CBS’ press release has a big headline that announces ”Episodes Contain Scenes Shot in Pittsburgh.” Not sure why that’s such a big deal…unless you’re from Pittsburgh…and you care.

10-11PM O.J.: A STUDY IN BLACK AND WHITE (HBO, TV-PG) You mean there’s more to say about the Juice? Sure, when it comes to O.J. Simpson’s racial symbolism both pre- and post-murder trial. This HBO Sports-produced news special plays like a college seminar on ”Race, Football, and Hertz Rental Car Commercials,” but there are reasons for the rambling by coaches and academics about Simpson’s evolution from black hero for white America in the ’70s to villain in the ’90s. Deadly important ones. B+ — Caroline Kepnes

WEDNESDAY

WEDNESDAY November 13

8-9PM* SKIN (PBS, TV-G) I guess it’s impressive that this National Geographic special uses ”state-of-the-art computer-generated animation to delve beneath the skin’s surface,” but isn’t looking at what’s under skin…I don’t know, nasty? *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8-9PM ED (NBC, TV-PG) Here we go with another Vessey showing up out of nowhere. Tonight, Carol’s lil’ sis magically appears, which can’t help but remind me of frosted Lucky Charms, noted for being magically delicious. (Sorry, my mind tends to drift toward sugarcoated cereals from time to time.)

9-10PM THE AMAZING RACE 3 (CBS) True, it hasn’t been quite as amazing as the last two seasons, but how great was that diesel fuel mishap? And how annoying are Aaron and Arianne?

9-10:30pm GRASS (Sundance Channel, TV-R) Woody Harrelson feels the need…the need for weed! Okay, that’s not necessarily news, but the hemphead is narrating this documentary ”chronicling the bizarre 100-year history of laws against the use of marijuana.” More bizarre than Money Train?

9-10PM THE BACHELOR (ABC) It’s all about Gwen, people. Unless she got kicked off after press time, in which case it’s probably not that much about her anymore.

10-11PM DIXIE CHICKS REVEALED (E!, TV-PG) I’ve still never listened to the Dixie Chicks. Not dissing, simply stating.

8-10pm THE ALIEN SAGA (AMC, TV-PG-DLV) Hey, fellas, ever wonder why the first Alien movie always has you squirming in your seat? Well, it’s not just the sight of blood and fangs. In this comprehensive docu on the film franchise, cowriter Dan O’Bannon explains his thought process while writing the Alien script: ”I’m gonna put in every image I can think of that I know will make the men in the audience cross their legs. Homosexual, oral rape. Birth…. The whole number.” Ooookay, and thanks for that, Dan. AMC’s retrospective (narrated by John Hurt) appropriately spends most of its time on the Ridley Scott original and the James Cameron sequel and less energy on David Fincher’s third installment (”A big disaster,” in the words of designer H.R. Giger) and the final flick (at least for now), Alien Resurrection (go, Winona!). Along the way, we learn that Ripley was originally supposed to be a male character and that Michael Biehn was ”really hurt” not to be brought back for Alien3. Sorry, Michael, but as you should know, in space, no one can hear you whine. B+

THURSDAY

MONDAY November 11

SYNDICATED* HOLLYWOOD SQUARES (TV-G) Hopefully Paula Abdul’s comedy writer will do a better job than he did for her on American Idol when the straight-up diva guests. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8-8:30PM THE KING OF QUEENS (CBS, TV-PG-L) You know those disposable cameras on tables at every wedding you’ve ever been to? After Doug is through with one, you may never see them again, to which we say — thank you, Doug.

8-9PM KINDRED SPIRITS: A TRIBUTE TO JOHNNY CASH (CMT, TV-PG) Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, and Little Richard pay homage to the man in black. So does Hank Williams Jr., but try not to let that bother you.

8-8:30PM THE PARKERS (UPN, TV-PG) How many times can a former celeb get away with playing himself? A question to ponder as you watch Gary Coleman guest-star on The Parkers. (I guess it beats security guard work.)

9-10:30PM* JIMMY CARTER (PBS, TV-PG) American Experience presents an evenhanded presidential portrait, giving equal time to the Nobel Prize winner’s summits (the Camp David accords) and nadirs (the Iran hostage debacle). It’s all here — the Playboy interview, the killer rabbit, Billy Beer — except one thing: a new interview with Jimbo. Luckily, talks with wife Rosalynn and VP Walter Mondale amount to more than peanuts. (Concludes Nov. 12) A- — Bruce Fretts *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

TUESDAY November 12

8-9PM BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (UPN, TV-PG-V) Dawn receives a visitor from beyond the grave, but we won’t say who. Oh, okay — it’s Joyce.

9-9:30PM LIFE WITH BONNIE (ABC) We can’t think of a better guest for an improv-heavy show than Jonathan Winters. Which works out just swell, since he’s actually appearing here this evening.

9-10PM HAUNTED (UPN, TV-PG-L) We’re assuming Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong has a good reason for guest-starring on Haunted, although then again, we don’t really have a good excuse for writing it up.

9-10PM THE GUARDIAN (CBS, TV-PG-L) CBS’ press release has a big headline that announces ”Episodes Contain Scenes Shot in Pittsburgh.” Not sure why that’s such a big deal…unless you’re from Pittsburgh…and you care.

10-11PM O.J.: A STUDY IN BLACK AND WHITE (HBO, TV-PG) You mean there’s more to say about the Juice? Sure, when it comes to O.J. Simpson’s racial symbolism both pre- and post-murder trial. This HBO Sports-produced news special plays like a college seminar on ”Race, Football, and Hertz Rental Car Commercials,” but there are reasons for the rambling by coaches and academics about Simpson’s evolution from black hero for white America in the ’70s to villain in the ’90s. Deadly important ones. B+ — Caroline Kepnes

WEDNESDAY November 13

8-9PM* SKIN (PBS, TV-G) I guess it’s impressive that this National Geographic special uses ”state-of-the-art computer-generated animation to delve beneath the skin’s surface,” but isn’t looking at what’s under skin…I don’t know, nasty? *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8-9PM ED (NBC, TV-PG) Here we go with another Vessey showing up out of nowhere. Tonight, Carol’s lil’ sis magically appears, which can’t help but remind me of frosted Lucky Charms, noted for being magically delicious. (Sorry, my mind tends to drift toward sugarcoated cereals from time to time.)

9-10PM THE AMAZING RACE 3 (CBS) True, it hasn’t been quite as amazing as the last two seasons, but how great was that diesel fuel mishap? And how annoying are Aaron and Arianne?

9-10:30pm GRASS (Sundance Channel, TV-R) Woody Harrelson feels the need…the need for weed! Okay, that’s not necessarily news, but the hemphead is narrating this documentary ”chronicling the bizarre 100-year history of laws against the use of marijuana.” More bizarre than Money Train?

9-10PM THE BACHELOR (ABC) It’s all about Gwen, people. Unless she got kicked off after press time, in which case it’s probably not that much about her anymore.

10-11PM DIXIE CHICKS REVEALED (E!, TV-PG) I’ve still never listened to the Dixie Chicks. Not dissing, simply stating.

8-10pm THE ALIEN SAGA (AMC, TV-PG-DLV) Hey, fellas, ever wonder why the first Alien movie always has you squirming in your seat? Well, it’s not just the sight of blood and fangs. In this comprehensive docu on the film franchise, cowriter Dan O’Bannon explains his thought process while writing the Alien script: ”I’m gonna put in every image I can think of that I know will make the men in the audience cross their legs. Homosexual, oral rape. Birth…. The whole number.” Ooookay, and thanks for that, Dan. AMC’s retrospective (narrated by John Hurt) appropriately spends most of its time on the Ridley Scott original and the James Cameron sequel and less energy on David Fincher’s third installment (”A big disaster,” in the words of designer H.R. Giger) and the final flick (at least for now), Alien Resurrection (go, Winona!). Along the way, we learn that Ripley was originally supposed to be a male character and that Michael Biehn was ”really hurt” not to be brought back for Alien3. Sorry, Michael, but as you should know, in space, no one can hear you whine. B+

THURSDAY November 14

8-9PM SURVIVOR: THAILAND (CBS) To date, Survivor: Africa has been the weakest link in the franchise, but I gotta tell you, at this point (even with the genius non-merge move), Thailand is gaining on it — fast.

8-8:30PM FRIENDS (NBC, TV-14) Chandler and Joey find a mysterious videotape, which naturally means they both have only seven days to live.

9-11PM BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA (Lifetime, TV-14-LSV) Hey, watch the language! Pottymouth Anjelica Huston directed this 1996 cablepic adaptation. (R)

9-10PM LET’S GET MARRIED (PBS) George W. Bush wants you to get married. And if you already are, then he wants you to stay married! The question is, why has he proposed spending $300 million a year to make it happen? Frontline aims to answer. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

9-11PM MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING (ABC, TV-PG-DL) Sorry, but I’d take Cameron Diaz over Julia Roberts any day. Whether she’d let me take her anywhere is another matter altogether.

9-10PM CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS, TV-PG-LV) Beating someone to death isn’t considered murder when it takes place in a boxing ring, but don’t tell that to Grissom. Seriously, don’t tell him. He’ll kick your ass.

10-11PM ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (TLC, TV-G) This special features interviews with people who claim to have seen the alleged beast. Of course, they also claim to be perfectly sane. (R)

8:30-9PM SCRUBS (NBC, TV-14) Bill Lawrence is no dope. First, the Scrubs creator cast his wife, Christa Miller (who wisely deserted The Drew Carey Show), as Jordan, the hysterically antagonistic ex-wife of Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley). Then he lined up Heather Locklear (above left with McGinley and Miller) for her first sitcom gig since Spin City (which Lawrence cocreated), as Julie, a foxy pharmaceutical saleswoman who’s handed out free samples — if you know what we mean — to almost every doctor in the hospital. Now here’s the beauty part: He’s pitted the two vixens against each other in a good old-fashioned catfight over Cox. So why are you still flipping over to watch Tribal Council? B+ — BF

FRIDAY November 15

8-10PM DOMINICK DUNNE PRESENTS: MURDER IN GREENWICH (USA, TV-14-V) Christopher Meloni plays Mark Fuhrman, who’s hot on the trail of Martha Moxley’s killer. POTSIE ALERT!

8:30-9PM SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH (The WB, TV-PG) The tables are turned when Anson Williams directs old boss and Happy Days creator Garry Marshall (as well as Avril Lavigne) in tonight’s episode.

8-10:30PM PUMPING IRON: 25TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION (Cinemax, TV-PG) If you thought Arnold Schwarzenegger (above) couldn’t do comedy, then you’ve never seen him psych out Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno in Pumping Iron, the ultimate bodybuilding documentary (granted, the field is slim). Cinemax celebrates this 1977 massive musclefest with a digitally enhanced presentation (digitally enhanced deltoids — sweet!) and two docus (on the docu) complete with outtakes and new interviews. Why, even a 140-pound girlyman of a TV critic can appreciate that. A-

SATURDAY November 16

8-8:30PM CHRISTMAS WITH TONY BENNETT — BEHIND THE SCENES (Hallmark Channel, TV-G) As long as he didn’t leave his nutmeg in San Francisco, we’ll pay a visit.

8-9:45PM GIMME SHELTER (IFC, TV-PG) The Rolling Stones have a great idea — throw a massive free concert! The Rolling Stones have a not-so-great idea — have Hell’s Angels work the security! This rockumentary covers the carnage.

9-10:45PM LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (The Movie Channel, TV-PG-13) Angelina Jolie carries around two big guns.

10-11PM THE AGENCY (CBS, TV-PG-L) Tom Arnold guest-stars on the best damn secret agent show not called 24 or Alias, period.

9-11PM HUNTER: RETURN TO JUSTICE (NBC, TV-14) Poor LAPD detective Rick Hunter (Fred Dryer, above) can’t be involved in seven shootings in three years without pesky internal affairs breathing fire, sparking a reunion with sexy partner Dee Dee McCall (Stepfanie Kramer). Meanwhile, Hunter pursues biker assassins and the Russian Mafia while belting out great lines like ”I’m a police officer, and shooting you is just one more thing I’m gonna have to do today.” It’s like he never left the beat. B- — Vanessa Rothschild

SUNDAY November 17

6-8PM ANOTHER STAKEOUT (Showtime, TV-PG-13) At least Estevez loses his cheesy mustache for this one.

7:30-8PM ANATOMY OF A SCENE: FAR FROM HEAVEN (Sundance Channel) Director Todd Haynes, Julianne Moore, and Dennis Quaid dissect a scene from their new movie. You can watch and take notes, or do whatever wannabe filmmakers do when they watch these sorts of things.

8-9PM AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC, TV-PG) JJ fears some of his teammates have been paid to throw the big game. On a somewhat related note, could someone please pay me to watch this show? True, it is my job, but could someone pay me, like, more?

8-8:30PM THE SIMPSONS (Fox, TV-PG-V) Haven’t seen this episode in which Bart and Lisa become classmates yet, but if it’s even half as good as last week’s season premiere, then it’s still the best thing on this evening. The whole week, in fact.

8-9PM* NATURE: BLOODY SUCKERS (PBS, TV-PG) Filmmaker Mark Ferns lets a vampire bat suck his blood for almost 10 minutes, and by all accounts he is not auditioning for a role in the next Jackass movie. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8:30-11:30PM NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT OAKLAND RAIDERS (ESPN) You haven’t laid eyes on truly scary football fans till you’ve taken a trip to Raider Nation. (Although they would certainly look a bit scarier if they weren’t still crying over last year’s controversial play-off loss to the Pats.)

8:30-9PM KING OF THE HILL (Fox, TV-PG-LV) A graffiti artist is taking over the town, not to mention Bobby’s heart.

9-10PM ALIAS (ABC, TV-14-V) Sydney has a chance to save Vaughn, but it could kill Sloane. Of course, Vaughn is about 80 times cuter, so we don’t see what the big dilemma is.

9-10PM ZIP CODE 007 (HGTV, TV-G) Jane Seymour (Solitaire from Live and Let Die) takes us on a tour of homes occupied by Bond babes and bad guys, and you know what that means: all 7 feet 8 inches of Richard Kiel’s bed! Take a number, ladies.

9-9:30PM MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (Fox, TV-PG) We’re assuming Malcolm and his brothers all ask for rides in the bitchin’ DeLorean time machine when Christopher Lloyd guest-stars as their grandfather.

9-10PM THE SOPRANOS (HBO, TV-MA) It’s that damn ponytail working its magic once again when Carmela pays another visit to foxy Furio.

10-10:30PM CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO, TV-MA) Larry does something stupid in the first five minutes, and then pays for it for 25 more. At least that’s what usually happens.

10-11PM BOOMTOWN (NBC, TV-14) Stevens and Smith investigate a collision between a big rig and a station wagon. Guess which vehicle won that one.

10:30-11PM THE MIND OF THE MARRIED MAN (HBO, TV-MA) Micky is gung ho for couples therapy. Personally, I’m more into Gung Ho the movie, but to each his own.

10:45PM-12:40AM OPERATION DUMBO DROP (HBO Family, TV-PG) Wanna have some fun? Go up to your loved one and say, ”Hey, honey, how about tonight we make some popcorn and watch Operation Dumbo Drop.” Trust me, the reaction will be worth it, although if he or she breaks up with you, I can’t be held responsible. (Seriously, we have an army of lawyers here ready to back me up.)

11PM-1AM THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (Sci Fi, TV-14-V) Now, we’re not here to encourage alcohol abuse, but a six-pack of Old Milwaukee might be in order if you truly want to appreciate Marlon Brando in this camptastic extravaganza.

7-9PM MR. ST. NICK (ABC, TV-PG) First things first: November 17? A Christmas-themed TV movie on November 17? I suppose it’s only a matter of time before we’re seeing Frosty and Rudolph in April. (Especially with The Santa Clause 2 racking up big numbers on freakin’ November 1.) Which is actually fine if you’re a sucker for yuletide specials like I am. In this one, Kelsey Grammer (above) is the heir to Santa’s throne, but he’s got problems beyond remembering who’s naughty and nice — like seeing eye to eye with his father, the current Claus (Charles Durning), or trying to foil a charity fraud scheme in his name. Of course, the story of a reluctant St. Nick is nothing new, but Grammer is game as Santa’s swinging son, and is surrounded by a jolly supporting cast (most notably Colin Cunningham as a dogged federal agent). And just think, only five and a half weeks to go till the real thing! B

9-10PM INSIDE TV LAND: TABOO TV (TV Land, TV-PG-D) Archie Bunker’s bigotry. Maude’s abortion. NYPD Blue’s parade of bare asses. Each barreled through one or more of television’s accepted limits, and this comprehensive documentary shows how TV progressed from couples sleeping in separate beds to, well, 93 percent of Fox’s broadcast slate. Taboo manages to add fresh nuggets to the usual touchstones (a debate as to whether they could say ”toilet” on the sex-crazy Three’s Company, left) and also offers intriguing sociological insight: In the ’80s, boozing (a staple in ’50s sitcoms) became verboten, hence the idea of setting Cheers in a bar…but making bartender Sam Malone a recovering alcoholic. A- — Josh Wolk

FRIDAY

MONDAY November 11

SYNDICATED* HOLLYWOOD SQUARES (TV-G) Hopefully Paula Abdul’s comedy writer will do a better job than he did for her on American Idol when the straight-up diva guests. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8-8:30PM THE KING OF QUEENS (CBS, TV-PG-L) You know those disposable cameras on tables at every wedding you’ve ever been to? After Doug is through with one, you may never see them again, to which we say — thank you, Doug.

8-9PM KINDRED SPIRITS: A TRIBUTE TO JOHNNY CASH (CMT, TV-PG) Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, and Little Richard pay homage to the man in black. So does Hank Williams Jr., but try not to let that bother you.

8-8:30PM THE PARKERS (UPN, TV-PG) How many times can a former celeb get away with playing himself? A question to ponder as you watch Gary Coleman guest-star on The Parkers. (I guess it beats security guard work.)

9-10:30PM* JIMMY CARTER (PBS, TV-PG) American Experience presents an evenhanded presidential portrait, giving equal time to the Nobel Prize winner’s summits (the Camp David accords) and nadirs (the Iran hostage debacle). It’s all here — the Playboy interview, the killer rabbit, Billy Beer — except one thing: a new interview with Jimbo. Luckily, talks with wife Rosalynn and VP Walter Mondale amount to more than peanuts. (Concludes Nov. 12) A- — Bruce Fretts *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

TUESDAY November 12

8-9PM BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (UPN, TV-PG-V) Dawn receives a visitor from beyond the grave, but we won’t say who. Oh, okay — it’s Joyce.

9-9:30PM LIFE WITH BONNIE (ABC) We can’t think of a better guest for an improv-heavy show than Jonathan Winters. Which works out just swell, since he’s actually appearing here this evening.

9-10PM HAUNTED (UPN, TV-PG-L) We’re assuming Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong has a good reason for guest-starring on Haunted, although then again, we don’t really have a good excuse for writing it up.

9-10PM THE GUARDIAN (CBS, TV-PG-L) CBS’ press release has a big headline that announces ”Episodes Contain Scenes Shot in Pittsburgh.” Not sure why that’s such a big deal…unless you’re from Pittsburgh…and you care.

10-11PM O.J.: A STUDY IN BLACK AND WHITE (HBO, TV-PG) You mean there’s more to say about the Juice? Sure, when it comes to O.J. Simpson’s racial symbolism both pre- and post-murder trial. This HBO Sports-produced news special plays like a college seminar on ”Race, Football, and Hertz Rental Car Commercials,” but there are reasons for the rambling by coaches and academics about Simpson’s evolution from black hero for white America in the ’70s to villain in the ’90s. Deadly important ones. B+ — Caroline Kepnes

WEDNESDAY November 13

8-9PM* SKIN (PBS, TV-G) I guess it’s impressive that this National Geographic special uses ”state-of-the-art computer-generated animation to delve beneath the skin’s surface,” but isn’t looking at what’s under skin…I don’t know, nasty? *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8-9PM ED (NBC, TV-PG) Here we go with another Vessey showing up out of nowhere. Tonight, Carol’s lil’ sis magically appears, which can’t help but remind me of frosted Lucky Charms, noted for being magically delicious. (Sorry, my mind tends to drift toward sugarcoated cereals from time to time.)

9-10PM THE AMAZING RACE 3 (CBS) True, it hasn’t been quite as amazing as the last two seasons, but how great was that diesel fuel mishap? And how annoying are Aaron and Arianne?

9-10:30pm GRASS (Sundance Channel, TV-R) Woody Harrelson feels the need…the need for weed! Okay, that’s not necessarily news, but the hemphead is narrating this documentary ”chronicling the bizarre 100-year history of laws against the use of marijuana.” More bizarre than Money Train?

9-10PM THE BACHELOR (ABC) It’s all about Gwen, people. Unless she got kicked off after press time, in which case it’s probably not that much about her anymore.

10-11PM DIXIE CHICKS REVEALED (E!, TV-PG) I’ve still never listened to the Dixie Chicks. Not dissing, simply stating.

8-10pm THE ALIEN SAGA (AMC, TV-PG-DLV) Hey, fellas, ever wonder why the first Alien movie always has you squirming in your seat? Well, it’s not just the sight of blood and fangs. In this comprehensive docu on the film franchise, cowriter Dan O’Bannon explains his thought process while writing the Alien script: ”I’m gonna put in every image I can think of that I know will make the men in the audience cross their legs. Homosexual, oral rape. Birth…. The whole number.” Ooookay, and thanks for that, Dan. AMC’s retrospective (narrated by John Hurt) appropriately spends most of its time on the Ridley Scott original and the James Cameron sequel and less energy on David Fincher’s third installment (”A big disaster,” in the words of designer H.R. Giger) and the final flick (at least for now), Alien Resurrection (go, Winona!). Along the way, we learn that Ripley was originally supposed to be a male character and that Michael Biehn was ”really hurt” not to be brought back for Alien3. Sorry, Michael, but as you should know, in space, no one can hear you whine. B+

THURSDAY November 14

8-9PM SURVIVOR: THAILAND (CBS) To date, Survivor: Africa has been the weakest link in the franchise, but I gotta tell you, at this point (even with the genius non-merge move), Thailand is gaining on it — fast.

8-8:30PM FRIENDS (NBC, TV-14) Chandler and Joey find a mysterious videotape, which naturally means they both have only seven days to live.

9-11PM BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA (Lifetime, TV-14-LSV) Hey, watch the language! Pottymouth Anjelica Huston directed this 1996 cablepic adaptation. (R)

9-10PM LET’S GET MARRIED (PBS) George W. Bush wants you to get married. And if you already are, then he wants you to stay married! The question is, why has he proposed spending $300 million a year to make it happen? Frontline aims to answer. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

9-11PM MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING (ABC, TV-PG-DL) Sorry, but I’d take Cameron Diaz over Julia Roberts any day. Whether she’d let me take her anywhere is another matter altogether.

9-10PM CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS, TV-PG-LV) Beating someone to death isn’t considered murder when it takes place in a boxing ring, but don’t tell that to Grissom. Seriously, don’t tell him. He’ll kick your ass.

10-11PM ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (TLC, TV-G) This special features interviews with people who claim to have seen the alleged beast. Of course, they also claim to be perfectly sane. (R)

8:30-9PM SCRUBS (NBC, TV-14) Bill Lawrence is no dope. First, the Scrubs creator cast his wife, Christa Miller (who wisely deserted The Drew Carey Show), as Jordan, the hysterically antagonistic ex-wife of Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley). Then he lined up Heather Locklear (above left with McGinley and Miller) for her first sitcom gig since Spin City (which Lawrence cocreated), as Julie, a foxy pharmaceutical saleswoman who’s handed out free samples — if you know what we mean — to almost every doctor in the hospital. Now here’s the beauty part: He’s pitted the two vixens against each other in a good old-fashioned catfight over Cox. So why are you still flipping over to watch Tribal Council? B+ — BF

FRIDAY November 15

8-10PM DOMINICK DUNNE PRESENTS: MURDER IN GREENWICH (USA, TV-14-V) Christopher Meloni plays Mark Fuhrman, who’s hot on the trail of Martha Moxley’s killer. POTSIE ALERT!

8:30-9PM SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH (The WB, TV-PG) The tables are turned when Anson Williams directs old boss and Happy Days creator Garry Marshall (as well as Avril Lavigne) in tonight’s episode.

8-10:30PM PUMPING IRON: 25TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION (Cinemax, TV-PG) If you thought Arnold Schwarzenegger (above) couldn’t do comedy, then you’ve never seen him psych out Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno in Pumping Iron, the ultimate bodybuilding documentary (granted, the field is slim). Cinemax celebrates this 1977 massive musclefest with a digitally enhanced presentation (digitally enhanced deltoids — sweet!) and two docus (on the docu) complete with outtakes and new interviews. Why, even a 140-pound girlyman of a TV critic can appreciate that. A-

SATURDAY November 16

8-8:30PM CHRISTMAS WITH TONY BENNETT — BEHIND THE SCENES (Hallmark Channel, TV-G) As long as he didn’t leave his nutmeg in San Francisco, we’ll pay a visit.

8-9:45PM GIMME SHELTER (IFC, TV-PG) The Rolling Stones have a great idea — throw a massive free concert! The Rolling Stones have a not-so-great idea — have Hell’s Angels work the security! This rockumentary covers the carnage.

9-10:45PM LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (The Movie Channel, TV-PG-13) Angelina Jolie carries around two big guns.

10-11PM THE AGENCY (CBS, TV-PG-L) Tom Arnold guest-stars on the best damn secret agent show not called 24 or Alias, period.

9-11PM HUNTER: RETURN TO JUSTICE (NBC, TV-14) Poor LAPD detective Rick Hunter (Fred Dryer, above) can’t be involved in seven shootings in three years without pesky internal affairs breathing fire, sparking a reunion with sexy partner Dee Dee McCall (Stepfanie Kramer). Meanwhile, Hunter pursues biker assassins and the Russian Mafia while belting out great lines like ”I’m a police officer, and shooting you is just one more thing I’m gonna have to do today.” It’s like he never left the beat. B- — Vanessa Rothschild

SUNDAY November 17

6-8PM ANOTHER STAKEOUT (Showtime, TV-PG-13) At least Estevez loses his cheesy mustache for this one.

7:30-8PM ANATOMY OF A SCENE: FAR FROM HEAVEN (Sundance Channel) Director Todd Haynes, Julianne Moore, and Dennis Quaid dissect a scene from their new movie. You can watch and take notes, or do whatever wannabe filmmakers do when they watch these sorts of things.

8-9PM AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC, TV-PG) JJ fears some of his teammates have been paid to throw the big game. On a somewhat related note, could someone please pay me to watch this show? True, it is my job, but could someone pay me, like, more?

8-8:30PM THE SIMPSONS (Fox, TV-PG-V) Haven’t seen this episode in which Bart and Lisa become classmates yet, but if it’s even half as good as last week’s season premiere, then it’s still the best thing on this evening. The whole week, in fact.

8-9PM* NATURE: BLOODY SUCKERS (PBS, TV-PG) Filmmaker Mark Ferns lets a vampire bat suck his blood for almost 10 minutes, and by all accounts he is not auditioning for a role in the next Jackass movie. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8:30-11:30PM NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT OAKLAND RAIDERS (ESPN) You haven’t laid eyes on truly scary football fans till you’ve taken a trip to Raider Nation. (Although they would certainly look a bit scarier if they weren’t still crying over last year’s controversial play-off loss to the Pats.)

8:30-9PM KING OF THE HILL (Fox, TV-PG-LV) A graffiti artist is taking over the town, not to mention Bobby’s heart.

9-10PM ALIAS (ABC, TV-14-V) Sydney has a chance to save Vaughn, but it could kill Sloane. Of course, Vaughn is about 80 times cuter, so we don’t see what the big dilemma is.

9-10PM ZIP CODE 007 (HGTV, TV-G) Jane Seymour (Solitaire from Live and Let Die) takes us on a tour of homes occupied by Bond babes and bad guys, and you know what that means: all 7 feet 8 inches of Richard Kiel’s bed! Take a number, ladies.

9-9:30PM MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (Fox, TV-PG) We’re assuming Malcolm and his brothers all ask for rides in the bitchin’ DeLorean time machine when Christopher Lloyd guest-stars as their grandfather.

9-10PM THE SOPRANOS (HBO, TV-MA) It’s that damn ponytail working its magic once again when Carmela pays another visit to foxy Furio.

10-10:30PM CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO, TV-MA) Larry does something stupid in the first five minutes, and then pays for it for 25 more. At least that’s what usually happens.

10-11PM BOOMTOWN (NBC, TV-14) Stevens and Smith investigate a collision between a big rig and a station wagon. Guess which vehicle won that one.

10:30-11PM THE MIND OF THE MARRIED MAN (HBO, TV-MA) Micky is gung ho for couples therapy. Personally, I’m more into Gung Ho the movie, but to each his own.

10:45PM-12:40AM OPERATION DUMBO DROP (HBO Family, TV-PG) Wanna have some fun? Go up to your loved one and say, ”Hey, honey, how about tonight we make some popcorn and watch Operation Dumbo Drop.” Trust me, the reaction will be worth it, although if he or she breaks up with you, I can’t be held responsible. (Seriously, we have an army of lawyers here ready to back me up.)

11PM-1AM THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (Sci Fi, TV-14-V) Now, we’re not here to encourage alcohol abuse, but a six-pack of Old Milwaukee might be in order if you truly want to appreciate Marlon Brando in this camptastic extravaganza.

7-9PM MR. ST. NICK (ABC, TV-PG) First things first: November 17? A Christmas-themed TV movie on November 17? I suppose it’s only a matter of time before we’re seeing Frosty and Rudolph in April. (Especially with The Santa Clause 2 racking up big numbers on freakin’ November 1.) Which is actually fine if you’re a sucker for yuletide specials like I am. In this one, Kelsey Grammer (above) is the heir to Santa’s throne, but he’s got problems beyond remembering who’s naughty and nice — like seeing eye to eye with his father, the current Claus (Charles Durning), or trying to foil a charity fraud scheme in his name. Of course, the story of a reluctant St. Nick is nothing new, but Grammer is game as Santa’s swinging son, and is surrounded by a jolly supporting cast (most notably Colin Cunningham as a dogged federal agent). And just think, only five and a half weeks to go till the real thing! B

9-10PM INSIDE TV LAND: TABOO TV (TV Land, TV-PG-D) Archie Bunker’s bigotry. Maude’s abortion. NYPD Blue’s parade of bare asses. Each barreled through one or more of television’s accepted limits, and this comprehensive documentary shows how TV progressed from couples sleeping in separate beds to, well, 93 percent of Fox’s broadcast slate. Taboo manages to add fresh nuggets to the usual touchstones (a debate as to whether they could say ”toilet” on the sex-crazy Three’s Company, left) and also offers intriguing sociological insight: In the ’80s, boozing (a staple in ’50s sitcoms) became verboten, hence the idea of setting Cheers in a bar…but making bartender Sam Malone a recovering alcoholic. A- — Josh Wolk

SATURDAY

MONDAY November 11

SYNDICATED* HOLLYWOOD SQUARES (TV-G) Hopefully Paula Abdul’s comedy writer will do a better job than he did for her on American Idol when the straight-up diva guests. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8-8:30PM THE KING OF QUEENS (CBS, TV-PG-L) You know those disposable cameras on tables at every wedding you’ve ever been to? After Doug is through with one, you may never see them again, to which we say — thank you, Doug.

8-9PM KINDRED SPIRITS: A TRIBUTE TO JOHNNY CASH (CMT, TV-PG) Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, and Little Richard pay homage to the man in black. So does Hank Williams Jr., but try not to let that bother you.

8-8:30PM THE PARKERS (UPN, TV-PG) How many times can a former celeb get away with playing himself? A question to ponder as you watch Gary Coleman guest-star on The Parkers. (I guess it beats security guard work.)

9-10:30PM* JIMMY CARTER (PBS, TV-PG) American Experience presents an evenhanded presidential portrait, giving equal time to the Nobel Prize winner’s summits (the Camp David accords) and nadirs (the Iran hostage debacle). It’s all here — the Playboy interview, the killer rabbit, Billy Beer — except one thing: a new interview with Jimbo. Luckily, talks with wife Rosalynn and VP Walter Mondale amount to more than peanuts. (Concludes Nov. 12) A- — Bruce Fretts *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

TUESDAY November 12

8-9PM BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (UPN, TV-PG-V) Dawn receives a visitor from beyond the grave, but we won’t say who. Oh, okay — it’s Joyce.

9-9:30PM LIFE WITH BONNIE (ABC) We can’t think of a better guest for an improv-heavy show than Jonathan Winters. Which works out just swell, since he’s actually appearing here this evening.

9-10PM HAUNTED (UPN, TV-PG-L) We’re assuming Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong has a good reason for guest-starring on Haunted, although then again, we don’t really have a good excuse for writing it up.

9-10PM THE GUARDIAN (CBS, TV-PG-L) CBS’ press release has a big headline that announces ”Episodes Contain Scenes Shot in Pittsburgh.” Not sure why that’s such a big deal…unless you’re from Pittsburgh…and you care.

10-11PM O.J.: A STUDY IN BLACK AND WHITE (HBO, TV-PG) You mean there’s more to say about the Juice? Sure, when it comes to O.J. Simpson’s racial symbolism both pre- and post-murder trial. This HBO Sports-produced news special plays like a college seminar on ”Race, Football, and Hertz Rental Car Commercials,” but there are reasons for the rambling by coaches and academics about Simpson’s evolution from black hero for white America in the ’70s to villain in the ’90s. Deadly important ones. B+ — Caroline Kepnes

WEDNESDAY November 13

8-9PM* SKIN (PBS, TV-G) I guess it’s impressive that this National Geographic special uses ”state-of-the-art computer-generated animation to delve beneath the skin’s surface,” but isn’t looking at what’s under skin…I don’t know, nasty? *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8-9PM ED (NBC, TV-PG) Here we go with another Vessey showing up out of nowhere. Tonight, Carol’s lil’ sis magically appears, which can’t help but remind me of frosted Lucky Charms, noted for being magically delicious. (Sorry, my mind tends to drift toward sugarcoated cereals from time to time.)

9-10PM THE AMAZING RACE 3 (CBS) True, it hasn’t been quite as amazing as the last two seasons, but how great was that diesel fuel mishap? And how annoying are Aaron and Arianne?

9-10:30pm GRASS (Sundance Channel, TV-R) Woody Harrelson feels the need…the need for weed! Okay, that’s not necessarily news, but the hemphead is narrating this documentary ”chronicling the bizarre 100-year history of laws against the use of marijuana.” More bizarre than Money Train?

9-10PM THE BACHELOR (ABC) It’s all about Gwen, people. Unless she got kicked off after press time, in which case it’s probably not that much about her anymore.

10-11PM DIXIE CHICKS REVEALED (E!, TV-PG) I’ve still never listened to the Dixie Chicks. Not dissing, simply stating.

8-10pm THE ALIEN SAGA (AMC, TV-PG-DLV) Hey, fellas, ever wonder why the first Alien movie always has you squirming in your seat? Well, it’s not just the sight of blood and fangs. In this comprehensive docu on the film franchise, cowriter Dan O’Bannon explains his thought process while writing the Alien script: ”I’m gonna put in every image I can think of that I know will make the men in the audience cross their legs. Homosexual, oral rape. Birth…. The whole number.” Ooookay, and thanks for that, Dan. AMC’s retrospective (narrated by John Hurt) appropriately spends most of its time on the Ridley Scott original and the James Cameron sequel and less energy on David Fincher’s third installment (”A big disaster,” in the words of designer H.R. Giger) and the final flick (at least for now), Alien Resurrection (go, Winona!). Along the way, we learn that Ripley was originally supposed to be a male character and that Michael Biehn was ”really hurt” not to be brought back for Alien3. Sorry, Michael, but as you should know, in space, no one can hear you whine. B+

THURSDAY November 14

8-9PM SURVIVOR: THAILAND (CBS) To date, Survivor: Africa has been the weakest link in the franchise, but I gotta tell you, at this point (even with the genius non-merge move), Thailand is gaining on it — fast.

8-8:30PM FRIENDS (NBC, TV-14) Chandler and Joey find a mysterious videotape, which naturally means they both have only seven days to live.

9-11PM BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA (Lifetime, TV-14-LSV) Hey, watch the language! Pottymouth Anjelica Huston directed this 1996 cablepic adaptation. (R)

9-10PM LET’S GET MARRIED (PBS) George W. Bush wants you to get married. And if you already are, then he wants you to stay married! The question is, why has he proposed spending $300 million a year to make it happen? Frontline aims to answer. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

9-11PM MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING (ABC, TV-PG-DL) Sorry, but I’d take Cameron Diaz over Julia Roberts any day. Whether she’d let me take her anywhere is another matter altogether.

9-10PM CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS, TV-PG-LV) Beating someone to death isn’t considered murder when it takes place in a boxing ring, but don’t tell that to Grissom. Seriously, don’t tell him. He’ll kick your ass.

10-11PM ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (TLC, TV-G) This special features interviews with people who claim to have seen the alleged beast. Of course, they also claim to be perfectly sane. (R)

8:30-9PM SCRUBS (NBC, TV-14) Bill Lawrence is no dope. First, the Scrubs creator cast his wife, Christa Miller (who wisely deserted The Drew Carey Show), as Jordan, the hysterically antagonistic ex-wife of Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley). Then he lined up Heather Locklear (above left with McGinley and Miller) for her first sitcom gig since Spin City (which Lawrence cocreated), as Julie, a foxy pharmaceutical saleswoman who’s handed out free samples — if you know what we mean — to almost every doctor in the hospital. Now here’s the beauty part: He’s pitted the two vixens against each other in a good old-fashioned catfight over Cox. So why are you still flipping over to watch Tribal Council? B+ — BF

FRIDAY November 15

8-10PM DOMINICK DUNNE PRESENTS: MURDER IN GREENWICH (USA, TV-14-V) Christopher Meloni plays Mark Fuhrman, who’s hot on the trail of Martha Moxley’s killer. POTSIE ALERT!

8:30-9PM SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH (The WB, TV-PG) The tables are turned when Anson Williams directs old boss and Happy Days creator Garry Marshall (as well as Avril Lavigne) in tonight’s episode.

8-10:30PM PUMPING IRON: 25TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION (Cinemax, TV-PG) If you thought Arnold Schwarzenegger (above) couldn’t do comedy, then you’ve never seen him psych out Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno in Pumping Iron, the ultimate bodybuilding documentary (granted, the field is slim). Cinemax celebrates this 1977 massive musclefest with a digitally enhanced presentation (digitally enhanced deltoids — sweet!) and two docus (on the docu) complete with outtakes and new interviews. Why, even a 140-pound girlyman of a TV critic can appreciate that. A-

SATURDAY November 16

8-8:30PM CHRISTMAS WITH TONY BENNETT — BEHIND THE SCENES (Hallmark Channel, TV-G) As long as he didn’t leave his nutmeg in San Francisco, we’ll pay a visit.

8-9:45PM GIMME SHELTER (IFC, TV-PG) The Rolling Stones have a great idea — throw a massive free concert! The Rolling Stones have a not-so-great idea — have Hell’s Angels work the security! This rockumentary covers the carnage.

9-10:45PM LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (The Movie Channel, TV-PG-13) Angelina Jolie carries around two big guns.

10-11PM THE AGENCY (CBS, TV-PG-L) Tom Arnold guest-stars on the best damn secret agent show not called 24 or Alias, period.

9-11PM HUNTER: RETURN TO JUSTICE (NBC, TV-14) Poor LAPD detective Rick Hunter (Fred Dryer, above) can’t be involved in seven shootings in three years without pesky internal affairs breathing fire, sparking a reunion with sexy partner Dee Dee McCall (Stepfanie Kramer). Meanwhile, Hunter pursues biker assassins and the Russian Mafia while belting out great lines like ”I’m a police officer, and shooting you is just one more thing I’m gonna have to do today.” It’s like he never left the beat. B- — Vanessa Rothschild

SUNDAY November 17

6-8PM ANOTHER STAKEOUT (Showtime, TV-PG-13) At least Estevez loses his cheesy mustache for this one.

7:30-8PM ANATOMY OF A SCENE: FAR FROM HEAVEN (Sundance Channel) Director Todd Haynes, Julianne Moore, and Dennis Quaid dissect a scene from their new movie. You can watch and take notes, or do whatever wannabe filmmakers do when they watch these sorts of things.

8-9PM AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC, TV-PG) JJ fears some of his teammates have been paid to throw the big game. On a somewhat related note, could someone please pay me to watch this show? True, it is my job, but could someone pay me, like, more?

8-8:30PM THE SIMPSONS (Fox, TV-PG-V) Haven’t seen this episode in which Bart and Lisa become classmates yet, but if it’s even half as good as last week’s season premiere, then it’s still the best thing on this evening. The whole week, in fact.

8-9PM* NATURE: BLOODY SUCKERS (PBS, TV-PG) Filmmaker Mark Ferns lets a vampire bat suck his blood for almost 10 minutes, and by all accounts he is not auditioning for a role in the next Jackass movie. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8:30-11:30PM NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT OAKLAND RAIDERS (ESPN) You haven’t laid eyes on truly scary football fans till you’ve taken a trip to Raider Nation. (Although they would certainly look a bit scarier if they weren’t still crying over last year’s controversial play-off loss to the Pats.)

8:30-9PM KING OF THE HILL (Fox, TV-PG-LV) A graffiti artist is taking over the town, not to mention Bobby’s heart.

9-10PM ALIAS (ABC, TV-14-V) Sydney has a chance to save Vaughn, but it could kill Sloane. Of course, Vaughn is about 80 times cuter, so we don’t see what the big dilemma is.

9-10PM ZIP CODE 007 (HGTV, TV-G) Jane Seymour (Solitaire from Live and Let Die) takes us on a tour of homes occupied by Bond babes and bad guys, and you know what that means: all 7 feet 8 inches of Richard Kiel’s bed! Take a number, ladies.

9-9:30PM MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (Fox, TV-PG) We’re assuming Malcolm and his brothers all ask for rides in the bitchin’ DeLorean time machine when Christopher Lloyd guest-stars as their grandfather.

9-10PM THE SOPRANOS (HBO, TV-MA) It’s that damn ponytail working its magic once again when Carmela pays another visit to foxy Furio.

10-10:30PM CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO, TV-MA) Larry does something stupid in the first five minutes, and then pays for it for 25 more. At least that’s what usually happens.

10-11PM BOOMTOWN (NBC, TV-14) Stevens and Smith investigate a collision between a big rig and a station wagon. Guess which vehicle won that one.

10:30-11PM THE MIND OF THE MARRIED MAN (HBO, TV-MA) Micky is gung ho for couples therapy. Personally, I’m more into Gung Ho the movie, but to each his own.

10:45PM-12:40AM OPERATION DUMBO DROP (HBO Family, TV-PG) Wanna have some fun? Go up to your loved one and say, ”Hey, honey, how about tonight we make some popcorn and watch Operation Dumbo Drop.” Trust me, the reaction will be worth it, although if he or she breaks up with you, I can’t be held responsible. (Seriously, we have an army of lawyers here ready to back me up.)

11PM-1AM THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (Sci Fi, TV-14-V) Now, we’re not here to encourage alcohol abuse, but a six-pack of Old Milwaukee might be in order if you truly want to appreciate Marlon Brando in this camptastic extravaganza.

7-9PM MR. ST. NICK (ABC, TV-PG) First things first: November 17? A Christmas-themed TV movie on November 17? I suppose it’s only a matter of time before we’re seeing Frosty and Rudolph in April. (Especially with The Santa Clause 2 racking up big numbers on freakin’ November 1.) Which is actually fine if you’re a sucker for yuletide specials like I am. In this one, Kelsey Grammer (above) is the heir to Santa’s throne, but he’s got problems beyond remembering who’s naughty and nice — like seeing eye to eye with his father, the current Claus (Charles Durning), or trying to foil a charity fraud scheme in his name. Of course, the story of a reluctant St. Nick is nothing new, but Grammer is game as Santa’s swinging son, and is surrounded by a jolly supporting cast (most notably Colin Cunningham as a dogged federal agent). And just think, only five and a half weeks to go till the real thing! B

9-10PM INSIDE TV LAND: TABOO TV (TV Land, TV-PG-D) Archie Bunker’s bigotry. Maude’s abortion. NYPD Blue’s parade of bare asses. Each barreled through one or more of television’s accepted limits, and this comprehensive documentary shows how TV progressed from couples sleeping in separate beds to, well, 93 percent of Fox’s broadcast slate. Taboo manages to add fresh nuggets to the usual touchstones (a debate as to whether they could say ”toilet” on the sex-crazy Three’s Company, left) and also offers intriguing sociological insight: In the ’80s, boozing (a staple in ’50s sitcoms) became verboten, hence the idea of setting Cheers in a bar…but making bartender Sam Malone a recovering alcoholic. A- — Josh Wolk

SUNDAY

MONDAY November 11

SYNDICATED* HOLLYWOOD SQUARES (TV-G) Hopefully Paula Abdul’s comedy writer will do a better job than he did for her on American Idol when the straight-up diva guests. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8-8:30PM THE KING OF QUEENS (CBS, TV-PG-L) You know those disposable cameras on tables at every wedding you’ve ever been to? After Doug is through with one, you may never see them again, to which we say — thank you, Doug.

8-9PM KINDRED SPIRITS: A TRIBUTE TO JOHNNY CASH (CMT, TV-PG) Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, and Little Richard pay homage to the man in black. So does Hank Williams Jr., but try not to let that bother you.

8-8:30PM THE PARKERS (UPN, TV-PG) How many times can a former celeb get away with playing himself? A question to ponder as you watch Gary Coleman guest-star on The Parkers. (I guess it beats security guard work.)

9-10:30PM* JIMMY CARTER (PBS, TV-PG) American Experience presents an evenhanded presidential portrait, giving equal time to the Nobel Prize winner’s summits (the Camp David accords) and nadirs (the Iran hostage debacle). It’s all here — the Playboy interview, the killer rabbit, Billy Beer — except one thing: a new interview with Jimbo. Luckily, talks with wife Rosalynn and VP Walter Mondale amount to more than peanuts. (Concludes Nov. 12) A- — Bruce Fretts *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

TUESDAY November 12

8-9PM BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (UPN, TV-PG-V) Dawn receives a visitor from beyond the grave, but we won’t say who. Oh, okay — it’s Joyce.

9-9:30PM LIFE WITH BONNIE (ABC) We can’t think of a better guest for an improv-heavy show than Jonathan Winters. Which works out just swell, since he’s actually appearing here this evening.

9-10PM HAUNTED (UPN, TV-PG-L) We’re assuming Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong has a good reason for guest-starring on Haunted, although then again, we don’t really have a good excuse for writing it up.

9-10PM THE GUARDIAN (CBS, TV-PG-L) CBS’ press release has a big headline that announces ”Episodes Contain Scenes Shot in Pittsburgh.” Not sure why that’s such a big deal…unless you’re from Pittsburgh…and you care.

10-11PM O.J.: A STUDY IN BLACK AND WHITE (HBO, TV-PG) You mean there’s more to say about the Juice? Sure, when it comes to O.J. Simpson’s racial symbolism both pre- and post-murder trial. This HBO Sports-produced news special plays like a college seminar on ”Race, Football, and Hertz Rental Car Commercials,” but there are reasons for the rambling by coaches and academics about Simpson’s evolution from black hero for white America in the ’70s to villain in the ’90s. Deadly important ones. B+ — Caroline Kepnes

WEDNESDAY November 13

8-9PM* SKIN (PBS, TV-G) I guess it’s impressive that this National Geographic special uses ”state-of-the-art computer-generated animation to delve beneath the skin’s surface,” but isn’t looking at what’s under skin…I don’t know, nasty? *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8-9PM ED (NBC, TV-PG) Here we go with another Vessey showing up out of nowhere. Tonight, Carol’s lil’ sis magically appears, which can’t help but remind me of frosted Lucky Charms, noted for being magically delicious. (Sorry, my mind tends to drift toward sugarcoated cereals from time to time.)

9-10PM THE AMAZING RACE 3 (CBS) True, it hasn’t been quite as amazing as the last two seasons, but how great was that diesel fuel mishap? And how annoying are Aaron and Arianne?

9-10:30pm GRASS (Sundance Channel, TV-R) Woody Harrelson feels the need…the need for weed! Okay, that’s not necessarily news, but the hemphead is narrating this documentary ”chronicling the bizarre 100-year history of laws against the use of marijuana.” More bizarre than Money Train?

9-10PM THE BACHELOR (ABC) It’s all about Gwen, people. Unless she got kicked off after press time, in which case it’s probably not that much about her anymore.

10-11PM DIXIE CHICKS REVEALED (E!, TV-PG) I’ve still never listened to the Dixie Chicks. Not dissing, simply stating.

8-10pm THE ALIEN SAGA (AMC, TV-PG-DLV) Hey, fellas, ever wonder why the first Alien movie always has you squirming in your seat? Well, it’s not just the sight of blood and fangs. In this comprehensive docu on the film franchise, cowriter Dan O’Bannon explains his thought process while writing the Alien script: ”I’m gonna put in every image I can think of that I know will make the men in the audience cross their legs. Homosexual, oral rape. Birth…. The whole number.” Ooookay, and thanks for that, Dan. AMC’s retrospective (narrated by John Hurt) appropriately spends most of its time on the Ridley Scott original and the James Cameron sequel and less energy on David Fincher’s third installment (”A big disaster,” in the words of designer H.R. Giger) and the final flick (at least for now), Alien Resurrection (go, Winona!). Along the way, we learn that Ripley was originally supposed to be a male character and that Michael Biehn was ”really hurt” not to be brought back for Alien3. Sorry, Michael, but as you should know, in space, no one can hear you whine. B+

THURSDAY November 14

8-9PM SURVIVOR: THAILAND (CBS) To date, Survivor: Africa has been the weakest link in the franchise, but I gotta tell you, at this point (even with the genius non-merge move), Thailand is gaining on it — fast.

8-8:30PM FRIENDS (NBC, TV-14) Chandler and Joey find a mysterious videotape, which naturally means they both have only seven days to live.

9-11PM BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA (Lifetime, TV-14-LSV) Hey, watch the language! Pottymouth Anjelica Huston directed this 1996 cablepic adaptation. (R)

9-10PM LET’S GET MARRIED (PBS) George W. Bush wants you to get married. And if you already are, then he wants you to stay married! The question is, why has he proposed spending $300 million a year to make it happen? Frontline aims to answer. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

9-11PM MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING (ABC, TV-PG-DL) Sorry, but I’d take Cameron Diaz over Julia Roberts any day. Whether she’d let me take her anywhere is another matter altogether.

9-10PM CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS, TV-PG-LV) Beating someone to death isn’t considered murder when it takes place in a boxing ring, but don’t tell that to Grissom. Seriously, don’t tell him. He’ll kick your ass.

10-11PM ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (TLC, TV-G) This special features interviews with people who claim to have seen the alleged beast. Of course, they also claim to be perfectly sane. (R)

8:30-9PM SCRUBS (NBC, TV-14) Bill Lawrence is no dope. First, the Scrubs creator cast his wife, Christa Miller (who wisely deserted The Drew Carey Show), as Jordan, the hysterically antagonistic ex-wife of Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley). Then he lined up Heather Locklear (above left with McGinley and Miller) for her first sitcom gig since Spin City (which Lawrence cocreated), as Julie, a foxy pharmaceutical saleswoman who’s handed out free samples — if you know what we mean — to almost every doctor in the hospital. Now here’s the beauty part: He’s pitted the two vixens against each other in a good old-fashioned catfight over Cox. So why are you still flipping over to watch Tribal Council? B+ — BF

FRIDAY November 15

8-10PM DOMINICK DUNNE PRESENTS: MURDER IN GREENWICH (USA, TV-14-V) Christopher Meloni plays Mark Fuhrman, who’s hot on the trail of Martha Moxley’s killer. POTSIE ALERT!

8:30-9PM SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH (The WB, TV-PG) The tables are turned when Anson Williams directs old boss and Happy Days creator Garry Marshall (as well as Avril Lavigne) in tonight’s episode.

8-10:30PM PUMPING IRON: 25TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION (Cinemax, TV-PG) If you thought Arnold Schwarzenegger (above) couldn’t do comedy, then you’ve never seen him psych out Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno in Pumping Iron, the ultimate bodybuilding documentary (granted, the field is slim). Cinemax celebrates this 1977 massive musclefest with a digitally enhanced presentation (digitally enhanced deltoids — sweet!) and two docus (on the docu) complete with outtakes and new interviews. Why, even a 140-pound girlyman of a TV critic can appreciate that. A-

SATURDAY November 16

8-8:30PM CHRISTMAS WITH TONY BENNETT — BEHIND THE SCENES (Hallmark Channel, TV-G) As long as he didn’t leave his nutmeg in San Francisco, we’ll pay a visit.

8-9:45PM GIMME SHELTER (IFC, TV-PG) The Rolling Stones have a great idea — throw a massive free concert! The Rolling Stones have a not-so-great idea — have Hell’s Angels work the security! This rockumentary covers the carnage.

9-10:45PM LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (The Movie Channel, TV-PG-13) Angelina Jolie carries around two big guns.

10-11PM THE AGENCY (CBS, TV-PG-L) Tom Arnold guest-stars on the best damn secret agent show not called 24 or Alias, period.

9-11PM HUNTER: RETURN TO JUSTICE (NBC, TV-14) Poor LAPD detective Rick Hunter (Fred Dryer, above) can’t be involved in seven shootings in three years without pesky internal affairs breathing fire, sparking a reunion with sexy partner Dee Dee McCall (Stepfanie Kramer). Meanwhile, Hunter pursues biker assassins and the Russian Mafia while belting out great lines like ”I’m a police officer, and shooting you is just one more thing I’m gonna have to do today.” It’s like he never left the beat. B- — Vanessa Rothschild

SUNDAY November 17

6-8PM ANOTHER STAKEOUT (Showtime, TV-PG-13) At least Estevez loses his cheesy mustache for this one.

7:30-8PM ANATOMY OF A SCENE: FAR FROM HEAVEN (Sundance Channel) Director Todd Haynes, Julianne Moore, and Dennis Quaid dissect a scene from their new movie. You can watch and take notes, or do whatever wannabe filmmakers do when they watch these sorts of things.

8-9PM AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC, TV-PG) JJ fears some of his teammates have been paid to throw the big game. On a somewhat related note, could someone please pay me to watch this show? True, it is my job, but could someone pay me, like, more?

8-8:30PM THE SIMPSONS (Fox, TV-PG-V) Haven’t seen this episode in which Bart and Lisa become classmates yet, but if it’s even half as good as last week’s season premiere, then it’s still the best thing on this evening. The whole week, in fact.

8-9PM* NATURE: BLOODY SUCKERS (PBS, TV-PG) Filmmaker Mark Ferns lets a vampire bat suck his blood for almost 10 minutes, and by all accounts he is not auditioning for a role in the next Jackass movie. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

8:30-11:30PM NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT OAKLAND RAIDERS (ESPN) You haven’t laid eyes on truly scary football fans till you’ve taken a trip to Raider Nation. (Although they would certainly look a bit scarier if they weren’t still crying over last year’s controversial play-off loss to the Pats.)

8:30-9PM KING OF THE HILL (Fox, TV-PG-LV) A graffiti artist is taking over the town, not to mention Bobby’s heart.

9-10PM ALIAS (ABC, TV-14-V) Sydney has a chance to save Vaughn, but it could kill Sloane. Of course, Vaughn is about 80 times cuter, so we don’t see what the big dilemma is.

9-10PM ZIP CODE 007 (HGTV, TV-G) Jane Seymour (Solitaire from Live and Let Die) takes us on a tour of homes occupied by Bond babes and bad guys, and you know what that means: all 7 feet 8 inches of Richard Kiel’s bed! Take a number, ladies.

9-9:30PM MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (Fox, TV-PG) We’re assuming Malcolm and his brothers all ask for rides in the bitchin’ DeLorean time machine when Christopher Lloyd guest-stars as their grandfather.

9-10PM THE SOPRANOS (HBO, TV-MA) It’s that damn ponytail working its magic once again when Carmela pays another visit to foxy Furio.

10-10:30PM CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO, TV-MA) Larry does something stupid in the first five minutes, and then pays for it for 25 more. At least that’s what usually happens.

10-11PM BOOMTOWN (NBC, TV-14) Stevens and Smith investigate a collision between a big rig and a station wagon. Guess which vehicle won that one.

10:30-11PM THE MIND OF THE MARRIED MAN (HBO, TV-MA) Micky is gung ho for couples therapy. Personally, I’m more into Gung Ho the movie, but to each his own.

10:45PM-12:40AM OPERATION DUMBO DROP (HBO Family, TV-PG) Wanna have some fun? Go up to your loved one and say, ”Hey, honey, how about tonight we make some popcorn and watch Operation Dumbo Drop.” Trust me, the reaction will be worth it, although if he or she breaks up with you, I can’t be held responsible. (Seriously, we have an army of lawyers here ready to back me up.)

11PM-1AM THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (Sci Fi, TV-14-V) Now, we’re not here to encourage alcohol abuse, but a six-pack of Old Milwaukee might be in order if you truly want to appreciate Marlon Brando in this camptastic extravaganza.

7-9PM MR. ST. NICK (ABC, TV-PG) First things first: November 17? A Christmas-themed TV movie on November 17? I suppose it’s only a matter of time before we’re seeing Frosty and Rudolph in April. (Especially with The Santa Clause 2 racking up big numbers on freakin’ November 1.) Which is actually fine if you’re a sucker for yuletide specials like I am. In this one, Kelsey Grammer (above) is the heir to Santa’s throne, but he’s got problems beyond remembering who’s naughty and nice — like seeing eye to eye with his father, the current Claus (Charles Durning), or trying to foil a charity fraud scheme in his name. Of course, the story of a reluctant St. Nick is nothing new, but Grammer is game as Santa’s swinging son, and is surrounded by a jolly supporting cast (most notably Colin Cunningham as a dogged federal agent). And just think, only five and a half weeks to go till the real thing! B

9-10PM INSIDE TV LAND: TABOO TV (TV Land, TV-PG-D) Archie Bunker’s bigotry. Maude’s abortion. NYPD Blue’s parade of bare asses. Each barreled through one or more of television’s accepted limits, and this comprehensive documentary shows how TV progressed from couples sleeping in separate beds to, well, 93 percent of Fox’s broadcast slate. Taboo manages to add fresh nuggets to the usual touchstones (a debate as to whether they could say ”toilet” on the sex-crazy Three’s Company, left) and also offers intriguing sociological insight: In the ’80s, boozing (a staple in ’50s sitcoms) became verboten, hence the idea of setting Cheers in a bar…but making bartender Sam Malone a recovering alcoholic. A- — Josh Wolk

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