Originally created 04/30/01

TV highlights for the week



Ah, to be beloved. Sadly, there are only a few of us lucky enough to experience it.

First, of course, there's me. (Duh.) Then there's Johnny Carson, who's beloved even though he's pretty much ditched us all in favor of a private life. What's that about? Then there's the most beloved of us all - Julie Andrews.

And here she is at 65 - along with her co-star from "The Sound of Music," 73-year-old Christopher Plummer - about to risk everything with a live performance of the Ernest Thompson play "On Golden Pond" at 9 p.m. Sunday on CBS.

Yes, it's the play that, in 1981, was turned into an award-winning flick starring Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda. The film - about a bickering, but loving, elderly couple who spend a summer re-evaluating their lives and the lives of their dysfunctional family - is a weepy one in which Hepburn set an emotional chin-jiggling record and Fonda gave one of his best performances. (Don't be bummed, but he died soon after winning the Oscar.)

In interviews with Andrews and Plummer, they've promised to do their best not to turn into Hepburn and Fonda. They also hope to give a slightly darker interpretation of the drama and include more hints at the couple's continued hot jungle passion for each other.

I'm OK with that. Other players puttin' it on the line for this live broadcast include Glenne Headly, Sam Robards and Will Rothhaar.

Whoa. Live theater on TV. Anything can happen. Giggle. Oh, I'm nervous already. And if I'm nervous, you can bet our beloved Julie Andrews is probably already on a Pepto-BismolGatorade I.V. pump.

Julie, just remember: we who are beloved share your pain.

Oh look! There's more. The Tube of Life demands your zombielike worship. But, you know, in a good way.

Sunday:

"The X-Files" (9 p.m., Fox) So, where would one try out that nasty alien goober black-oil virus? Hmmmm. Got it. An oil rig. Yes. An oil rig out in the middle of the ocean. That way no one can escape. Heh-heh. Maybe Mulder and Doggett (David Duchovny, Robert Patrick) shouldn't have gone out there to investigate. Yaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

"Twilight: Los Angeles" (9 p.m., PBS) Anna Deavere Smith's powerful one-womanmulti-voiced theater piece about the 1991 Rodney King beating and the violent aftermath of the 1992 verdict, is full of wit and rage as it explores the lasting impact of the L.A. riots on America's conscience. Smith dances from character to character as easily as others breathe and creates an unflinching drama you'll not soon forget.

Monday:

"Ally McBeal" (9 p.m., Fox) Sting. Stang. Stung. The Stingmeister is a guest star in this kooky episode in which one of his fans has a bad case of Stingitus, causing the enamored woman's hubby to sue the rocker for breaking up his marriage. Ouch. Also, Sting-a-ling-a-ding-dong and Larry (Robert "What Drugs, Officer?" Downey Jr.) serenade a bummed-out Ally (Calista Flockhart) at her birthday bash. Yeah, that soooo could happen in real life, I'm sure. I really hate Ally McBeal.

Tuesday:

"Dark Angel" (9 p.m., Fox) The series gets a much-needed injection of humor in this episode in which a superhero wannabe (Rainn Wilson) does everything he can to get into Max's (Jessica Alba) way as she scours the city's underbelly for a killer who's whacking ex-cons. See, I'd never make a good superhero 'cause I'm pretty sure I'd leave the city's underbelly unscoured. Eeeyew.

"It Conquered Hollywood" (10 p.m., American Movie Classics) What a country! Where else could two clueless knobs create an empire making trashy flicks? This is the story of the freewheeling studio - American International Pictures - that dared to target teens with their low-budget flicks. Beauties like "I Was a Teenage Werewolf," "Reform School Girl," "Beach Blanket Bingo" and "The Trip" flowed out of AIP like cheap wine while the bucks poured in. A fun little documentary.

Wednesday:

"Drew Carey" (9 p.m., ABC) I'm shocked and saddened by this horrid turn of events. This episode finds Drew competing with a formidable - and rich! - cousin of Mimi's for the guardianship of his young nephew, Gus. Who's playing the rich cousin? Brace yourself. It's Kathie Lee Gifford. When my head explodes, please, tell my parents - love them.

"Once and Again" (10 p.m., ABC) Lily and Rick (Sela Ward, Billy "Woof" Campbell) are finally headed down the aisle - despite second thoughts, fear of failure, financial ruin and appearances by Lily's dead daddy (Paul Mazursky). All red flags they completely ignore. Ain't love grand?

Thursday:

"Survivor: The Australian Outback" and "Survivor: The Outback Reunion" (8 and 10 p.m., CBS) Finally! That awful sucking sound you hear is the final episode of this show removing what little brains you might have after voluntarily submitting yourself to weeks of gray-cell destruction. After you see what lying, scheming, backstabbing player wins all the cash, all the contestants get together and look back on their "wonderful" adventure. That tear in your eye is real.

Friday:

"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (10 p.m., NBC) Whoa. This one rates a 9.9 on the Creep-O-Meter. Margot Kidder and Chad Lowe - both of whom are kinda creepy to begin with - star as a wealthy mother and son who are questioned in the murder of a pregnant woman. But the more the cops (Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni) interrogate them, the more it seems that the two have an, um, Oedipal-type relationship. It is icky. So very, very icky. Yet I cannot turn away.