Originally created 07/30/01

TV highlights for the week



Ah, yes. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing on Aug. 1, 1981. I was watching the very first broadcast of the very first all-music channel - MTV - with awe and wonder while my manservant, Xavier, wearing goggles and wielding wire cutters, tended to the royal toenails.

It's hard to believe that MTV is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Why, it seems like just yesterday that Madonna felt "Like a Virgin" and Michael Jackson looked like a human.

Of course, they won't let it pass without a major party.

It all begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday on, duh, MTV, with a 12-hour marathon of videos from the past 20 years - and that means everyone from Def Leppard and Duran Duran to Janet Jackson and Eminemenem, uh, M&M, er, whatever.

And the celebrating continues into the night with a major bash-o-rama called "Live and Almost Legal" at 10 p.m. The three-hour performance menu includes Jane's Addiction, Sugar Ray, Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes, Bon Jovi, Run DMC, Billy Idol, Aerosmith, Depeche Mode, Blink 182, T.L.C., Nelly, Mary J. Blige and others.

Also on hand, recalling the influence of the cable network's first two decades, are its five original VJs - J.J. Jackson, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn, Nina Blackwood and Alan Hunter - as well as those nutty animated knobs Beavis and Butt-head. (Heh-heh, she said Butt-head, heh-heh.)

Of course the host for the event is the most recent and arguably most successful VJ of them all, Carson Daly, who will also conduct interviews of the famous throughout the night.

Oh! I'm exhausted just talking about it. Now, where is that toady?

"Xavier! Manservant! You know I want to watch the marathon and recreate down to the last detail what we were doing when MTV premiered. Stop yer grinnin' and start yer trimmin'."

"I can't find my goggles, Oh She-Devil of So Little Patience."

"Well, here's some plastic wrap, Senor Useless. A couple trips around your noggin with this stuff and those sharp projectiles will pop right off your eyeballs."

"Um, thank you?"

"Anytime you sad, sad little man."

I love my ... I love my ... I love my MTV.

SUNDAY

"Law & Order Marathon" (begins at 8 p.m., A&E) Repeats of this popular drama already air on NBC, USA and A&E. Yet it is not enough. It's ... just ... not ... ENOUGH! Well, here is eight hours of crime and punishment - oh dear - you insatiable little law monkeys. Oh! I think I love you.

"Leap Years" (10 p.m., Showtime) Hey, a new series about a bunch of friends - all self-centered, sexually promiscuous jerks - whose dysfunctional lives are chronicled in a format that leaps back and forth between 1993, 2001 and 2008. Thus the idiotic title. They're all beautiful people (especially Bruno "Woof" Campos) but there's not one of them that's worth caring about. They're all annoying, the script is pretentious, the acting is wooden and the sex scenes are sleazy. OK, except for the sleazy sex scenes, it's not worth a second look. Who else is in it? Who cares?

MONDAY

"Biography: Planet of the Apes Week" (8 and 11 p.m. Monday-Friday, A&E) Yup. This channel is really going ape about the big Tim Burton flick opening this week starring Mark "Stop Calling Me Marky Mark!" Wahlberg. First up on Monday is a profile of big Chuck "It's A Maaadhouse!" Heston, who starred in the 1968 classic and has a cameo in Burton's remake. On Tuesday take a trip into the kooky mind of director Burton. Kris Kristofferson, who's in the new film, is the focus on Wednesday. Then on Thursday it's a profile of Helena Bonham Carter, who plays a sexy chimp with the hots for Wahlburg. Eeeyew. And finally on Friday it's my favorite: a look at the life of the late Roddy McDowall, Heston's co-star in the original flick. What the ...? No profile of Wahlberg, the star of the film? I'm appalled! Nah, just kidding. I don't care. Enjoy.

"Golf: Battle at Bighorn" (7 p.m., ABC) Tiger "Cha-ching!" Woods fans are gonna flip. It's primetime coverage of the $1.7 million team match-play event in Palm Desert, Calif. Woods is paired with Annika Sorenstam and they go up against Karrie Webb and David Duval. Thought you should know.

TUESDAY

"Witchblade" (9 and 11 p.m., TNT) Last week Sara (Yancy Butler) spent the entire hour strapped to her bed by the Witchblade's time-hopping, spiny tentacles while being spiritually invaded by former Witchblade wearers like Joan of Arc. OK. Welcome to Chez Kinky. This week she's back doing actual police work with her partner, Jake (David Chokachi), and they're on the tail of an arms dealer. But their surveillance takes a startling turn when their suspect is shot and evidence links Sara and Irons (Anthony Cistaro) to the crime. Geez. Somebody tell a joke or something before her head explodes.

WEDNESDAY

"State of the Planet with David Attenborough" (8 p.m., The Discovery Channel) This new series looks into the extent of the damage we stupid humans have done to Mother Earth and the consequences that will soon take a hunk out of our overfed, narcissistic buns. Man. If you have kids, sit 'em down and watch it together. I could make a joke, but the fact is, we're killing ourselves and if we don't snap, it won't just be the lions and tigers and bears that become extinct. Oh, my.

THURSDAY

"Electra Glide in Blue" (8 p.m., Showtime) Robert "I'll Be Right Back, Hon" Blake stars in this rather violent 1973 drama as a motorcycle cop whose investigation of a murder puts his life at risk. Blake is actually quite good and there are some fab action sequences. Plus, it's shown in letterbox so you can see just how short he really is.

"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (9 p.m., CBS) It's a repeat of one of the creepiest episodes of this crime drama. Grissom (William Petersen) and his forensic gang investigate the vicious murder of a jogger who was robbed of his organs. Who did it? A heinous fiend, of course. The nasty conclusion will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

FRIDAY

"World of National Geographic" (10 p.m., PBS) Cinematographer Hugh Miles lived in the wilderness of southern Chile for two years to track the "Puma: Lion of the Andes." Now, everybody knows that pumas can be vicious and cunning and rude, especially when they've been drinking. But these pumas, who originally lived in Texas, moved to the Andes specifically to get away from Hugh and avoid trouble. But the man cannot take a hint. In the end, the pumas realized that if they stopped dodging Hugh, he'd make his little doc and go away. If pumas had thumbs, my friends, we'd be in big trouble.

(M.J. Wilde writes for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can e-mail her at tvqueen@abqtrib.com.)