Originally created 10/13/03

TV Lookout: highlights (and lowlights) for the week

All TV shows should be so thrifty!

"Second Hand Stories" follows a pair of garage-sale scavengers cross-country - guys who pay for their odyssey by reselling some of their accumulated wares!

But in this charming pilot for a possible PBS series, Christopher Wilcha and John Freyer are out for more than gathering loot at bargain-basement prices. They aim to discover America through discarded Americana.

Setting out from New Jersey in a 1978 ambulance they bought for $2,500 on eBay, the two relic hunters visit every second-hand outlet they can find, from thrift stores and garage sales to military auctions and university surplus centers.

To properly capture their second-hand experience, they document their journey with a range of vintage cameras they find along the way. They spice the soundtrack with music from old records they have bought for a song.

Described as "equal parts video travelogue and pop-culture archaeological expedition," the program reveals the passions and obsessions of Americans by taking a closer look at the second-hand stuff they buy, sell and collect - and by saluting how it accumulates meaning along the way.

"Second Hand Stories" airs 9:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday (check local listings).

- A new series called "Find!" taps a similar theme: discovering overlooked treasures. But in this case, the treasures are brought to light by Leigh and Leslie Keno of "Antiques Roadshow" as they visit owners' homes around the country, scanning dens and bedrooms and plundering attics to evaluate the (sometimes) precious stuff. This PBS series, which celebrates design, style, antiques and furnishings, consists of 26 half-hour episodes. It premieres 10:30 p.m. Monday (check local listings).

The rest of this week's shows to look out for all happen to air Sunday at 9 p.m. Crank up the TiVo!

- On BBC America, "The Office" is back in business for a second season. A quiet rage among viewers who saw Season One, this British comedy features the most gratingly obnoxious and unwittingly foolish hero imaginable. He's David Brent (played by series co-creator Ricky Gervais), a middle manager at a suburban London paper supply company, who lords over yet yearns for approval from his office of wage slaves. In this mockumentary, David proves to be an original, even as he visits stabs of painful recognition on the viewer. Everyone knows someone like David, which makes "The Office" as familiar as it is funny.

- On CBS, Candice Bergen stars in "Footsteps," a dramatic thriller based on a work by Ira Levin ("Rosemary's Baby," "The Stepford Wives"). Bergen plays Daisy Lowendahl, a best-selling suspense novelist caught in the middle of a real-life drama when two men (Bryan Brown and Bug Hall) appear at her isolated beach house. One of the men may be trying to kill her, while the other could save her life. And only her husband (Michael Murphy), who's away for the night, knows her location - if only she can reach him!

- On Comedy Central, "Windy City Heat" is a movie-within-a-movie that pulls a practical joke on its "star," Perry Caravello. Perry's friends and co-stars, Don Barris and Tony Barbieri, have been promising him a starring vehicle for years. Now, hidden and "documentary" cameras record Perry's every move as he wins the lead role in a feature film called "Windy City Heat." What Perry doesn't realize is that there IS no feature film called "Windy City Heat." Every actor, every crew member, every producer is in cahoots to fool the fame-hungry star of a nonexistent film. That's what the REAL film (directed by Bobcat Goldthwait) is about.

- Finally, Home & Garden Television answers a question few have ever thought to ask: What do rock stars like Jefferson Starship's Grace Slick and Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees grow in their gardens? "Rock Gardens" is a one-hour special (with Michelle Phillips as host) that digs into musicians' horticultural side. Other artists include Chaka Khan, Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish, and John Oates of Hall and Oates.


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