MONDAY January 8
SEASON PREMIERE 8-9PM FIRST WAVE (Sci Fi, TV-14-V) Traci Lords packs heat, joining the cast as a… oh, who cares what she’s joining as?
8-9PM AMERICA’S MOST SECRET AGENCY (History Channel, TV-G) ”History’s Mysteries” profiles the supersecret National Security Agency. You can watch, but then they’ll have to kill you.
SERIES DEBUT 9-9:30PM MARIO EATS ITALY (Food Network, TV-G) Well that sounds a bit excessive, now doesn’t it?
10-11PM FAMILY LAW (CBS, TV-14) Roe v. Wade is back in full debate mode when Danni defends a woman accused of murdering her unborn baby via constant drinking.
11:35PM-12:05AM NIGHTLINE: THE CLINTON YEARS (ABC) Chances are slim that Ted Koppel will use this Clinton presidency profile as an opportunity to mock the lame ducker for once losing New Hampshire to Paul Tsongas. (Concludes Jan. 12)
OH, THIS OLD THING? 8-11PM AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS (ABC) As tonight’s cohost (along with LL Cool J), Britney Spears will hopefully opt to keep her clothes on for once. Now, during her performance of ”Stronger,” well, that’s a whole other story. <! – lead – >
TUESDAY January 9
8-9PM BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (The WB, TV-PG-LSV) Bored at the magic shop, Willow goes and conjures up a troll.
SERIES DEBUT 8-9PM THE MOLE (ABC, TV-PG) A group of people try to accomplish various tasks while being undermined by one of their own. In other words, it’s just like your job.
SEASON PREMIERE 10-11PM NYPD BLUE (ABC, TV-14-LSV) The precinct deals with the fallout from the mess with Kirkendall’s ex, while Danny and Diane do the whole awkward crush on a coworker thing.
10-11PM BOOM! HOLLYWOOD’S GREATEST DISASTER MOVIES (AMC, TV-PG) What, no ”Joe Versus the Volcano”?
SERIES DEBUT 9:30-10PM THREE SISTERS (NBC, TV-PG) Cocreators Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline have worked on ”Ellen,” ”Roseanne,” and ”Murphy Brown,” so it’s odd that ”Three Sisters”’ obsessive jokes about dieting and lack of sex seem so woman hating. And what’s with Vicki Lewis’ voice here? The ”NewsRadio” star (left in glasses with A.J. Langer and Katherine LaNasa) sounds like she’s doing a bad Tallulah Bankhead – or maybe, more likely, this sister’s just bored. D- – Ken Tucker <! – lead – >
WEDNESDAY January 10
SERIES DEBUT 9-10PM TEMPTATION ISLAND (Fox, TV-14-D) The concept behind this new reality show – having four couples enticed by hot to trot singles in the Caribbean – is completely without any redeeming social value… and we are so psyched!
SEASON PREMIERE 9-10PM JACK & JILL (The WB, TV-14-DL) Jack stops breathing right smack dab in the middle of a wedding reception. Now, if the whole series would just follow suit…
10-11PM ONCE AND AGAIN (ABC, TV-PG-LS) Is she or isn’t she? Lily and Rick sweat out the results of a home pregnancy test, while Eli gets into a bottle of hair dye.
SERIES DEBUT 8:30-9PM GROUNDED FOR LIFE (Fox, TV-PG-DS) Donal Logue (”The Tao of Steve,” near left) is trapped in a standard issue loud Fox family sitcom. As the father of three unruly children, with a grumpy wife (Megyn Price, left of center) whom we’re supposed to believe the kids’ friends lust after, Logue looks as if he was eyeing the studio exit door during taping. (Note: Upped a notch for using HBO’s ”Oz” as a punchline.) D+ – Ken Tucker <! – lead – >
THURSDAY January 11
8-9PM BIOGRAPHY: IVANA TRUMP (A&E, TV-G) Has the ”Biography” well really run that dry?
9-10PM BEHIND CLOSED DOORS WITH JOAN LUNDEN (A&E, TV-PG) Joan goes into the world’s largest maximum security women’s lockup, and gets up close and personal with a lady convicted of injecting someone with a syringe full of battery acid. Well, not that up close.
SERIES DEBUT 9:30-10:30PM ATTACHMENTS (BBC America, TV-MA) It’s a show about ”a gang of sexy dotcom twentysomethings.” But apparently, these ones all still have jobs.
10-11PM ALL ACCESS: HOW FAR IS TOO FAR? (VH1, TV-PG) Today’s music videos are so steamy, even Tawny Kitaen is offended!
SERIES DEBUT 9:30-10PM GARY & MIKE (UPN, TV-PG) It’s funny, we were just talking about how there haven’t been enough prime time animation offerings the past couple o’ years. And now we’re hit with yet another entry, this one about a pair of traveling troublemakers. While suffering somewhat from the same problem that plagued countless network cartoons like ”Clerks” and ”Sammy” (jokes that are a little too obvious and purposefully irreverent), at least the claymation style brings back fond memories of ”Chicken Run.” C+ <! – lead – >
FRIDAY January 12
7-8:35PM ZENON: THE ZEQUEL (Disney Channel, TV-G) What with their ray guns and mind control powers, it’s a wonder that a group of aliens could actually end up homeless, but at least they have Zenon to help them in this Disney movie sequel.
9-10:30PM* FREEDOM NEVER DIES: THE LEGACY OF HARRY T. MOORE (PBS, TV-G) The family that narrates together stays together, as husband and wife team Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee tell the tale of the first civil rights activist to be assassinated. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS
10-10:30PM CASINO DIARIES (Discovery Channel, TV-PG) Meet Steve Cyr. He gets paid big bucks for persuading rich people to gamble away their millions on games they can’t possibly win. And, yes, he does sleep at night.
SERIES DEBUT 9-10PM POPSTARS (The WB, TV-PG) Emote, damn you! Those are the marching orders for thousands of wannabes in this WB reality series tracking the creation of a brand new girl group. (Think a female version of ”Making the Band,” but without that creepy Lou Pearlman fella.) Unfortunately, it’s hard to maintain much sanity during the seemingly endless tryouts, especially after sitting through approximately 20 third rate versions of ”I Will Always Love You” (complete with hyperactive hand gestures). And hey, we dig televised self humiliation, but showing a montage of talentless losers put to the sounds of En Vogue’s ”My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)?” Well, that’s just plain cold. C+ <! – lead – >
SATURDAY January 13
SYNDICATED* RELIC HUNTER (TV-PG) Sydney scores a technical adviser role on a movie, but that doesn’t give her license to go and mess with all the props. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS
4-11PM FREAKS AND GEEKS MARATHON (Fox Family, TV-PG-L) Now’s the time to bust out that secret stash of Reggie candy bars and Buckner and Garcia albums as Fox Family goes seven hours strong with our favorite early ’80s era series.
9-11PM MIDSOMER MURDERS: JUDGEMENT DAY (A&E, TV-PG) Inspectors Barnaby and Troy find a dead body. (The pitchfork protruding from the chest was their first tip off.)
LACY LAWLESS SYNDICATED* QUEEN OF SWORDS (TV-PG) What’s hotter than a raven haired swashbuckler in a tight bodice? How about two? Ex Miss USA and alleged ”Friend of Bill” Elizabeth Gracen guests as a cold blooded bandit who impersonates the titular masked heroine (Tessie Santiago, left). When these babes cross sabers, it brings new meaning to the term girl - girl action. B – Bruce Fretts *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS <! – lead – >
SUNDAY January 14
SERIES FINALE 7-7:30PM THE JAMIE FOXX SHOW (The WB, TV-PG-DL) Marilyn McCoo – evidently getting a little lost on her way to the ”Solid Gold” reunion – sings at Jamie and Fancy’s wedding.
SERIES DEBUT 7-7:30PM TAINA (Nickelodeon, TV-Y) Help! Lisa Lisa has lost her Cult Jam! But not to fear, in this show she’s picked up a singing and dancing sensation of a 15 year old daughter to make up for it.
8:30-11PM TOMORROW NEVER DIES (CBS, TV-14-DSV) 007 gets orders to take out Jonathan Pryce – for his part in those annoying Infiniti car ads, no doubt.
9-10PM* BRAMWELL, SERIES VI (PBS, TV-PG) Jemma Redgrave returns as Dr. Eleanor Bramwell in the ”Masterpiece Theatre” Victorian era drama, and this time she’s taking on her former fiance. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS
9-11PM INSIDE THE KILL BOX: FIGHTING THE GULF WAR (Discovery Channel) Ah, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Among those interviewed in this Desert Storm documentary: our President elect’s father (George Bush), Vice President to be (Dick Cheney), and Secretary of State in waiting (Colin Powell).
WHAT, AM I SUPPOSED TO KISS THIS? 8-10PM THE GREAT GATSBY (A&E, TV-PG) Whenever you feel like criticizing this BBC adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American Dream classic, just remember that it’s only half as dumb as the 1974 big screen version. The narration provided by Paul Rudd’s Nick Carraway butchers Fitzgerald’s prose, but at least the voiceovers are brief and few. The brisk editing preserves the novel’s jitterbug plotting, even as it scants crucial subplots. And, improbably, Mira Sorvino (left with Toby Stephens) – famous for her Oscar winning turn as a screeching call girl in ”Mighty Aphrodite” – plays the dainty Daisy, which prompts a question: Who gave this casting the green light? B- – Troy Patterson <! – lead – >
9-10PM THE DIVISION (Lifetime) C.D. and Angela aren’t too psyched about dealing with a murder victim, but stealing her cell phone certainly seems a bit on the extreme side.
10-11PM OZ (HBO, TV-MA) It’s the gospel according to Luke Perry when the former ”90210” star checks into his new zip code as a convicted evangelist.