Nature by Design (The Disney Channel, 8:30-9 p.m.): Man-made design - in cars, clothes, and other areas - owes much more to nature than many people realize, as this six-part miniseries demonstrates by drawing parallels between the two worlds.
Using natural-history films, computer graphics, X-rays, and other visual devices, the programs point out the often overlooked links between, for instance, a bicycle frame and the skeleton of a horse. At one point, advanced graphics allow the image of a running cheetah to metamorphose into a speeding sports car.
The opening episode, ``Driven by Design,'' compares the evolution of physical life forms with the way cars are designed. It notes some startling similarities but also some vast differences: the amount of time required for change, for instance, which is extremely long in nature but increasingly short in the case of human design. * FRIDAY
Glenn Miller's Greatest Hits (PBS, 9-10 p.m. This program is part of public TV's pledge drive, so day and time may vary widely from station to station): In the late 1930s and early `40s, the Glenn Miller Orchestra was a hit. In the mid-1990s, it's a hit once more - not as big a hit, of course, as the original version was under the baton of Miller himself, when the group was the best-selling American recording group. But the considerable success of today's incarnation under Larry O'Brien suggests how enduring is the popularity of the Miller big-band sound.
Hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford, this documentary blends footage of a recent concert by the modern Miller group with footage of the original. Miller is seen leading his band in concerts, on radio broadcasts, and in films. You hear favorites like ``In the Mood'' and see a few of the tricks that showman Miller used to boost his band's visibility - like the brass section's swirling its trombones and trumpets during ``Bugle Call Rag.''
Please check local listings for these programs.