Worth Noting on TV

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

SATURDAY

Braveheart (HBO, 8-11 p.m.) This epic won the 1995 Academy Award for best picture. Mel Gibson stars as William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish hero who fought to free his people from the tyranny of King Edward I of England. Gibson also got the nod for best director for his sweeping battle scenes, which are remarkable both for their realism and brutality. History buffs will cheer, but those with delicate sensibilities may want to pass.

SUNDAY

Recommended: 'The Phantom Menace': Six other 3-D re-releases to look for

John Woo's Once a Thief (FOX, 8-10 p.m.) Only Hong Kong director John Woo would look at flour and see a potential explosive. His first made-for-TV movie is a retooled version of his 1991 film of the same name. Fans may miss the frenetic pace of Woo's feature films, but there's still plenty of wild stunts and one-liners. An especially dramatic scene is when two characters dangle from a light fixture over an electrified floor while clutching a Rembrandt. Ivan Sergei is winning as Mack, a cop who's more at home picking locks.

3rd Rock From the Sun

(NBC, 8-8:30 p.m.) George Takei (Sulu of "Star Trek" fame) guest stars as the Solomon family descends on a sci-fi convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

TUESDAY

Running Mate (PBS, 10-11 p.m.) This documentary traces the office of vice president from its accidental origins in 1787 to its current prominence of just a breath away from the presidency. The No. 2 spot has had to overcome a lot: John Adams called it "the most insignificant office ever the invention of man contrived." The position was vacant for four decades in the 19th century. Ranks of VP's include Aaron Burr, indicted for murder and tried for treason; Ulysses Grant's vice presidents, who were implicated in one of the biggest financial scandals in Washington; and one man who served without ever setting foot in D.C. (Suddenly misspelling "potato" doesn't seem so bad.) Interviews with Al Gore, Jack Kemp, Dan Quayle, and Jimmy Carter are interspersed with historians' insights, and footage from the recent conventions.

*Please check local listings for these programs.

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