TV highlights for the week of Oct. 27-Nov. 2. All times are Eastern; check local listings.Skip to next paragraph
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SUNDAY - 10/27
The Simpsons (FOX, 7-9 p.m.): It's nonstop Simpsons! This cartoon marathon includes one new Halloween episode (at 9:30 p.m.), as well as repeats of "The 138th Episode Spectacular" and "22 Short Films About Springfield."
3rd Rock From the Sun (NBC, 8-8:30 p.m.): Politics is in the air as former "Saturday Night Live" writer and cast member Al Franken pays a visit to TV's funniest aliens. The otherworldly ones get a lesson in democracy when Harry (French Stewart) runs for a city-council seat against an unscrupulous politician (Franken).
Boston Common (NBC, 8:30-9 p.m.): The election theme continues when Wyleen (Hedy Burress) runs for class president with brother Boyd (Anthony Clark) as her manager. For advice, he looks to political consultant James Carville, guest starring as himself.
EZ Streets (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): CBS is proving to viewers bored with this season's lackluster lineup that good things come to those who wait. The powerful "EZ Streets" joins the midseason roster as a compelling heavy-hitter. Jason Gedrick ("Murder One") stars as an ex-con desperately trying to go straight and Ken Olin ("thirtysomething") as a cop trying to track down his partner's murderer.
Joe Pataliano gets top marks for his performance as Johnny Murtha, a crime boss determined to claw his way to the top. And Marc Isham's gorgeous Celtic score wins this year's prize for best soundtrack. But be warned: The violence can be potent. (Starting Wednesday, "EZ Streets" will air 10-11 p.m.)
r MONDAY - 10/28
Vote for Me: Politics in America (PBS, 9-11 p.m.): This program takes the focus off presidential politics and shows what it's like for average Americans to run for the half-million other elected offices. The four-part, four-hour series takes viewers inside a number of campaigns and illustrates how local culture influences politics. Included are the fiery and the feisty: "Politics is show business for ugly people," declares Oklahoma's Democratic Party leader.
Parts 1 and 2 look at "What you have to do to get elected" and "What you have to do to get a politician's attention." Parts 3 and 4 air on Tuesday, 9-11 p.m, and address "Where do politicians come from?" and "The year I ran for Congress." The latter is a fascinating account of local TV personality Maggie Lauterer's run for a Congressional seat in North Carolina.
WEDNESDAY - 10/30
Cincinnati Pops Holiday: Erich Kunzel's Halloween Spooktacular (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, in full Halloween garb, offers listeners a treat for their ears as it performs Broadway show tunes, movie melodies, and Halloween-themed pop songs. The recorded concert, billed as a special for the entire family, also includes songs by actors Tom Wopat (of "Dukes of Hazard" fame) and Robert Guillaume (of "Benson" fame), and the magic of The Pendragons. Erich Kunzel conducts.
Very Personal With Naomi Judd (Family Channel, 9-10 p.m.): Once a member of the mother-daughter country-music duo The Judds, mother Judd adds another title to her rsum: talk-show host. She gets some practice for her 1997 debut with this special, which features interviews with her buddies Rosie O'Donnell, Larry King, and Jay Leno.
Public Morals (CBS, 9:30-10 p.m.): Steven Bochco's salty, low-brow comedy catalogs the misadventures of New York's public-morals squad - dedicated to keeping sleaze off the streets. (If only they helped keep it off the airwaves.)
THURSDAY - 10/31
Mystery! (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): David Suchet begins his eighth and final season as Agatha Christie's beloved Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. When Emily Arundel dies the day after a suspicious fall down the stairs, Poirot refuses to accept the prognosis as natural causes. Bending his famed intellect to the task, the mustachioed detective - with the ever-faithful Hastings in tow - searches for Emily's killer. The lone witness: Monsieur Bob, a feisty fox terrier that Poirot is convinced can point the paw at the guilty party. But is the intrepid detective barking up the wrong tree?