What's on TV

SHOWS WORTH NOTING FOR FEB. 6-12

By , M.S. Mason, and Suman Bandrapalli, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Listings are not necessarily recommended by the Monitor. All times Eastern, check local listings.

SUNDAY 2/7

NBA Basketball (NBC, 3:30-6 p.m.): In what promises to be one of the best games of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers host the Utah Jazz. Both are formidable teams, but are the Jazz too old and the Lakers too young?

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The Planet of Junior Brown (Showtime, 8-9:35 p.m.): A sometimes inscrutable but compelling fable about an obese teenager and his quest to become a piano prodigy. Junior (Martin Villafana) retreats into a world of fantasy to escape a self-absorbed mother, an insensitive father, an eccentric piano teacher, and bullying classmates. The cast also includes Margot Kidder and Sarah Polley, and is based on the award-winning novel by Virginia Hamilton. (TV-14, D,L,S)

Dangerous Waters (Fox Family Channel, 8-10 p.m.): The best thing about this utterly predictable thriller is the river scenery. Lots of white-water rapids, however, cannot disguise a clumsy story about a widow and her two children outfoxing a ruthless thief and murderer.

Night Ride Home (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): Hallmark Hall of Fame is usually better than this. Even a strong cast can't save a predictable, sometimes maudlin script about a couple who have to repair their afflicted marriage when one of their teenage children dies. Ellen Burstyn lends dignity to the film, and Rebecca De Mornay, a passionate intensity. But the film remains thin as ice in spring.

The '60s (NBC, 9-11 p.m.): A lively, conscientious epic of the 1960s that traces the fortunes of two families, one white, one black, through that turbulent decade. From the civil rights movement to the war in Vietnam, from the Black Panthers to the flower children, this movie tries to say it all. For many boomers, it will be dj vu; for others, a topic of rousing debate. Part 2 airs Monday at the same time.

The X-Files (Fox, 9-10 p.m.): Fox is promoting this two-part series as "The X-Files conspiracy ... exposed!" This two-part show reveals the truth about the deadly black oil, aliens, and government deception. Veronica Cartwright returns as Cassandra Spencer, the person who holds the key to the secrets of the alien/human collaboration. Also, The Smoking Man's real name is revealed. A must-see for "X-Files" fans. (TV-14)

PICK OF THE WEEK

WEDNESDAY 2/10

Academy Award Nominations (E! 8:30-9:30 a.m.): Will "Saving Private Ryan" receive more nominations than "The Thin Red Line?" Which actors and actresses will be nominated? Find out when the Academy Award nominations are announced in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The Color of Courage (USA, 9-11 p.m.): Based on the true story of a 1940s civil-rights case, Sipes vs. McGhee, Linda Hamilton stars as a white woman in Detroit who befriends her black neighbor (Lynn Whitfield). The story, about the struggles of a black family who move into a white neighborhood, is predictable, but the writing and acting are solid, and the plot is involving. Whitfield also gives an outstanding performance. Repeats at 11 p.m. (TV14, L)

THURSDAY 2/11

Friends (NBC, 8-8:30 p.m.): Monica and Chandler have been an item for some time now - only no one knows about it. Or at least that's what they think. In this episode, Phoebe finds out about their relationship and decides to have some fun by flirting with Chandler. (TV-PG)

FRIDAY 2/12

US National Championship Skating (ESPN, 8:30-10:30 p.m.): Some call it art, some call it it sport. But all agree that figure skating is the fastest growing spectator sport in the world. Michelle Kwan and Nicole Bobek will be the stars of the women's competition and Michael Weiss will be the top men's competitor.

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