BOSTON — saturday 5/8
nba Playoffs (NBC, 12:30-9 p.m.): A tripleheader tips off the first playoff series of the post-Jordan era. Another game follows on TNT.
Why Dogs Smile & Chimpanzees Cry (Discovery, 8-10 p.m.): Sigourney Weaver hosts this examination of emotions in animals. Largely intriguing, the documentary seems to be overspeculative at times, and the two-hour length also makes watching tedious.
Masterpiece Theatre - Great Expectations (PBS, 9-10:30 p.m.): This "Great Expectations" is no fairy tale. It's a harsh narrative of child abuse and the dysfunction such abuse can cause. But the filmmakers at least offer a legitimate promise of eventual healing, which was absent in earlier screen versions. Part 2 airs Monday. (see story above)
Moms (PBS, check local listings): This humorous and moving special features interviews with about 50 mothers and daughters from Boston to Austin, Texas. Produced by award-winning filmmakers Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker, the film interviews mothers from a variety of economic and social backgrounds.
The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): Sidney Poitier plays a carpenter who refuses to sell his land to a developer who plans to build a shopping mall on his property. Dianne Wiest and Mary-Louise Parker also star.
The Artists' Specials - 'Mary Cassatt: American Artist' (HBO, 7-7:55 p.m.): Starring Amy Brenneman as Mary Cassatt, this story chronicles a fictional encounter between Cassatt and her teenage niece Katherine in 1877 Paris. At first dreading the presence of children, the American Impressionist soon finds herself inspired by them.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Frontline (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): Timely and engaging. "Give War a Chance," looks at similarities between Vietnam and the Balkans conflicts. Correspondent Peter J. Boyer also examines differing attitudes toward the use of force in the Balkans.
Modern Marvels (History, 10-11 p.m.): The one-hour documentary looks into the invention of motorcycles.
An Evening of Championship Skating (PBS, 8-9:30 p.m.): The popular exhibition event returns for its 26th season with a stellar lineup including Oksana Baiul, and new world champions Elena Berezhnaia and Anton Sikharulidze.
Swingin' with Duke: Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra With Wynton Marsalis (PBS, 9:30-11 p.m.): A single episode cannot capture the legend of Duke Ellington. But this Great Performances presentation comes close. An excellent treat for swing- dance devotees, and a perfect introduction to those unfamiliar with the Duke's repertoire and rhythms. (see related story, Page 17)