What's On TV

SHOWS WORTH NOTING FOR NOV. 13-19

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

SATURDAY 11/13

Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m.-1 a.m.): It's a one-man show. Garth Brooks hosts, while his rock 'n' roll alter ego, Chris Gaines, provides the musical entertainment.

SUNDAY 11/14

Nature (PBS, 8-9 p.m.): Through their grace, gallop, and grit, horses have profoundly influenced civilization. This National Geographic documentary trots through the ages, from the wild days of these regal creatures to their domestication to today's "therapeutic riding."

Jerry and Tom (Showtime, 8-9:30 p.m.): This witty and wacky spoof on the mobster genre tells the story of two used car salesmen, played by Joe Mantegna and Sam Rockwell, who also happen to be hitmen for hire. Their targets include Ted Danson, William H. Macy, and Peter Riegert. However, the humor at times becomes a victim of violence and a sharp tongue.

PICK OF THE WEEK

Inside the Actor's Studio (Bravo, 8-10 p.m.): This time, it should be called "Inside the Musician's Studio," as host James Lipton interviews musician Billy Joel. Even though the piano man isn't an actor, he has a lot of interesting things to say about how he writes songs. He says TV talk shows give musicians short shrift: "When actors come on, they don't make them act. But when musicians come on, they make them play. And it kind of bugs me because they're missing out on a lot of interesting talk."

New York: A Documentary Film (PBS, 9-11 p.m.): The six-part series, created by Ric Burns (brother to Ken Burns of "Civil War" fame), employs many of the techniques of historical documentary that he and his brother have made so popular - tuneful music playing over old photos, maps, paintings, and drawings, and interviews with historians and writers (see story, above).

Mary, Mother of Jesus (NBC, 9-11 p.m.): The made-for-TV movie does its best to portray the "handmaid of the Lord" as a bright young girl (Melinda Kinnaman) with a passion for mercy, and as a mature woman (Pernilla August) who accepts the challenge Jesus offered all his disciples, to preach the Gospel to every creature. But this somber film can be ponderous, the writing stiff and self-conscious, and the acting sometimes precious (see story, page 19).

Aftershock: Earthquake in New York (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): On a magnitude scale, this would probably measure a 1.5. In other words, don't waste your time on this insipid miniseries starring Tom Skerritt, Sharon Lawrence, and Charles S. Dutton. The first half spends too much time setting the scene by introducing a large cast (read: nothing happens). You might fall asleep before the first tremor hits. Concludes Tuesday at the same time.

MONDAY 11/15

WTA Chase Championships (Fox Sports, 8-10 p.m.): A great year for women's tennis concludes with the top 16 players in the world vying for the season-ending title.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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