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What's on TV

SHOWS WORTH NOTING FOR APRIL 13-19

By M.S. Mason / April 12, 2002



Sunday 4/14

Jane Goodall: Chimps in Crisis (MSNBC, 8-10 p.m.): The greatest living primatologist goes about her business teaching conservation to children and adults in Africa, Europe, and the United States. This episode in the National Geographic Explorer series is beautifully shot, though it is less about the chimps than about the need to conserve the forests where they live. Overall, this is the best week for chimps on TV in years (see other shows below).

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Keeli & Ivy: Chimps Like Us (Discovery Channel, 8-9 p.m.): A remarkable four-year study of two young chimps in captivity helps illuminate their intelligence and individuality. Prof. Sally Boysen of Ohio State University has dedicated her life to these marvelous creatures. The most touching moment is when the two little friends meet an older, gentle female chimp who plays with them and holds them tenderly. Keeli is the brighter of the two, stealing keys to the door, imitating her teachers, and inventing play. Kelsey Grammer narrates.

The Pilot's Wife (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): Christine Lahti stars in this engaging mystery based on the bestseller by Anita Shreve. Lahti plays the widow of a pilot. When his plane is destroyed in midair, she learns that he had a secret life. The fall air date was changed because of 9/11, and many may still feel it's too soon.

Monday 4/15

Dinner for Five (IFC, Mondays at 8-8:30 p.m.): The latest twist in unscripted TV – actors talking among themselves over dinner – is fun for film buffs. It's a little like eavesdropping in a restaurant at a film festival – funny, sharp film folks enjoying each other's company. The group in the first episode includes Peter Falk, Vince Vaughn, Garry Shandling, and Cheri Oteri discussing dogs with low self-esteem, director John Cassavetes, and other "indie" insider stuff. Jon Favreau hosts.

Broken Silence (Cinemax, April 15-19, 7-8 p.m.): A new documentary series presented by Steven Spielberg and Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation debuts in conjunction with Holocaust Remembrance Day. The movies are made by international filmmakers who create cinema about the Holocaust meant to resonate with their own cultures.

Tuesday 4/16

Going Ape (Animal Planet, 8-9 p.m.): What does a nature documentary look like with "reality TV" conventions tossed in? Conservationist Saba Douglas-Hamilton and filmmaker Alastair Fothergill leave the amenities of civilization behind and take only the bare necessities into a forest in West Africa to live as chimps do. It's braver than the silly reality shows, and more exciting. Eating grubs and drinking stale water is a game on "Fear Factor" – here it's for love of animals.

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