What's on TV

SHOWS FOR OCT. 5-11

Saturday 10/5

Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m.- 1 a.m.): Host Matt Damon and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band take SNL into its 28th season. Except for the smart and witty banter between Emmy-Award winning writer Tina Fey and cast member Jimmy Fallon, the last few seasons have been so lame. Let's hope some of the returning cast members, including Chris Kattan and Rachel Dratch, will fill our bellies with laughter this season.

Sunday 10/6

Bram and Alice (CBS, 8:30-9 p.m.): The season opener introduces us to a has-been writer and his will-be writer daughter. Bram Shepherd (Alfred Molina) is such a womanizer he comes on to his own daughter, Alice (Traylor Howard), before he realizes who the long-lost damsel really is. Despite a talented cast, the tawdry premise ruins any possible fun they might offer. It's not likely to get better.

Wednesday 10/9

Birds of Prey (The WB, 9-10 p.m.): The season opener is fairly promising, as live-action comic books go. Helena the Huntress (Ashley Scott), the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, teams up with former Batgirl, Barbara (Dina Meyer) aka Oracle. Joining them in crime-fighting fun is a lovely young telepath, Dinah (Rachel Skarsten). They have to clean up New Gotham – and they start with a series of dubious suicides.

Unsolved History (Discovery Channel, 9-10 p.m.): The new series reexamines popular notions about great historical events. The first episode examines Pickett's charge at Gettysburg. Using forensic evidence, the filmmakers re-create the battlefield and the events of the day as the soldiers saw and experienced them. Future episodes will feature "The Death of the USS Maine," "The Alamo," and "The Death of the Red Baron."

Thursday 10/10

Liberia: America's Stepchild (PBS, check local listings): Near the end of the 18th century, a successful slave revolt in Haiti scared American slaveholders and inspired a movement to repatriate free African-Americans to the coast of West Africa. From this movement, Liberia was born. The documentary explores its troubled history and recent decline into civil war. Heart-rending, but informative filmmaking.

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