What's on TV
SHOWS FOR OCT. 12-18
Baseball playoffs (Fox, 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.): Instead of the usual superstar suspects, it's the year of small-ball surprises. The California Angels, who have won their first playoff series in 42 years, are in the middle of the American League Championship series against the Minnesota Twins (wait a minute weren't they almost erased from the baseball landscape earlier this year?) Over in the National League Championships, Barry Bonds leads his San Francisco Giants against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Gleason (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): Brad Garrett stars in this biopic about The Great One. The problem is, Garrett is unconvincing as the troubled comic. It's hard to get past his monotone Robert character from "Everybody Loves Raymond." On top of this, it's a depressing movie. It concentrates mostly on Gleason's dark side his alcoholism, extramarital relationships, and difficult rise to the top. Out of these problems came "The Honeymooners." But this drama is no honeymoon.
Arthur (PBS, check local listings): "Arthur" celebrates its 100th episode and Elwood City is celebrating its 100th anniversary, too. Mr. Ratner's third-grade class stages a musical tribute to their hometown in honor of its centennial, and Larry King pops in for a visit.
Second City Presents (Bravo, 9-10 p.m.): The new celebrity chat show really depends on the energy level of the guests. Bill Zehme interviews Second City alum and personalities connected to the famed Chicago theater. In the first episode, Jim Belushi comes across as flat. As you can imagine, the second episode with Tracey Ullman is much livelier.
The Ship (The History Channel, 9-11 p.m.): Captain Cook was one of the greatest mariners of the 18th century, and in this exciting bit of history and reality TV, volunteers join a core group of experts to sail a replica of Cook's ship. Lots of grousing and some real dangers give us a feeling for life aboard the Endeavour. Any good reenactor will tell you there's only one way to experience history, and that is to re-create it as best one might.
Dog Days (Animal Planet, 10-11 p.m.): Eriq and Ethel, Jill and Oliver, Eva and Hudson. No, this isn't a dating show, rather it's a new series that catches up with dog owners and their four-legged friends in parks around New York.