What's on television this week
The following are not necessarily recommended by the Monitor. All times Eastern, check local listings.
Monster Fest 24/7 (AMC, check local listings): The AMC channel serves up a range of horror films through Oct. 31, including classics like "Dracula" (1931) and "Frankenstein" (1931), and more modern ones like "Halloween" (up to Sequel 5).Then there's "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy" for goofy fun.
Shriek Week (Nickelodeon, Oct. 26-31, daily): The week includes a new reality series called "Scaredy Camp" (Oct. 27-30) in which two teams of campers (one of boys and one of girls) look for clues behind the camp's ghostly legend. It makes so much more sense to see teens working out clues to a game show than it does adults.
Rugrats: Curse of the Werewuff (Nick, 8-8:30 p.m.): The best Nick offering this week. Timid little Chuckie stands up to nasty Angelica and leads all the babies out of the scary haunted funhouse to parental safety.
Galileo's Battle for the Heavens (PBS, 8-10 p.m.): A spectacular installment of "Nova" employs the talents of British actor Simon Callow to re-create Galileo's marvelous discoveries; his relationship with his brilliant daughter, Sister Maria Celeste (a name she chose to honor her father's devotion to the stars); and his humiliation and punishment at the hands of the Inquisition. Interweaving interviews with scholars, dramatic reconstructions, and inventive illustrations, the film is a magnificent testament to a great thinker much of it based on the letters his daughter wrote to him from the "prison" of her convent (her word). But the film does leave us wondering about whether "the father of modern science" had much of a heart. After all, he dumped his two little illegitimate daughters in a convent with conditions so severe that his beloved Maria died at age 33. It's a gripping tale of science revelatory, human, and imaginatively challenging. NBA (7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.): TNT tips off the basketball season with a doubleheader: Orlando hosts Philadelphia, and the Los Angeles Lakers begin their quest for a fourth straight title by hosting San Antonio.
24 (Fox, 9-10 p.m.): The much anticipated series première of the frenetic drama snatches our attention right off. As the first season ended, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) left the Counter Terrorist Unit after saving the life of Sen. David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), but he lost his own wife to terrorists. Now, estranged from his daughter, he is summoned back to duty to save LA from a major nuclear terrorist attack. It is 8 a.m. And the new day is already memorable. Next week finds him more worried about his daughter's safety than anything else. It seems she has a real lunatic for a boss.
Unsolved History (Discovery Channel, 9-10 p.m.): This installment of the new series investigates "Forensics in the White House" to see if Zachary Taylor was poisoned. It also examines how an assassination attempt on Franklin Roosevelt shaped today's Secret Service.