What's on TV

SHOWS FOR MARCH 15-21

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Sunday 3/16

Children of Dune (Sci Fi Channel, 9 p.m.): The sequel to Frank Herbert's "Dune," this six-hour epic is far more beautifully acted, written, and photographed. Unfortunately it is nearly incomprehensible unless you have a study guide beside you. As hard to follow as it is, this epic will haunt "Dune" fans long after it leaves the air. The special sequel stars Alec Newman and Susan Sarandon. (See story.)

Rebel Heart (BBC America, beginning today, concluding March 17. Check local listings): We may not learn a great deal about the "troubles" in Ireland, but this slice of history is, nevertheless, riveting. Ernie Coyne is an idealistic youth with a passion for Irish independence and a fearless determination to help establish it. Alas, civil war pits brother against brother - and sometimes against sister. Look for excellent photography, storytelling, and finely tuned performances that account for the human cost of war.

Thursday 3/20

NCAA Basketball Tournament (CBS, starting at noon): March Madness takes on new meaning this year, with several teams - such as St. Bonaventure, Michigan, and Georgia - removing themselves from contention as a result of ethics violations. But tainted or not, it's still the biggest game out there.

Recommended: Default

On the Spot (The WB, 9:30-10 p.m.): "Reality" meets situation comedy. Tim Conway stars in this mildly amusing comedy in which the audience shouts suggestions for lines and scene changes to the ensemble cast. It may improve with time and guest stars, and it's good to see Mr. Conway in all his goofy abandon.

Friday 3/21

Farscape (Sci-fi Channel, 8 p.m.): In the series finale of the acclaimed sci-fi epic, John Crichton tries to save the world by closing a wormhole to stop an alien invasion. Unfortunately this tactic could backfire and destroy planet earth.

SpongeBob SquarePants (Nickelodeon, 9:30 p.m.): In this "lost episode," the Swiss-cheese-looking SpongeBob decides he wants to fly through the water "like the jellyfish." So with help from his seafaring pals, he makes several failed attempts to get off the ocean floor. Finally he learns the key to flotation lies in his pants (surprise). Overall, it's the same irritating, loud-volumed material. And too bad Mr. Sponge can't wipe up his sense of humor.

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