Monitor Picks

Red reign

Brilliant, savvy, and brave, the charismatic Queen Elizabeth I of England is always popular in TV and film. She's back in a sumptuous miniseries, The Virgin Queen (PBS, Nov. 13 and 20), that begins with her near-death experiences in the Tower of London (courtesy of her sister, Bloody Mary) and continues through her own glittering reign.

A class act, sadly missed

For the uninitiated, jazz singer/pianist Shirley Horn was class and style incarnate. Horn, who passed away last month, was one of the few singers who could have you hanging on her every lyric, be it an ultra-slow ballad or her sassy showstopping "Peel Me a Grape." The 1988 Verve album, "Close Enough for Love," captures vintage Horn at the pinnacle of her art.

Must-eat tv

Food Network stars like Rachael Ray and Emeril offer new ideas for Thanksgiving dinner on Let's Talk Turkey. We're already salivating over Michael Chiarello's Italian-style turkey.

Out from the shadows

A former basketball star becomes an inner-city high school coach, teaching jump shots and life lessons. It's a tried-and-true formula, but done with unsurpassed humanity and authenticity in the White Shadow: Season 1, out on DVD 25 years after it went off the air. The great ensemble cast includes Ken Howard in the title role.

A lot of hot air?

Michael Crichton has made a living by critiquing science-run-amok (remember those pesky dinosaurs re-created from DNA?) In the thinky thriller State of Fear, now in paperback, the "science" in his cross hairs is global warming hysteria, and the villains are pro-Kyoto Treaty zealots who will stop at nothing, including murder, to convince the public that the earth is on the verge of a meltdown. Charts and footnotes both slow the story and buttress Crichton's skepticism. (Perhaps this is not the best Christmas gift for Greenpeace members.)

Save the date

Nov. 11: Homage to veterans

The day's tribute to fallen Americans begins at Arlington National Cemetery at 11 a.m. EST on cable news channels.

Turner Classic Movies, meanwhile, hosts a marathon of World War II movies including The Story of G.I. Joe starring Robert Mitchum and Battleground with Van Johnson.

Over on The History Channel, look for Heroes Under Fire about an elite group of Army Green Berets in Vietnam. And ex-drill instructor R. Lee Ermey of "Full Metal Jacket" fame answers viewers' military questions.

TNT ends with Saving Private Ryan.

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