WORTH NOTING ON TV
Advise and Consent: the Selection of the Supreme Court Justices (C-Span, 4:30-6 p.m.): Series of panels dealing with the selection process, its history and recent changes. WEDNESDAY
Zoo (PBS, 9-11 p.m.): In a media world replete with reality-based programs whose "reality" is ambiguous at best, it's always a pleasure to note an upcoming Frederick Wiseman documentary - especially this time, since "Zoo" is his 25th. He remains perhaps the leading filmmaker in this genre - as innumerable international awards, retrospectives of his work, and admiring critiques testify. A serious-minded and enormously insightful artist with a sense of humor, he has a finger on the day-to-day lives of Amer icans, especially those living in an organizational context.
Sometimes it's animals he deals with. That happened in his 1974 film "Primate." Like several of his notable films, it caused a furor over its depiction of how animals are treated in experimental laboratories. In this case, the tone is more pleasant - though far from totally so (some of it is gory) - as viewers follow the daily lives of the denizens of Miami's famed Metrozoo, one of the nation's best and biggest, with some 140 species inhabiting a 290-acre area.
As revealed in this film, their existence is more orchestrated by the kindly staff than may be obvious to visitors, who feel they're seeing creatures living free in a nature-like habitat. Humans are viewed with the same acute eye, including the staff and the visitors.
As always with Wiseman films, there is no narration. He tells the story in clips, culled and edited from huge amounts of raw footage. What emerges is a complex picture of human (and animal) nature created from seemingly simple small pieces. He once told me he recognizes that although the unnarrated clips make his films seem clinical, they are actually subjective visions of the subjects. But they are free of the re-creations so rampant in today's "documentaries" and is also happily free of commentary.
Please check local listings, especially for the PBS program.