Battles That Changed the World (The Learning Channel, 9:30-10 p.m.): The weekly series premiering with this show not only looks at history's crucial battles - from the Viking wars through modern times - but also at the world in which they happened. Artifacts, old footage, and reenactments are all called upon to paint a picture of events building up to the engagement and to the clash itself.
The opener examines Napoleon's war against Russia, a disastrous French campaign whose results included the destruction of the world's largest military machine. * FRIDAY
House of Representatives (C-Span, 10 a.m. to conclusion, EST): The channel's regular coverage. * SATURDAY
Money Made Easy: The ABC Kids' Guide to Dollars and Sense (ABC, 12:30-1 p.m.): This program - first of a two-part special - talks to bankers, financial regulators, historians, and even museum curators. But it also talks to kids - and mixes in original animation, graphics, and other trendy production techniques. The result manages to explore a potentially gray subject with the kind of candy-colored images and jaunty style that its target audience -
kids up to about 14 years old - can relate to.
The plausible premise of the show is that today's young people, though savvy in many ways, tend to be uninformed about matters of money. The challenge was to convey basic facts in a form that is fun - and, by and large, it is. Besides humor, quick takes, and eye-catching effects, the show offers host Christopher Castile, who stars as Mark on the ABC series ``Step by Step.'' The peppy music and lyrics were written by Christopher Cerf, who also contributes to ``Sesame Street.''
This first program is called ``History'' and lives up to its title. The use of money is traced back to early civilizations - such as 6th-century Greece and ancient China - and then followed up to the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
The second show, called ``Banking,'' airs April 9 on ABC.
Please check local listings for these programs.