Biography (A&E, 8-9 p.m.): It's not always modern-era people like Mike Tyson or Norman Rockwell or George Wallace who are dealt with in this well-crafted documentary series. Sometimes it takes a look back - way back.

The subject of this edition is Joan of Arc, whose extraordinary life in the 15th century still sounds more outlandish and makes for a more exciting story than virtually any action-adventure show on TV.

Through writings, art, and other sources, ``Joan of Arc'' tells of the 13-year-old French girl who convinced the Dauphin and a battery of theologians that the voice of God was telling her to lead the French against the British at Orleans during the Hundred Years' War. She did - and won the battle - but was captured by the English, charged with heresy (and what's more, with wearing men's clothes), and burned at the stake.

Hawkeye (Syndicated - check local listings for the station, day, and time in your area): Some shows are worth having a look at if only because they take place in a historical setting rare for series TV. James Fenimore Cooper created Hawkeye in his 19th-century novels collectively called The Leatherstocking Tales. Hawkeye lived in an 18th-century world of the French and Indian War, fur-trading, and native American rivalries cynically manipulated by European strategists.

He was the spirit of the new land, a frontier figure bridging the worlds of settlers and Indians. But his world was a grim, grubby place that writers and artists of the next century tended to romanticize.

This show reflects a little of each side. Inevitably, romantic liberties have been taken in dramatizing the tales. On the other hand, the producers recruited historians, designers, and others to create authentic settings and costumes. The action was shot on location in British Columbia to approximate the Hudson River Valley in the mid-1700s.

In this treatment, Lee Horsley plays Hawkeye, and Linda Carter is Elizabeth Shields, a single woman trying to cope with frontier life.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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