Future Quest (PBS, 8-8:30 p.m.): Somewhere between fantasies and scientific projections of the future lies the format of the new series premiering here. The unusual effort combines snatches of culture - pop and otherwise - with hard data to give viewers an idea of what the future may hold in many fields - like the information superhighway.

As each episode addresses a specific area, the fast-paced production employs scenes from sci-fi movies and cartoons, and it interviews a range of specialists, such as scientists, artists, philosophers, and researchers.

The idea is to put before viewers both the popular notion of the future and also what specialists calculate will happen in fields like war or genetic engineering (the series encompasses 22 categories).

Pulling it all together is the host, Jeff Goldblum, and the series' senior adviser, Dr. Timothy Ferris, professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley.

The opening episode, fittingly enough, deals with humanity's fascination with futurism itself - reflected in shows like this one.

The Native Americans (TBS, 8:05-10:05 p.m.): Turner Broadcasting is caught up in what it calls ``a company-wide native American initiative,'' including daily reports on CNN about Indian issues (beginning Oct. 30), a TNT drama called ``Lakota Woman'' airing Oct. 16, home videos, and other efforts.

The main entry is this massive three-part documentary examining the whole spectrum of indigenous native American nations. The sometimes tragic but heroic story is told largely by native American directors, using a variety of sources, including striking still photos and moving citations from Indian art and tradition.

This first episode deals with tribes of the Northeast and Southeast. The second program (Tuesday, 8:05-10:05 p.m.), covers the Southwest, Northwest, and California. The final part (Thursday, 8:05-10:05 p.m.), focuses on the Plains Indians.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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