BOSTON — TV highlights for the week of Jan. 26-Feb. 1. All times are Eastern; check local listings. Ratings are listed for shows when available (see explanation box below).
SUNDAY - 1/26
Andy Griffith Marathon (TBS, 10:05 a.m.-2:05 a.m., Monday): Come on back to Mayberry, RFD, for the eighth year as TBS hosts its annual marathon. It's a heapin' helping of homespun fun featuring Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors), Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier), Opie (Ron Howard), and the squirrelly Deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts). Heading this crew is the ultimate straight-shooter, Sheriff Andy Taylor (Griffith).
Super Bowl XXXI (Fox, 6-10 p.m.): Cheeseheads and Pats fans will be riveted to the screen as Green Bay takes on New England in New Orleans for football's most-hyped spectacle. TV watchers are better off than those who paid $275 (not counting airfare) to watch what is often a disappointingly lopsided game. While both clubs are long overdue for time in the limelight, the real winner is Fox, which pulls in $1.2 million for each 30-second commercial. With 28 minutes of ads, that's a real jambalaya.
The X-Files (Fox, 10-11 p.m.): It comes as no surprise that Fox is airing "The X-Files" - the jewel in its programming crown - in the coveted post-Super Bowl slot. This creepy new episode of the supernatural show deals with a disappearing corpse. Fox is looking for the same ratings blitz that NBC got last year when it followed the game with an hour of "Friends."
MONDAY - 1/27
The Joy Luck Club (NBC, 8-10 p.m.): Amy Tan's breathtaking 1989 bestseller was made into a movie in 1993. Although the heart-rending film is no substitute for the novel, it successfully captures the essence of Tan's story, which juxtaposes the lives of four Chinese mothers with those of their daughters. Screenplay co-written by Tan. (TV-14)
The 24th American Music Awards (ABC, 8-11 p.m.): Listeners have chosen the winners of this live show, hosted this year by comedian Sinbad. Performers include Toni Braxton, Little Richard, Metallica, and country music's popular teen, LeAnn Rimes.
TUESDAY - 1/28
Nova (PBS, 8-9 p.m.): Was the Titanic's sister ship, the Britannic, carrying a load of Allied munitions when it sank during World War I? Did the Germans deliberately torpedo the hospital ship? Oceanographer Robert Ballard employs robotic cameras and a US Navy submarine on this fascinating exploration of the sunken vessel.
WEDNESDAY - 1/29
Orpheus in the Real World (PBS, 10-11 p.m.): A documentary about the conductor-less Orpheus orchestra. (See review, left.)
THURSDAY - 1/30
Friends (NBC, 8-8:30 p.m.): NBC is finally bringing back one of the freshest elements in this series: Tom Selleck. This week he guest-stars when Monica (Courteney Cox) and Richard (Selleck) try to take their former relationship to the "just friends" level. (TV-PG)
Mystery! (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): Deep goings-on at Oxford when Detective Chief Inspector Morse (John Thaw) and colleague duke it out over a murder and the loyalty of Detective Sergeant Lewis (Kevin Whately).
SATURDAY - 2/1
Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Sci-Fi Channel, 4-6 p.m.): The cult favorite moves to the Sci-Fi Channel for its eighth season. Mike Nelson and his clutch of robots are once again forced by a galactic villain to watch B-movies on their spaceship. As always, Mike and the robots make humorous comments - some more tasteful than others - during the sci-fi and light horror films. This week's feature is "Revenge of the Creature," which revisits the Creature From the Black Lagoon. (TV-14)
Groundhog Day (NBC, 8-10 p.m.): This 1993 fantasy by director Harold Ramis is a testament to the slogan "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Bill Murray gives his funniest performance in years as a weatherman trying to survive the longest day on record. He is forced to relive Feb. 2 over and over and over again, until he gets everything exactly right. (TV-PG)
PICK OF THE WEEK
Super Bowl XXXI
Sunday, Jan. 26, 6-10 p.m. (Fox)
The following categories apply to programs designed for children:
TV-Y All Children
TV-Y7 Directed to Older Children
The following categories apply to programs designed for the entire audience:
TV-G General Audience
TV-PG Parental Guidance Suggested
TV-14 Parents Strongly Cautioned
TV-M Mature Audience Only
Sports and news programs are not rated.
- Provided by the Motion Picture Association of America