TV highlights for the week of Sept. 5-11. Shows listed are not necessarily recommended by the Monitor. All times are Eastern; check local listings.
Ben-Hur (TCM, noon-3:45 p.m.): William Wyler's epic spectacle offers more than a tense chariot race. It's a tale of personal conflicts within a deeply religious theme. "Ben-Hur" sets in motion TCM's selections from the American Film Institute's list of top 100 movies. Other movies during the day are "An American in Paris," "Singin' in the Rain," "West Side Story," "Tootsie," and "2001: A Space Odyssey." (TV-PG)
A Life Apart: Hasidism in America (PBS, day and time vary): Narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker and Leonard Nimoy, this one-hour program offers a glimpse into the communities of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn. As it examines their spiritual and historical side, it also explores the tensions they experienced when they arrived in the United States after World War II and looks at how they have managed to coexist in modern-day America.
Monday Night Football (ABC, 8:20-11:30 p.m.): The NFL has signed a $17.6 billion, eight-year contract with the television networks, and "Monday Night Football" kicks off its 29th season when the Denver Broncos host the New England Patriots at Mile High Stadium. The Patriots haven't won here since 1968 - before Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe was born.
Costello (Fox, 8:30-9 p.m.): Stand-up comic Sue Costello plays a bartender in search of her "full potential" - meaning she wants to go to college. But she comes from a working-class Irish family in South Boston who wants her to marry and settle down instead. It's "Roseanne" meets "Cheers," though "Costello" really does have a unique flavor of its own. Despite vulgar language, crass situations, and stereotypical characters, some of the writing is downright funny, the actors are all likable, and the loving blue-collar family is back on prime time. (TV-14, DL)
Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's (Cinemax, 11:30 p.m.-1 a.m.): For nearly 60 years, Chasen's in Hollywood fed and pampered thousands of celebrities from Frank Sinatra to Sharon Stone. "Every night was like a [movie] premire. It was really Hollywood," says a longtime Chasen's patron. But with more trendy hangouts opening in the area, the legendary restaurant was forced to close its doors for good on April 1, 1995. The documentary draws viewers in as it features footage of the staff working behind the scenes, celebrities sharing tableside anecdotes, and elegant waiters remembering the good ol' days. (TV-PG)
Faith and Reason (PBS, 10-11 p.m.): A rich dialogue among scientists and theologians has been growing over the last few years, and this documentary explores where that discussion is right now.
CORRECTION: In "What's On TV" on Aug. 28, "Family Ties," "The Cosby Show," "The Golden Girls," and "The Nanny" were incorrectly listed. They are not scheduled to air on Pax TV.