What's On TV

saturday 5/8

nba Playoffs (NBC, 12:30-9 p.m.): A tripleheader tips off the first playoff series of the post-Jordan era. Another game follows on TNT.


Why Dogs Smile & Chimpanzees Cry (Discovery, 8-10 p.m.): Sigourney Weaver hosts this examination of emotions in animals. Largely intriguing, the documentary seems to be overspeculative at times, and the two-hour length also makes watching tedious.

Masterpiece Theatre - Great Expectations (PBS, 9-10:30 p.m.): This "Great Expectations" is no fairy tale. It's a harsh narrative of child abuse and the dysfunction such abuse can cause. But the filmmakers at least offer a legitimate promise of eventual healing, which was absent in earlier screen versions. Part 2 airs Monday. (see story above)

Moms (PBS, check local listings): This humorous and moving special features interviews with about 50 mothers and daughters from Boston to Austin, Texas. Produced by award-winning filmmakers Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker, the film interviews mothers from a variety of economic and social backgrounds.

The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): Sidney Poitier plays a carpenter who refuses to sell his land to a developer who plans to build a shopping mall on his property. Dianne Wiest and Mary-Louise Parker also star.


The Artists' Specials - 'Mary Cassatt: American Artist' (HBO, 7-7:55 p.m.): Starring Amy Brenneman as Mary Cassatt, this story chronicles a fictional encounter between Cassatt and her teenage niece Katherine in 1877 Paris. At first dreading the presence of children, the American Impressionist soon finds herself inspired by them.


Frontline (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): Timely and engaging. "Give War a Chance," looks at similarities between Vietnam and the Balkans conflicts. Correspondent Peter J. Boyer also examines differing attitudes toward the use of force in the Balkans.

Modern Marvels (History, 10-11 p.m.): The one-hour documentary looks into the invention of motorcycles.


An Evening of Championship Skating (PBS, 8-9:30 p.m.): The popular exhibition event returns for its 26th season with a stellar lineup including Oksana Baiul, and new world champions Elena Berezhnaia and Anton Sikharulidze.

Swingin' with Duke: Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra With Wynton Marsalis (PBS, 9:30-11 p.m.): A single episode cannot capture the legend of Duke Ellington. But this Great Performances presentation comes close. An excellent treat for swing- dance devotees, and a perfect introduction to those unfamiliar with the Duke's repertoire and rhythms. (see related story, Page 17)

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