Whats on TV: SHOWS WORTH NOTING FOR Aug. 18-24
The following are not necessarily recommended by the Monitor. All times Eastern, check local listings.
Bowie at the Beeb (BBC America, continuing Aug. 19, check local listings): A two-day tribute to one of the most innovative rockers of our time will include David Bowie's film, "The Man Who Fell to Earth," a rare documentary, and this highly acclaimed concert.
An American Celebration at Ford's Theatre (ABC, 10-11 p.m.): While Wayne Brady is trying to bring the variety show back to television, "celebrations" like this one have been holding up the standard for years. A little comedy, a lot of music (much of it with a Texas accent), and host ABC's Sam Donaldson, make this benefit for the historic theater pleasant enough. President and Mrs. Bush were in attendance at the June taping.
Let's Bowl! (Comedy Central, 10:30-11 p.m.): Zany new show gets ordinary people to resolve their disputes and differences by competing against each other on a 10-pin bowling lane.
Oswald (Nick Jr., 8-8:30 p.m.): A friendly blue octopus? Well, somehow it works - especially since the animated star is voiced by Fred Savage. The special prime-time preview is meant to introduce parents to Oswald and his friends. The stories are gentle and sweet, and the show will air each day at 10:30 a.m. on Nick Jr. and on CBS weekends. The idea is that preschoolers need repetition, so the same episode airs daily for a week.
Ultimate Revenge (TNN, 8-8:30 p.m.) Well, it's not as bad as it sounds - or is it? Practical jokes played on unsuspecting acquaintances - and all the execs swear its perfectly safe. It's "Candid Camera" meets "Fear Factor."
Life and Debt (PBS, check local listings): This unconventional documentary looks at Jamaica and the impact that economic globalization has had on it, namely a miserable cycle of debt that destroys local agriculture and sustains sweatshops. It's not a pretty picture. Based on Jamaica Kincaid's book, "A Small Place," with the author narrating the story.
Free to Be...You and Me (TV Land, 8-9 p.m.): Reviving the classic kids' show that stared Marlo Thomas may seem a little strange, but a new generation of parents may find it helpful. It was a hit in 1974, and its message is still meaningful.