What's on TV?


Saturday 3/16

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 20th Anniversary Special (NBC, 8-9 p.m.): Steven Spielberg joins his cast to celebrate the low-budget, high-concept hit that captured the imagination of audiences around the world. It's the picture closest to his own heart, he says. The cast remembers the surrogate family created on the set with loving anecdotes. "E.T." has been digitally remastered for its re-release March 22, and this special offers a glimpse into that technology, too.

The Matthew Shepard Story (NBC, 9-11 p.m.): The families of murder victims suffer terribly, and this film focuses on the family of the gay college student who was beaten to death by two young men in Wyoming. This is the second film this month on the subject. (The first, "The Laramie Project," aired on HBO last week). This version of the story speaks more to the emotions than the first film.

Sunday 3/17

Snow White: The Fairest of Them All (ABC, 7-9 p.m.): Another version of the Grimm fairy tale includes elements from other stories that any fairy tale connoisseur will recognize. But while Miranda Richardson makes a weird and wicked Queen, the story doesn't hold up too well. Still, it's passable family fare. Beautiful young Kristin Kreuk ("Smallville") makes a lovely Snow White.

Tuesday 3/19

Andy Richter Controls the Universe (Fox, 8:30-9 p.m.): The new sitcom is funny and inventive, but unfortunately it's airing in a Tuesday night time slot with strong competition. Writer-comedian Andy Richter plays a writer who can't get his stories published, so he makes a living writing technical manuals for a large corporation. It's "Malcolm in the Middle" meets "Scrubs" set in corporate culture.

Thursday 3/21

A Life in Pictures (PBS, 9-11 p.m., check local listings): Great Performances profiles Akira Kurosawa, one of the greatest film directors of all time. This absorbing documentary is built around a 1984 interview with the Japanese maestro. His great works include "Rashomon," "Seven Samurai," "Red Beard," and "Ran." Though the film gives us some idea of his creative process, it never touches on the great riches of his vision, his moral perspective, or his spiritual insight. Shakespearian actor Paul Scofield reads from Kurosawa's autobiography, and American actor Sam Shepard narrates.

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