What's on TV


Saturday 8/10

Soul and Inspiration: Doo-Wop Spirituals (PBS, 7:30-9 p.m., check local listings): Doo-Wop artists and gospel legends offer songs of praise and faith, and sing them with love and patriotism. Little Anthony and the Imperials will bring tears to many eyes in a tribute to the heroes of Sept. 11. Sam Moore sings a moving rendition of The Lord's Prayer.

Sunday 8/11

First Shot (TBS, 8-10 p.m., encores through the month): Mariel Hemingway reprises her role as Secret Service Agent Alex McGregor in this sequel to "First Daughter." McGregor's job is to protect the president of the United States. And quite a job she has of it, too, especially when the pres is actually wounded. It's fun to see Ms. Hemingway play a toughie, dodging bullets and nabbing the villain. But that's the best one can say for the thin plot.

Sunshine Hotel (Sundance Channel, 10:30 a.m.-12 noon, encores through the month): One of the last remaining flophouses in the once notorious Bowery of New York houses old, infirm, or mentally ill men, whose stories are varied and fascinating. From Vietnam vets to recovering addicts to alcoholics, each has a point of view and a reason for being. In a hard, hard world, they neither sentimentalize their situations nor ask for pity. This is a world where no woman ventures, and that absence is keenly felt. Harsh language and situations.

Monday 8/12

True West (Showtime, 8-10 p.m.): Sam Shepard's alternately hilarious and alarming play is given a riveting production by the Company of Fools in Hailey, Idaho. Lee, the elder brother (played with vindictive glee by Bruce Willis, who also directed the play), is a petty thief whose desperation has turned dangerous. Lee torments his younger brother Austin, an Ivy-League-educated screenwriter whose career is just taking off. But when Lee meets Austin's producer, he sells him his own idea for a screenplay – abruptly reversing the brothers' roles. The play skewers Hollywood, dysfunctional families, and conventional notions of civilized and barbarous behavior. It's great to see Mr. Willis chew the scenery and then switch gears and offer some intense, fascinating revelations of character. He's a much better actor than his usually given credit for, and he's amazing here. He and Chad Smith make a combustible pair.

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