What's on TV
Shows for July 19-25
The 132nd British Open (ABC, 9 a.m., and Sunday, 8 a.m.): At golf's third major of the season, all eyes will be on Tiger Woods. Will he rebound?
Battle of the Network Stars (Trio, 10 p.m., and weeknights, 7 p.m.): Time magazine columnist Joel Stein is a guest programmer this week for the network's primetime line-up. Among his picks are five episodes of this reality show that aired from 1976 to 1983 and featured teams from the three major networks who competed against each other in athletic challenges. Stars included Victoria Principal, Billy Crystal, David Letterman, Robin Williams, and Farrah Fawcett.
The Restaurant (NBC, 10-11 p.m.):The newest unscripted show starts out a little slow - unless you happen to be a restaurateur. But as it goes along, the story of three-star chef Rocco DiSpirito becomes the all-American race for success. The excitement is all in the deft editing. Will he open his restaurant on time and on budget? Somehow we want him to succeed.
Automatic Kalashnikov (Sundance Channel, 9-10 p.m.): This biography of Mikhail T. Kalashnikov - who invented the most successful assault weapon ever made, the AK-47 - is taut and troubling. The weapons engineer was the son of poor farmers who were, nevertheless, transported to Siberia during the Stalin era because they were too rich. There, he learned to shoot in order to hunt. Later, during World War II, he was wounded by better-armed Germans. As he recovered, he designed a weapon with interchangeable parts and nearly limitless rounds of ammo. The history of the AK-47 is told through wars - and through crime. The film is intelligently made, and will be of special interest to students of military and social history.
The Flute Player (PBS, check local listings): One might expect a film about a genocide survivor to be depressing. But this poignant documentary has a liberating effect as a master musician helps save the indigenous music of Cambodia, nearly wiped out by the Khmer Rouge. The hero, Arn Chom-Pond, was rescued by a US minister as a teen. He tells his story with uncompromising honesty as he returns to his homeland and reaches out to other musicians who barely escaped genocide.