Tuning in: on TV this week

Saturday, Dec. 6

Word of Honor (TNT, 8-10 p.m.): Don Johnson, John Heard, and Jeanne Tripplehorn star in this surprisingly complex drama about the ethics of war. Thirty years after Vietnam, a story comes out in a respected magazine (which, strangely enough, never bothers to check its facts) accusing corporate executive Ben Tyson (Heard) of war crimes. What happened in that tiny international hospital all those years ago has been kept a profound secret. Why does it emerge now, and who is really guilty?

Sunday, Dec. 7

Undercover Christmas (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): Jami Gertz stars as a working-class cocktail waitress guarded over Christmas weekend by an upper-crust FBI man (Shawn Christian) tricked by his own mother (played with high style by Tyne Daly) into coming home - and therefore dragging his charge with him. The upper-class family respond to the working woman with predictable arrogance but, of course, this romantic comedy still ends as it should. The fun is in watching how the writers and actors complicate the genre with delightful decorative effects, jokes, and character glitches.

Monday, Dec. 8

Battlestar Galactica (Sci Fi Channel, 9-11 p.m., continues Tuesday, 9-11 p.m.): The intense four-hour miniseries picks up where the show left off (see DVD review, page 20). Its tone is edgier - more "Aliens" than "Star Trek" - and the premise more complicated than the show's predecessor. The world is destroyed by a robot race, and the humans able to escape are left with only 50,000 of their kind to rebuild the species on some distant planet. Could this be the beginning of a new series? Mary McDonnell is the president of the space colony, and Edward James Olmos stars as the military commander. Both are wonderful. There are other cool changes to the staff: Starbuck is now a woman!

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