Saturday May 14
Classical Baby (HBO, 7:30-8 p.m.): This animated special is designed for babies and toddlers (but charming for the family). A baby conducts an orchestra of animals while colors, shapes, and basic forms taken from lofty works of visual art and dance glide along to music by conductors from Bach to Berlin. My favorite: A Monet backdrop to a mother frog giving baby a swimming lesson to music by Erik Satie.
Alien Planet (Discovery, 8-10 p.m.): What would life look like if it really existed on other planets? Exciting, weird, and scientifically informed speculations by top scientists take us to the fictional planet Darwin IV where the atmosphere is denser than that of Earth, and where creatures have evolved to suit their terrain. We hear from physicist Stephen Hawking and many others as the fabulous world unfolds.
Monday May 16
Hercules (NBC, 8-11 p.m.): A more or less politically correct version of the story of the demigod hero is filled with feats of derring-do. Paul Telfer plays the legendary hero, Leelee Sobieski stars as his kindly nymph, Elizabeth Perkins as his hateful mum, and Timothy Dalton as his elegant stepdad. Yes, it's a bit cartoonish but the story is engrossing enough to cover a multitude of cinematic sins.
Gilmore Girls (WB, 8-9 p.m.): The fifth season finale of this popular series finds Lorelai (Lauren Graham) bewildered by her daughter and her parents at the same time. When Rory (Alexis Bledel) gets into trouble with the law, it's her mom who helps her out. But when Rory makes another foolish decision, the grandparents stand behind her. Fans may find this the most poignant episode so far.