Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Best bets: What's on television tonight

Gannett News Service


Ed and The West Wing, 8 and 9 p.m., Channels 5, 22. Expect tonight's West Wing to be compelling. The interim president (John Goodman) orders retaliation, convinced that the kidnapped Zoey Bartlet will be killed anyway.

The happy surprise, however, is in Ed. This episode is fresh, clever and distinctive. Ed's cousin is making a documentary and the entire episode is seen through his lens. The guys at the bowling alley act up, of course. The best bits, however, come from Mike, who insists Ed's live-in romance with Carol will fade quickly. Mike's wife, Nancy, finds that cynical. There are great moments, as they debate anything from skim milk to sex frequency.

What's new

It's All Relative, 8:30 p.m., Channels 9, 2. Here's a "Romeo and Juliet" romance for the modern age. He's from a Boston pub; she's from Harvard. He grew up in a tough, blue-collar family. She was raised by two urbane and sophisticated gay men. At times, the characters are overdone. Still, there are enough sharp laughs to keep us going.

Karen Sisco, 10 p.m., Channels 9, 2. Sleek and stylish, this may be the best-looking show on TV. It also has a great central character. Karen Sisco (Carla Gugino) is a tough federal marshall who likes her work, her dad and sexy guys. Tonight, she has a passionate affair with a stranger (Patrick Dempsey). The result has a strong impact.

Season premieres

Angel, 9 p.m., Channels 64, 26. The new season begins with Angel and his friends running the law firm, juggling good intentions and evil clients. There are a few action scenes plus lots of humor that's smartly written and perfectly played.

King of Queens, 9 p.m., Channels 12, 7. This series starts its season in a new time slot. In the first episode, Doug gets all the attention because of his weight loss. In the second, he and Carrie try a romantic weekend in the woods.

Other shows worth watching

My Wife and Kids, 8 p.m., Channels 9, 2. Two former In Living Color colleagues combine when David Alan Grier urges Damon Wayans to try a hair-growth pill.

The Blues: Warming by the Devil's Fire, 9-11 p.m., Channels, 48, 54, 16. Movie director Charles Burnett grew up in Mississippi to the sound of blues. Now he has a tale of a Southern kid torn between gospel and blues. Fictional scenes are juggled with classic footage of Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Bessie Smith, Son House, Big Bill Broonzy and more.

The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire, 10 p.m., Channels 12, 7. Last week's opener had Dottie (Mare Winningham) mourning the loss of the town's only cultural asset, an art-movie theater. Meanwhile, her husband's brother (Garrett, the mayor) may tell his wife about his affair.

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