Monday, October 6, 2003

TV best bets

Gannett News Service


Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip, 9-11 p.m., Channels 48, 16. As the 20th century began, America was a nation of horses. It had 14 million of them, compared to 8,000 cars. It had 150 miles of paved roads and few people went more than 12 miles from home.

In 1903, Horatio Jackson - a 31-year-old doctor who had retired for health reasons - made a remarkable bet. He would drive from San Francisco to New York City in less than three months.

He bought a car for a then staggering $3,000 and hired a young bike repairman to be his driver and mechanic. The troubles began.

Tires kept being re-patched and re-pumped. Batteries didn't work. The car got stuck in mud, sand and riverbeds. Jackson kept getting lost; key things - his glasses, his luggage, car parts - fell off during bumps and disappeared.

Still, Jackson made it, causing a national sensation. Filmmaker Ken Burns and writer Dayton Duncan tell the story with a sense of history and - refreshing for PBS - humor.

What's new

Worlds Apart, 8 p.m., National Geographic Channel. Here's a reality show with a heart and a brain. It has privileged Americans spend a week or so in a different world. Tonight, the Russells - bright and likable people from Birmingham, Ala. - move into a hut in Ghana. Their 12-year-old daughter gets extremely sick then snaps back; their 15-year-old son marvels at a life in which women seem to do all the work. It's a strong start to a promising series.

Other shows worth watching

Intimate Portrait, 7 p.m., Lifetime. Vanessa Marcil has had troubles, this special says, including a decade of alcoholism. She's also been a popular actress on General Hospital and Beverly Hills, 90210. Now she's settled down with a fiance (Brian Austin Green), a son and a new role. As the wheeler-dealer Samantha Jane she's one of the bright spots in NBC's so-so Las Vegas.

Buff Brides, 8 p.m., Discovery Health Channel. Each week, the show will trace two women, as they spend three or four months slimming down for their weddings.

Still Standing, 8:30 p.m., Channels 12, 7. Judy's leadership days in the PTA might be doomed.

Everybody Loves Raymond, 9 p.m., Channels 12, 7. When his son keeps claiming to be sick, Ray takes him to work.

Las Vegas, 9 p.m., Channels 5, 22. There are fresh complications for Danny (Josh Duhamel), when his boss' daughter (Molly Sims) suddenly breaks up with him.

Killer Instinct: From the Files of Agent Candice DeLong, 9-11 p.m., Lifetime. The real-life Candice DeLong is a fascinating subject. A former nurse, she became a top FBI profiler, working on the Unabomber and Tylenol cases. Jean Smart gives a brilliant performance, as usual.

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