Monday, January 26, 2004

TV's best bets

Gannett News Service


Traffic, 9 p.m., USA Network. Continues Tuesday and Wednesday.

At first, viewers will find this miniseries perplexing. It borrows its title from the movie (and from a British miniseries), but has different characters and stories.

And those are introduced in a jumpy style. Traffic leaps between stories, rarely lingering for long.

There's a temptation to switch channels but try to resist. Once Traffic gets rolling, it's terrific.

In Afghanistan we meet a Drug Enforcement Agency agent (Elias Koteas) on a rogue mission. In Seattle, his wife (Mary McCormack) and son try to adjust to a new home.

Meanwhile, a young businessman (Balthazar Getty) has gone bust. He reluctantly works at his dad's company, which is tangled in shaky shipping deals.

One deal went horribly wrong, when illegal immigrants drowned. A widower (superbly played by Cliff Curtis of Whale Rider) tries to learn what happened.

This is a powerful, passionate story. Stick with it because it keeps getting better.

Other shows worth watching

Armageddon (1998), 8 p.m., Channels 9, 2. As an asteroid streaks toward Earth, wildcat oil drillers try to save mankind. Bruce Willis stars with Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton and Liv Tyler.

Antiques Roadshow, 8 p.m., Channels 16, 48. The show begins a three-part visit to San Francisco.

Eve, 8:30 p.m., Channel 25. Missy Elliott guest stars as herself. She's one of the people Shelly (Eve) tells confidential details about J.T.

Everybody Loves Raymond, 9 p.m., Channels 12, 7. This rerun has Chris Elliott returning to his hilarious role as Amy's nasty brother. He moves in with Robert and Amy, causing general dismay.

Las Vegas, 9 p.m., Channels 5, 22. A power outage paralyzes the casino while a killer is loose. Nessa and Delinda search for the killer and Sam turns paranoid. Meanwhile, Danny and Mary are trapped in an elevator and Mike and Ed are trapped in the surveillance room.

My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance, 9 p.m., Channels 19, 45. Last week, Randi learned the basics in this new reality show. She'll win a fortune if she convinces her family and friends to attend her wedding to a stranger. Still, the trick is also on her. She thinks her fake fiance is just another reality-show civilian. Instead, he's an actor hired to upset people. Tonight, they meet the wedding planner.

Average Joe: Hawaii, 10 p.m., Channels 5, 22. For eight average guys, the good news last week was that none were eliminated. The bad news was that eight new guys - all of them way above average, physically - were added. Tonight, the old and new guys start to compete.

'Rings' grabs three Golden Globes
Catacoustic Consort excels at new 'old' music
A chimp, a rant, and a free pass
'Butterfly Effect' takes top spot from 'Polly'
TV's best bets
Nicholson's will host Burns Dinner

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Boxing delivers a real knockout of a workout
Fit bits: Ways to stay active and healthy
Dumbbells provide options while healing