Wednesday, October 20, 2004

TV Best Bets

Gannett News Service


The West Wing, 8 p.m. and (season-opener) 9 p.m., Channels 5, 2.

Last season ended with a jolt when a bomb struck an American motorcade in the Gaza Strip. Donna (Janel Moloney) was hospitalized; Josh (Bradley Whitford) rushed to see her.

If you missed that hour, catch the rerun at 8 p.m. Then settle in for the opener at 9.

That will include Donna's medical crisis and the instinct for the United States to retaliate. It will spark an emphasis, early this season, on an Israel-Palestine peace plan.

"That's based on plans that were almost approved in the last years of the Clinton administration," says producer John Wells.

The season's other big emphasis is the race to replace the lame-duck president. In West Wing time, the primaries are just beginning. Democratic candidates include the vice president (Gary Cole) and a former Houston mayor (Jimmy Smits). The Republicans have a California senator (Alan Alda) who's a moderate.

Wells expects no reruns this years. There will be nine straight new episodes, a Christmas break and then 13 more.

Worth watching

Lost, 8 p.m., Channels 9, 22. We learn more about the background of Jack (Matthew Fox) the doctor who has become a leader of the survivors. As he wanders through the jungle, he flashes back to his boyhood.

Broadway: The American Musical, 9-11 p.m., Channels 48, 16; concludes Thursday. As the Depression darkened, Broadway folks went in opposite directions. Cole Porter was in denial, with glitter and joy. Others addressed the darkness typified by the Broadway song, "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" Tonight's first hour ends with Irving Berlin and preparations for World War II. The second starts with the 1943 Oklahoma, changing storytelling. It continues through the triumph of My Fair Lady and the impact of TV's The Ed Sullivan Show.

The Bachelor, 9 p.m., Channels 9, 22. After taking a week off for the debate, this show is back with eight women remaining.

King of Queens season-opener, 9 p.m., Channels

12, 7. After twice being scheduled and then delayed, this above-average comedy starts its season. Doug plans to treat Carrie. He's hoping she'll let him go on a guy weekend to Las Vegas.

Center of the Universe, 9:30 p.m., Channels 12, 7. Rarely has this much star power been packed into a show that's so dull. John Goodman and Jean Smart play a happily married couple, surrounded by his odd parents (Ed Asner, Olympia Dukakis) and siblings (Melinda McGraw, Diedrich Bader). Most of the supporting characters are silly cliches. Asner didn't get his row of Emmys by doing lame sexual-potency jokes like these.

CSI: NY, 10 p.m., Channels 12, 7. An award-winning hip-hop DJ has been killed.

Law & Order, 10 p.m., Channels 5, 2. Two cops are killed after someone puts information on the Internet.

Some workplaces extend a welcome

Wong adds warmth to Chinese cuisine
Beer pairings
What Polly learned in cooking class
Halloween goodies
Don't be intimidated; just say cheese
Sips: Wine
Teach kids to create yummy fun
Making treats easy trick

Broadway vet LuPone sings love

Review: Kombat boosts power
Yeah Yeah Yeahs show why they rock
Religion, fashion often at odds
Hosts exchange nasty barbs

Anthony credits cop for success
Etheridge undergoes cancer surgery
Olsen twin can't avoid spotlight

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TV Best Bets