Tonight's heavy with recommended shows, but topping the list is another inventive "X-Files" (9:00 p.m. EST/PST, Fox). In one of the more inspired "crossovers" of the season, the episode follows an intrepid camera crew from another long-time Fox staple, the reality-based "COPS," as they hook up with a couple of FBI agents looking for a werewolf in Los Angeles.
Just when you think they may be running out of steam, and rumors that the show won't be back next season might be a merciful thing after all, "The X-Files" reminds you that it's still one of the most clever and entertaining hours on TV.
-- Have you seen the new 2Gether video "U+Me=Us"?! 2 cool! MTV's first-ever made-for-TV movie "2Gether" (8 p.m. EST, MTV) gives the "Spinal Tap" treatment to the boy-band genre. And if the above-mentioned video is any indication, it's 2 fun-E, and 4U2B… oh forget it. Kevin Farley, brother of the late prat-falling dynamo Chris, stars as the band member who doesn't quite fit the traditional boy-band mold. You can check out the hype and see the video for "U+Me=Us (Calculus)" by tuning into the network's "Total Request Live" be-in, Monday at 3:30 p.m. EST. One more cool thing: MTV's planning to run "2Gether" like a real-live movie -- sans commercials. (Well, unless you consider all MTV programming to be one, big-long commercial.)
-- Speaking of music …Many people over the years have laid claim to the label "Creator of Rock n' Roll." Few have as strong a case as Little Richard. Sometime in the early 1950s, when soulful rhythm-and-blues music took a sideways turn and really started to rock, Little Richard's piano was the main reason. And now for his contributions he gets the ultimate tribute -- a TV biopic. Robert Townsend ("The Five Heartbeats") directs the two hour "Little Richard" (9 p.m. EST/PST, tonight). Richard's story features the same highs and lows as most VH-1 documentaries, but with the added drama of being a black man who sold millions of records worth of the most overtly sexual music white people had ever heard in pre-civil rights America. Expect, at the very least, to hear some great tunes and to see a man standing on stage in a metallic Speedo decades before anybody else would ever again think, "Hey, this'll look really cool!"
-- PBS amps up the action in a testosterone-driven "Masterpiece Theatre" (no, really). "All the King's Men" (9 p.m. EST/PST, tonight) draws a rare TV-MA rating for depicting the intense and somewhat grisly real story behind the legendary battlefield disappearance "in a golden cloud" of a British regiment in WWI Gallipoli. David Jason ("A Touch of Frost") stars as the big hearted but dutiful, "ours is not to reason why…"-type commander.
-- Also tonight, TBS is re-running the 1995 Rob Reiner film "The American President" (at 8:05 p.m. EST). You may find it interesting for two reasons. The first, it's a good movie. The second, this film was the spawning ground for a lot of the better things on television in recent years. See, it's a big-hearted, soft- and-squishy, romantic kind of movie, set in a place (the White House) we tend to associate with somewhat un-squishy words like "sex scandal," and "Def-Con 5." As a result, the movie made a lot of people say, "Hey, there just might be a TV show in there somewhere." The first show to come (unofficially) out of "The American President" was ABC's "Spin City," in which Michael J. Fox, who steals a few scenes "President" in a supporting role, basically reprises his character in sitcom-form, working this time for the Mayor of New York. But perhaps the biggest score from "President," was the courting of writer Aaron Sorkin by the networks. The results, so far, are the critically acclaimed but ratings challenged "Sports Night" (9:30 p.m. EST/PST, Tuesday, ABC) and, the most direct descendant of this film, "The West Wing" (9 p.m. EST/PST, Wednesday, NBC.) "President" also features Martin Sheen -- who went on to score a big promotion in "West Wing."
-- Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST/PST on UPN, "I Dare You: The Ultimate Challenge," a show that once proudly boasted "...So we decided to crash an airplane into the back of a semi!," pits host Evel Knievel in a bit of a ratings battle with son Robbie, who a night later over at Fox will be seen jumping his motorcycle lengthwise over a speeding train ("Robbie Knievel: Head-on Train Jump," 9 p.m. EST/PST, Wednesday). With Fox brass recently declaring that they'll be leaning toward more "high brow" fare in the future, this week's showdown between people (and networks) who like to crash stuff may soon be a thing of the past. (We won't hold our breath.)
-- A couple of quick notes… For the more discerning music aficionado, the Learning Channel offers some insights into a hugely influential record producer who worked with pretty much everyone from The Beatles to The Ramones, in "Rock n' Roll Genius Phil Spector" (10 p.m. EST/PST, Saturday)… For fans of the long-running and previously mentioned "COPS" (8 p.m. EST/PST, Saturday, Fox), the Discovery Channel is running episodes of its more-studied hour-long documentary "Real LAPD" every night this week, starting Monday at 8 p.m. EST/PST. ...
And finally, a point of interest for readers who are either dog lovers or, um, males age 18-34… The USA network's delayed airing of its ratings juggernaut "WWF Raw Is War" late-night last Monday still handily beat the primetime numbers for its replacement, "The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show." For those who must know, the dog competition was won by a Brittany Spaniel who upset a rather eccentrically coifed Poodle -- the heavy favorite among Las Vegas oddsmakers. (No kidding). In the spirit of "Raw Is War," the spaniel won the competition when his trainer attacked the poodle with a folding chair when the judge's back was turned. (Okay, now, we're kidding.)