The networks are in rerun mode now, so think of this as your big chance to find out what’s on Fox. Hey, come on, we just kid Fox because we love 'em.
Actually, summer is the time for cable TV to pick up the slack and to prove it’s worth paying for, so let’s take a look at what they’ve got this week.
-- It’s steamy, ribald, often shocking, often funny and sometimes even poignant. It’s “Sex and the City” (9 p.m. EDT/PDT, Sunday) back for its third season on HBO. Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall head an ensemble of single, professional Manhattanites happily weeding through as many Mr. Wrongs as it takes to one day find Mr. Right. Women can usually relate pretty well, as these well drawn and varied characters always seem to be either picking up the broken pieces of their last relationships, or generating the broken pieces of the latest one. And for us men in the audience, “Sex and the City” can be frighteningly educational.
-- Of course, we realize that there must be a great segue from the manhunters above to this next item, but we’re going to ignore that and just jump right into “Quest for the Giant Squid” (9 p.m. EDT/PDT, Sunday, Discovery Channel). This is a one-hour documentary with an intriguing premise. We know that giant squid actually do exist in the deep, deep ocean because dead ones turn up in fishing nets all the time. But apparently no one has ever seen one alive, ever. Enter intrepid squid seeker and marine biologist Clyde Roper, his supercool one-man sub, Deep Rover, and a documentary film crew. If anybody can film this not-so-mythical beastie, alive, it should be this guy, right? “Quest” is a pretty entertaining hour, in the tradition of Discovery’s ratings giant “Raising the Mammoth,” but it does have one little problem. They don’t actually find any squid. Call us old-fashioned, but we would actually like to see a giant squid or two in our giant squid programming.
-- Outstanding actress and Oscar winner Holly Hunter gives another outstanding performance in “Harlan County War” (9 p.m. EDT/PDT, Sunday, Showtime). This well-written drama about coal miners in Kentucky striking over unsafe working conditions is a good example of premium cable putting its best foot forward. It’s gritty, intelligent and not flashy in the least. Network made-for-TV movies are never this good.
-- Meanwhile, on the other side of the world and the other end of the spectrum, Fox presents “Britney in Hawaii” (9 p.m. EDT/PDT, Wednesday). Twenty thousand screaming teens can’t be wrong, right? Well, what difference does it make, really? Britney Spears sings, she dances, she swims with dolphins, her new album “Oops! ... I Did It Again” recently debuted at No. 1, and she’s just red hot in general.
-- And finally this week, no one puts on more entertaining award shows than MTV. It seems to be able to avoid all the down time that plagues most award shows, cutting right to the glitz, glamour and fluff -- you know, the stuff we really want to see. So when the 2000 MTV Movie Awards (hosted by the aforementioned Sarah Jessica Parker) airs Thursday at 9 p.m. EDT/PDT, expect it to rock. By the way, tonight brings Broadway's Tony Awards (8 p.m. EDT/PDT, PBS; 9 p.m. EDT/PDT, CBS), as hosted by Rosie O'Donnell, but be honest, who really cares?