General News

CHANNEL SURFER: Tributes to Eastwood, Willis

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Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

Just a little bit longer, one week actually, before the miracle of autumn, when TV starts anew, like fresh flowers growing out of the compost pile you keep out back. Can you smell it? Mmm … compost. In the meantime … um … well, the Olympic Games are still on. Only 220.75 hours to go. Apparently you aren't watching the tape delayed archery contests as much as in past Olympics, and we (and a few folks at NBC) find that a little disturbing. Come on, people! We medaled in the 10-meter BB gun (sorry, air rifle) competition. Surely that's interesting! U-S-A! U-S-A! Hello?!

It's "PBS Week" at Channel Surfer, and that means one thing: Day and time may vary in your area! The festivities begin (for most of you) on Sunday with "Debating Our Destiny." Ever wonder why leading presidential candidates hate debating with third party candidates on TV? It's because the last thing you want, as a leading presidential candidate, is to have somebody talking about actual issues in a televised debate! Now, PBS' venerable news anchor, Jim Lehrer, throws all that out the window by bringing in 11 former candidates (including former President Bush) who no longer have everything to gain by not saying anything. And guess what? These guys can be very forthcoming and aren't nearly as stupid as they pretend to be when courting your vote. This one is illuminating, frustrating and worth watching. Tuesday is "Supernatural Night"! "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" kicks off its fifth season (8 p.m. on the WB) when Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) squares off against a perennial player in the vampire set, Dracula. Should make for an interesting feud. "Buffy" is followed by the second season premiere of its darker spin-off, "Angel," at 9 p.m. The repentant vampire, Angel (David Boreanaz) starts off the new season on the wrong foot when he mistakenly kills a demon that turns out to have been a good guy who had been protecting a mysterious woman. Angel tries to make good and takes over this job, only to find out that this woman (Justina Machado) has serious unresolved issues with the hell spawn crowd. Rounding out the evening, and continuing to fight the good fight in educating Americans about the ever present space aliens among us, "Danger in Our Skies: The New UFO Threat" airs on UPN at 9 p.m. Sure it's a repeat, but can we ever really get enough UFO shows?

Wednesday offers dueling tributes to butt-kickin' movie stars. PBS' "American Masters" anthology series (8 p.m., but of course day and time might vary) has Morgan Freeman narrating "Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows." Study the exploits of Dirty Harry and watch the metamorphosis of Eastwood's "Man With No Name" character from the stylized violence of the Sergio Leone-directed Westerns of the 1960s to the aged and wiser Will Muny of Eastwood's own Oscar-winning "Unforgiven" in 1992.

Trying hard to beat the Eastwood tribute will be TNT with "Hollywood Salutes Bruce Willis: An American Cinematheque Tribute" at 8 p.m.. This will be a clip-filled ceremony taped at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with presentations and appearances by friends and colleagues such as Paul Reiser, Kevin Pollack, David Letterman, Samuel L. Jackson, Haley Joel Osment, Larry King and the guy who gave Willis that first big break, "Moonlighting" creator Glenn Gordon Caron.

One question: If it's "American," then what the heck is "Cinematheque"? Oops, gotta go. Olympic lawn darts is on MSNBC! U-S-A! U-S-A!

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