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Highlights

Turn On, Tune In Or Miss Out

Golden nuggets about California; a big tale of Texas on TNT; the Globe salutes TV, film stars

January 18, 1998|BEN ELDER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sunday

"California and the Dream Seekers" / 5 and 9 p.m. A&E

This four-hour, two-part special (concluding Monday) coincides with the 150th anniversary of California statehood and looks at the contradictory promise of the Golden State: boom and bust, dreams and disappointment, ideal climate and cataclysmic changes in the weather. Through it all, California has always represented glamour, magic, hope and opportunity. Edward James Olmos narrates, weaving together the major stories about the seemingly limitless potential that continues to draw people here.

****

"Two for Texas" / 5, 7 and 9 p.m. TNT

Kris Kristofferson and Scott Bairstow star as misfit escapees from a Louisiana prison in the days of Texas' fight for independence from Mexico. They join Sam Houston's Texas Volunteer Army to disappear in a crowd. But the two common men soon find themselves transformed into war heroes in avenging Mexico's attack on the Alamo. Tom Skerritt, Peter Coyote and Irene Bedard also star.

****

"The 55th Annual Golden Globe Awards" / 8 p.m. NBC

It's like the Emmys and Oscars rolled into one Beverly Hills party: The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. selects favorites in 11 television and 13 movie categories and honors Shirley MacLaine (nominated for 11 Golden Globes, winning five) with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for her distinguished five-decade career.

****

"Masterpiece Theatre" / 9 p.m. KCET

"Reckless," a smart and funny six-hour series from "Cracker" writer Paul Abbott, follows the plight of a young surgeon (Robson Green) who is as crazed over a management consultant (Francesca Annis) as she is underwhelmed by him. Complicating matters is the fact that she's his boss' wife. Nevertheless, through trysts, treachery and trouble, romance finds a way.

Monday

"Fifteen and Pregnant" / 9 p.m. Lifetime

The Spangler family is already straining under the weight of an impending divorce. Then, 15-year-old Tina brings news that exacerbates family tensions: She's pregnant. Embarrassment causes her siblings to withdraw, while her parents, already beset by marital discord, clash over opposing views of adoption. Clearly, the Spanglers have a lot to learn about the true meaning of what it is to be a family over the next nine months--and beyond. Kirsten Dunst ("Interview With the Vampire") and Park Overall ("Empty Nest") star.

Tuesday

"Dawson's Creek" / 9 p.m. WB

The buzz is that producer/writer Kevin Williamson ("I Know What You Did Last Summer," "Scream" and "Scream 2") has a feel for what connects with teen audiences. While "Dawson's Creek" is not a thriller, neither is it just for the under-20 crowd. It's a growing-up tale of four New England teens dealing with love, friendship, family, school and sex--not necessarily in that order. The WB hopes it will trigger identification for teens and memories for parents.

Wednesday

"Great Performances" / 9 p.m. KCET

After triumphant productions in Toronto and Los Angeles, the musical stage adaptation of E.L. Doctorow's "Ragtime" moved on to New York and promises to be one of the major events of the coming Broadway season. Whoopi Goldberg hosts this behind-the-scenes documentary showing what it took to bring "Ragtime" to Broadway--including building a new theater from two existing landmark 42nd Street houses.

Saturday

"America's Endangered Species: Don't Say Goodbye" / 8 p.m. NBC

This National Geographic special, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Federal Endangered Species Act, follows Susan Middleton and David Liitschwager, who gave up their work as New York commercial photographers to shoot (with cameras) and preserve many near-extinct creatures never captured on film. In addition to the duo's 11-year, cross-country crusade, there are stories about other individuals with unique connections to saving species: a former Los Angeles gang member, a biologist searching for medicines from plants and a mountain man who saved a species single-handedly. James Woods narrates.

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