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TV Smarts

July 29, 1999

Some broadcast and cable programs contain material included in the public school curriculum and on standardized examinations. Here are home-viewing tips:

* Today--"Nightline in Primetime: Brave New World" (KABC 10-11 p.m.) First in a summer series of eight documentary specials about science and society. Tonight, host Robert Krulwich and Harvard professor Stephen Jay Gould examine why speed is an obsession. Upcoming episodes look at jazz, robots, penguins and Voltaire's short stories.

* Friday--"Animal I.Q.: Socially Smart" (DISC 7-8 p.m.) Documentary on how animals convey information.

* Saturday--"Dance Theater of Harlem: Creole Giselle" (Bravo 3-5 p.m.) Ballet production based on 19th century French composer Adolphe Adam's score and traditional choreography of the period, but with the action set in the Louisiana Bayou where the Creole caste system is practiced.

* Sunday--"Intimate Universe: Brain Power" (TLC 9-10 p.m.) A look at the human brain, magnifying the electrical impulses and chemical processes that mark its neural network. Followed at 10 p.m. by "Intimate Universe: As Time Goes By," about how the body ages. Series concludes Monday at 9 p.m. with "Intimate Universe: Life's Last Chapter" about death, and "The Making of Intimate Universe: The Human Body" at 10 p.m.

* Monday--"Thanks" (KCBS 8:30-9 p.m.) Premiere of six-episode summer comedy series about pilgrims adapting to life in the New World. Based on historical accounts of Polly and James Winthrop, founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, who dealt with issues that have remarkable similarities to those of modern life. Starring Tim Dutton, Kirsten Nelson and Cloris Leachman. Also, "The Strange Case of Lizzie Borden" (HIST 9-10 p.m.) Documentary on the most famous matricide and patricide in American history, committed in Fall River, Mass., just over 100 years ago.

* Tuesday--"Between Heaven and Hell" (AMC 11 p.m.-midnight) A look at how Hollywood has dramatized biblical ideas about the afterlife, depending on a character's piety or sinfulness.

* Wednesday--"Indochine" (Bravo, 5-8 p.m.) Movie about Vietnam under colonial rule during the 1930s won the 1992 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. It attempts to show why the French and Americans lost control of the country. Catherine Deneuve stars. Available on video.

Compiled by Richard Kahlenberg in consultation with Crystal J. Gips, associate director for teacher education, Cal State University. Columns available at www.latimes.com/tvsmarts.

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