On the eve of the Republican convention in Philadelphia, MTV gives viewers "Choose or Lose: Why Care" (9 p.m., Sunday). The show takes a documentary look at the political apathy shared by people 18-24. Apparently only 32 percent of people in that age bracket voted in the 1996 election compared to 65 percent of people over 45. MTV's Choose or Lose Street Team members, including Gideon Yago, Erica Terry, Julia Melania Mejia Pena and Jason Bellini have been covering the presidential race since before the New Hampshire primary.
For this film they spoke with more than 50 young people in 16 states, and from the looks of the kids on this film, politics and voting are not exactly high on anyone's agenda. The documentary begins with a sarcastic young man offering a bleeped-out rant of obscenities and then saying that's what American freedom means to him. None of the young people shown on camera could identify their congressional representatives and most expressed a resignation about any connection between their lives and the political process. At the same time, a few of them had very definite opinions about AIDS, education, taxes and gun control. In fact, several stated that they were more likely to serve their country in combat than vote. Candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush appear briefly, but more time is devoted to Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, who it is said inspired a high turnout of young voters.
In addition, there is a brief segment in which the Goo Goo Dolls' Johnny Rzeznik spends a busy day with U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and a little film by the members of 98 Degrees showing viewers how easy it is to register to vote. Despite the obvious energy and good intentions of the Street Team, this documentary tends to reinforce negative stereotypes of young people as inarticulate slackers, and does not depict any of the thousands of people under 25 working in the current election campaign, or canvassing as activists, etc. It seems silly, and a tad condescending to send a rock star to Sen. Kennedy's office when he probably has dozens of young staff members or interns who better reflect the intelligence and energy of MTV's audience.
- Featuring spectacular footage and awesome tales of eruption and destruction, "Lava Hunters" (7 p.m., TLC, Sunday, TV-G) celebrates intrepid volcanologists, including French author Jacques Durieux. These are people who put on special suits and actually climb into lethal craters to study the movement of lava. The documentary spans the globe from Iceland to Indonesia to demonstrate how volcanic eruptions are forming some of the world's newest islands and how cooling lava flows have given way to some of the planet's most unique habitats for birds, lichen and wild flowers.
- U.S. Gymnastic Championships airs (7 p.m., NBC).
- Johnny Depp stars as a father caught in an assassination plot in the 1995 thriller, "Nick of Time" (7 p.m., ABC, TV-14). The action unfolds in real time.
- Scheduled on "The Great Outdoor Games" (7 p.m., ESPN): tree topping, bass fishing and more.
- A wandering magician amazes passersby on the streets of Nashville, New Orleans, New York and Memphis as well as the dusty byways of Haiti and Brazil in the startling repeat special, "David Blaine: Magic Man" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
- A compilation of past performances by Blondie, Motley Crue, Live and Sammy Hagar on "Hard Rock Live" (11 p.m., VH1, TV-PG).
- Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (6 p.m., CBS): NBA star Dikembe Mutombo returns to the Congo; the fate of Gardiner's Island; banned from public schools.
- The voices of Michael J. Fox and Sally Field are featured in "Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco" on "The Wonderful World of Disney" (6 p.m., ABC, TV-G).
- Scheduled on "Geraldo Rivera Reports" (7 p.m., NBC): a look at Las Vegas.
- Tales of shipwrecks, plane crashes and remarkable endurance on "True Survivors" on "National Geographic Explorer" (7 p.m., CNBC).
- Meredith Baxter, Tom Conti and Cari Shayne star in the 1997 TV drama, "The Inheritance" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-G), based on a novel by Louisa May Alcott.
- Rivals (Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes) wake from a deep freeze in the year 2032 in the 1993 thriller, "Demolition Man" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
- Ellenor believes that her client is mentally incompetent on a repeat of "The Practice" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14, L, V).