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Archive for Monday, January 29, 2001

Scholars ponder sunken city

January 29, 2001

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Billy Zane ("Titanic") just can't stay out of the water. He's on hand to narrate "Ancient Earthquakes, Sunken Cities" (8 p.m., Discovery), a provocative archaeological detective story. What destroyed the ancient city of Alexandria? Underwater cameras reveal a jumble of Roman, Greek and Egyptian ruins, including massive columns, statues, ordinary artifacts and a king's ransom of gold coins and jewelry dating from the eighth century A.D. Combining historical accounts by Roman and Arabic scholars with the latest geological expertise, scientists try to determine whether flood, earthquake or tidal wave put the wrecking ball to the city's magnificent lighthouse and other wonders.

While rich in haunting and beautiful photography, "Sunken" suffers from repetitive narration.

l Eric's worries about Mary leave him blind to the surprise party being planned in his honor on the 100th episode of "7th Heaven" (7 p.m., WB). If you're a fan of this family-friendly drama, don't miss tonight's show, in which more than 100 actors who have appeared on "Heaven" over the years appear to fete the ever-thoughtful Rev. Camden.

l Even the most casual jazz buffs have to consider Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue," and John Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" to be essential albums. Tonight's installment of "Jazz" (8 p.m., PBS, part nine of 10), covers the last half of the 1950s, when both Davis and Coltrane were at their most popular, when Davis continued his lifelong experiment with new sounds and Coltrane began to use his music to evoke a powerful spirituality.

Many fans of the music are a little saddened to see producer Ken Burns reduce the last 45 years of jazz history to the last two episodes of "Jazz."

In fact, in Wednesday night's finale, he compresses the last 40 years into an hour or so with a lot of time spent on the deaths of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Contemporary musicians are none too pleased.

Tonight's other highlights

l A lawyer (Jim Carrey) is compelled to tell the truth in the 1997 comedy, "Liar, Liar" (7 p.m., ABC).

l "Antiques Roadshow" (7 p.m., PBS) travels to Charleston, S.C., for the next three weeks.

l Ray's cluelessness as a husband ruins his Super Bowl experience on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (8 p.m., CBS).

l Scheduled on "Dateline" (8 p.m., NBC): new evidence about infant twins sold on the Internet.

l Debating the fate of conjoined twins on "Family Law" (9 p.m., CBS).

l Parents oppose an operation that will end their child's deafness on "Gideon's Crossing" (9 p.m., ABC).

Series notes

Doug covets a fancy TV set on "King of Queens" (7 p.m., CBS) ... Parents are ready to hear the worst about their daughter's disappearance on "Mysterious Ways" (7 p.m., NBC) ... School politics make strange bedfellows on "Boston Public" (7 p.m., Fox) ... Matchmaking misses the mark on "Moesha" (7 p.m., UPN).

Greg resents Jimmy's old pal on "Yes, Dear" (7:30 p.m., CBS) ... Cheerleaders on "The Parkers" (7:30 p.m., UPN).

Wayne Newton guest stars on "Ally McBeal" (8 p.m., Fox) ... Darryl becomes politically motivated on "The Hughleys" (8 p.m., UPN) ... The FBI fires Valenti on "Roswell" (8 p.m., WB).

A peculiar inheritance on "Becker" (8:30 p.m., CBS) ... Joan horns in on Maya's special moment on "Girlfriends" (8:30 p.m., UPN) ... Sully is accused of faking evidence on "Third Watch" (9 p.m., NBC).

Late night

The first "Survivor" reject appears on "Late Show With David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS).

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