Are we doomed by first impressions? If Lou Grant had never uttered those fateful words, "I hate spunk," would Ed Asner have been spared a career of playing ornery but ultimately loveable cranks?
"Out of the Woods" (7 p.m. today, Hallmark) offers Asner another chance to act prickly, gruff and wise. This time he's Jack, an eccentric grandfather who is estranged from his materialistic grown daughter (Mel Harris, "thirtysomething"). She becomes alarmed when she discovers that Jack has moved to a remote cabin in the woods and plans to squander the family fortune on the purchase of 1,200 wooded acres -- land he intends to donate to the American Indian tribe that used to own it.
She files a legal motion to stop Jack's scheme and dispatches her son Matt (Jason London) to serve the papers. While well along on the partner track at his law firm, Matt seems none too happy. His girlfriend, the boss' daughter, is a whining princess who is already conspiring with Matt's mom to rope him into a posh wedding and a life of excessive credit card bills.
If you don't think Matt is going to learn a few valuable nuggets from Jack, you haven't seen enough TV movies. And this one lays on the lessons with a thick side order of ham and stereotypes. Jack quotes Persian poetry and American Indian lore, and even undergoes a sweat lodge ceremony or two while imparting truths from his life's "journey" to his hapless grandson. Help yourself.
- Carl Franklin is profiled on "The Directors" (10 a.m., Encore).
- The final four contend in the NCAA Basketball Tournament (7 p.m., CBS).
- An encounter with Indians on "Little House on the Prairie" (7 p.m., ABC).
- Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino star in the 2002 sequel "Spy Kids 2" (8 p.m., ABC).
- Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (6 p.m., CBS): an interview with Jane Fonda; questionable spending for anti-terror efforts.
- Another palooka hits the mat on "The Contender" (7 p.m., NBC).
- Charity in the Pelican State on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (7 p.m., ABC).
- Comatose Mama Solis shows signs of change on "Desperate Housewives" (8 p.m., ABC).
- Witness protection falls short on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (8 p.m., NBC).
- A baby in need on "Grey's Anatomy" (9 p.m., ABC).