Looking for smart, rewarding television? "Canterbury Tales" offers four character studies over four weekends, very loosely based on Chaucer's 14th-century poem. Julie Walters ("Billy Elliot") is nothing short of brilliant as "The Wife of Bath" (7 p.m. today, BBC America). In this modern retelling, she's Beth Craddock, the 53-year-old star of a popular soap opera. Brash, bawdy and never shy about her voracious appetites, Beth believes that she has finally found Mr. Right in her fourth husband, James (Bill Nighy).
But when she discovers he has betrayed her, she takes solace in the arms (and in the bed) of her much younger co-star. Viewers who complain that actresses of a certain age are not given juicy roles should slip into this hot "Bath."
- Humanity fights for survival in the 2003 TV movie "Battlestar Galactica" (7 p.m., NBC); the pilot for the new series beginning on the Sci Fi Channel next Thursday.
- The San Diego Chargers host the New York Jets in the AFC wildcard playoff game (7 p.m., ABC).
- Scheduled on "48 Hours Mystery" (8:30 p.m., CBS): new evidence about the death of a Seattle star; a prominent heart surgeon's wife is shot to death through her own kitchen window.
- Luke Wilson hosts "Saturday Night Live" (10:30 p.m., NBC), featuring musical guests U2.
- Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (6 p.m., CBS): a powerful rifle that may be a boon to terrorists; cancer-sniffing dogs; piano virtuoso Lang Lang.
- Scheduled on "Dateline" (6 p.m., NBC): a teen enters therapy to overcome her fear of spiders; the secret reasons French women don't get fat.
- Don't believe all the high-tech hokum you see on "CSI." "Reasonable Doubt" (7 p.m., CNN) explores crime lab mistakes and the threats they pose to criminal justice.
- Jason Alexander and Malcolm Jamal Warner (both stars of "Listen Up") host "The 31st Annual People's Choice Awards" (8 p.m., CBS). Who are these people? And why are their choices so predictable?
- The search for Mrs. Huber on "Desperate Housewives" (8 p.m., ABC).