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Archive for Friday, February 3, 2006

A ‘Grizzly’ look at life amid nature

February 3, 2006

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Director Werner Herzog's acclaimed 2005 documentary film "Grizzly Man" (7 p.m., Discovery) makes its TV debut. Don't dare miss it.

Herzog assembled "Grizzly" from the hundreds of hours of videos shot by obsessive naturalist Timothy Treadwell, who spent several summers living among the giant bears in Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve.

"Grizzly" can be appreciated for its spectacular footage of grizzlies in their unspoiled environment. But it's also a chronicle of Treadwell's descent into isolation and messianic madness. Treadwell would not survive his retreat into nature. He and his girlfriend were killed and devoured by bears in 2003.

"Grizzly" proves the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction. Treadwell's character grows more complex, weird and contradictory as the film progresses. He ricochets from childlike innocence to foul-mouthed rage.

Through interviews with friends, parents and rangers, "Grizzly" follows Treadwell's drifting odyssey from alcoholism to zealous defender of nature.

¢"The Bernie Mac Show" (7 p.m., Fox) celebrates its 100th episode with a clever parody of "Wedding Crashers" clearly inspired by the recent humor book, "Bar Mitzvah Disco," by Roger Bennett, Nick Kroll and Jules Shell.

When a new Jewish family moves in next door, Bernie encourages Jordan to befriend his lonely neighbor David, who introduces Jordan to the local bar mitzvah circuit. After legitimate invitations dry up, the boys take to bluffing their way into the catering halls and becoming the life of the party. Like most episodes of "Bernie Mac," the laughs are leavened with a lesson or two. A repeat "Mac" (7:30 p.m.) follows.

Tonight's other highlights

¢Andrea's friend goes missing on "Ghost Whisperer" (7 p.m., CBS).

¢Canine victims of Katrina get their time with "The Dog Whisperer" (7 p.m., National Geographic).

¢Fran's folks (Lainie Kazan and Hal Linden) visit on "Living with Fran" (7:30 p.m., WB).

¢Justice in the suburbs on "Close to Home" (8 p.m., CBS).

¢Scheduled on "Dateline" (8 p.m., NBC): predators caught on tape.

¢Lab equipment goes missing on "Numb3rs" (9 p.m., CBS).

¢Weary pilots tangle with Scar on "Battlestar Galactica" (9 p.m., Sci Fi).

¢Pickups perk up on the new series "Trick My Truck" (9 p.m., CMT). A second episode (9:30 p.m.) follows.

Cult choice

Death-defying motorcyclist Evel Knievel plays himself in the 1977 melodrama "Viva Knievel!" (7 p.m., Speed) about Knievel's battle with Mexican drug lords. A bizarre supporting cast includes Gene Kelly, Lauren Hutton, Red Buttons, Leslie Nielsen, Frank Gifford and Dabney Coleman. Critic Leonard Maltin rates this film a bomb but calls it "hilariously inept."

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