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Archive for Monday, September 8, 2008

Wonder Pets!’ boosts kids’ musical horizons

September 8, 2008

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India's fabled Bollywood musicals have become ever more popular, influencing films as diverse as the 2004 art-house romance "Bride and Prejudice" to the recent Disney Channel "Cheetah Girls" movie.

Bollywood star Nandita Das lends her voice to the animated special "Wonder Pets!: Save the Bengal Tiger!" (7 p.m., Nickelodeon). Aimed at preschoolers, this episode offers a variation on the Aesop's fable of Androcles and the lion. Das provides the voice of a mighty Bengal tiger plagued by a thorn in her foot, requiring the assistance of a mighty mouse named Raj. The musical half-hour features an elaborate musical score by Salim and Sulaiman Merchant.

Young viewers of "Wonder Pets!" are no strangers to big productions, or musical influences from beyond their shores or before their time. In its first season, the "Pets!" featured stories about classical music and opera. Last spring, "Pets!" traveled to Liverpool for a musical adventure called "Save the Beetles," about four mop-topped singers whose submarine was snared in seaweed. Can a Frank Sinatra-themed "Wonder Pets!" be next?

¢ The musical competition "High School Musical: Get in the Picture" (7 p.m., ABC) culminates with the selection of a winner. Given the "HSM" buzz of the past few years, the lukewarm reaction to this contest, hosted by Nick Lachey, has got to be a disappointment for Disney. On the other hand, it's hard to get excited about the grand prize. Singers were fighting for a chance to appear in a promotional video for the third film. Wow, you, too, can be part of a product placement within a product placement! Dream big, kiddies.

After "Musical," ABC airs the two-hour country-music celebration "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" (8 p.m., ABC), featuring performances by Trace Adkins, Rodney Atkins, Bucky Covington, Billy Ray Cyrus and others.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ Green Bay hosts Minnesota on "Monday Night Football" (6 p.m., ESPN). Tonight marks the 20th season, featuring Hank Williams Jr., as well as the beginning of the post-Brett Favre era in Green Bay.

¢ The recent explosion and John's 16th birthday bring a new attitude and outlook on the second-season premiere of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (7 p.m., Fox).

¢ Russian roulette by roadster on "Top Gear" (7 p.m., BBC America).

¢ Mahone wants revenge on "Prison Break" (8 p.m., Fox).

¢ "History Detectives" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) examines artifacts linked to an infamous shipwreck, sheltered immigrants and poet Kahlil Gibran.

¢ A murder south of the border claims two cops on "The Closer" (8 p.m., TNT).

¢ "The Rachel Maddow Show" (8 p.m., MSNBC) debuts.

¢ The documentary "Flipping Out" (8 p.m., Sundance) follows ex-members of the Israeli army and their adjustments to civilian life.

¢ A key witness is stranded abroad on "Raising the Bar" (9 p.m., TNT).

¢ "Into the Unknown with Josh Bernstein" (9 p.m., Discovery) explores legends of 14th-century Timbuktu, known as the "City of Gold."

Cult choice

Turner Classic Movies celebrates Peter Sellers' birthday (Sept. 8, 1925) with five movies, including "Dr. Strangelove" (9:15 p.m., TCM) and "The Party" (3 a.m.).

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