Theme for today: Trying to understand ourselves

Today's TV

January 17, 1996|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

How did the United States become so entangled in Vietnam that the war there dominated the lives of an entire generation? What's in store for Marylanders in 1996? Why did an actress like Faye Dunaway agree to star in a movie like "Mommie Dearest"? And if "Party of Five" is so good, why isn't anyone watching it? TV offers answers to some vexing questions tonight.

* "State of the State Address" (noon-1 p.m., repeats 10:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m., MPT, Channels 22 and 67) -- Gov. Parris Glendening offers his take on how the Free State is faring. The Republicans' explanation of why he doesn't know what he's talking about follows.

* "Party of Five" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Is this show about five kids forced to fend for themselves after their parents die really the best show nobody is watching? I dunno, but several co-workers have mentioned to me how much they like it. They could all be going soft in the head, but maybe they're on to something. Seems to me it would be worth an hour to find out. Fox.

* "American Gothic" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Sheriff Buck (Gary Cole) experiences fear -- no surprise, considering he's been targeted for revenge by the recently deceased. CBS.

* "The American Experience" (11:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., MPT, Channels 22 and 67) -- If you missed "Freedom on My Mind" when it premiered Monday evening, don't make the same mistake tonight. This testimony to the strength and courage shown by those who fought to secure voting rights for Mississippi's black residents in the early 1960s should not be missed.

Cable

* "20th Century" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., A&E) -- Sure, we all know about the Vietnam War, what a mess it was and how the U.S. military has yet to live down its legacy. But how'd we ever get drawn into Southeast Asia in the first place? "Vietnam: How We Went to War" tries to answer that question, through original news footage and interviews. This series does its best to shed light on the century's major events.

* "Inside the Actors' Studio" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., Bravo) -- So you want to be an actor? Well, it's a little more complicated than standing in front of a bunch of friends and pretending you're someone else. This series, aimed more at students of acting than the general public, features intriguing discussions with some of today's greatest stage and screen stars. Faye Dunaway offers the insights tonight; particularly entertaining are her comments on screened clips from "Bonnie and Clyde," "Chinatown" and "Network."

* "The Bob Newhart Show" (midnight-12:30 a.m., Nickelodeon) -- Dr. Hartley protests in vain when his therapy group members push to have one of their sessions shown live on TV.

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