Here are a few programs to look out for in the upcoming week ...
WEDNESDAY 8 P.M. Biography, A&E. "Friends." Since September 1994, more than 20 billion people have tuned in to see if Ross and Rachel are getting back together, if Chandler and Monica are going to adopt a baby, if Joey will ever return as Dr. Drake Remoray and if Phoebe will regale us with one more chorus of "Smelly Cat." Look back at the modest NBC ensemble show about "friendship" that captivated the viewing public for 10 seasons. Interviews with the stars of the TV phenomenon that airs its final episode on May 6. Send sympathy cards to NBC execs at ...
WEDNESDAY 10:30 P.M. Shorties Watchin' Shorties, Comedy Central. It's a mix of animation and stand-up. The "Shorties" are animated interpretations of stand-up performances. The premiere brings us Jay Mohr, Lewis Black, Dana Cook, Janeane Garofalo, Gilbert Gottfried, Richard Jeni and Denis Leary.
Sounds interesting and only a bit confusing.
THURSDAY 10 P.M. Launch: A Product Is Born, Discovery. It could be a car, an appliance, a computer or a blender. It could make your coffee or change your life. But behind even the simplest everyday objects are creativity, hard work, dedication and risk. Now how much would you pay? Wait, there's more. This program goes behind the scenes at a cutting-edge design firm and explores a product's conception, birth and life.
SUNDAY 2 A.M. Ed Wood, TCM. Always nice to see a good contemporary flick find its way into the Turner library. Oddly, this fine Tim Burton film isn't available on DVD, though a special edition is in the works. Hope Turner's boys resisted the urge to colorize this one about a memorably schlocky film director.
SUNDAY 8 P.M. Samurai and the Swastika, The History Channel. From 1939-1945, Germany and Japan forged a strategic alliance that included logistical support from both sides and a range of technical cooperation, as well as jointly supporting major anti-British uprisings in India. In perhaps the boldest scheme, they conspired to destroy the Panama Canal. Now that's an axis of evil.
MONDAY 10 P.M. Subcultures Revealed, Travel Channel. The Travel Channel heads to New York City in search of vampires. Viewers will hear from the town folk of Jolo, W.V., have a quick visit with top competitors at Philadelphia's National Tattoo Association Convention, take in some spiritual healing from the psychic community in Sedona, Ariz., and, finally, make a pit stop at the biggest biker party in the world in Sturgis, S.D. It's fun to be in America.
NEWS & NOTES: Freaks & Geeks: The Complete Series is out on DVD. It comes with loads of extras, including two hours of deleted scenes, alternate takes, bloopers and audition footage. You also get a 26-page booklet. A must-have for anyone who grew up in the '80s or who's simply interested in that time. You know, the cancelled Family Guy sold so well on DVD that it's going back into production. Hmmmm. Thinking of picking up F&G on DVD? As we used to say in the '80s, "Go for it!" (And we'd point, too, for extra emphasis).