SUNDAY

NBA Finals: Lakers at Pistons
So Detroit is up 3-1 in this series. Having lived in Los Angeles for four years now, and having developed a liking for this city, all I can say is... go, Pistons! (Oh, c'mon. Even Magic Johnson says L.A.'s overpaid babies aren't trying hard enough.)

National Geographic Ultimate Explorer: "Killer Crocs of Uganda"
Brady Barr is like Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin without the annoyance. Expressed more succinctly: BB = SCHI - A.

Barr does have Irwin's guts, however — tackling a 1500-pound Nile croc with just a snare-pole, a roll of duct tape and two guys who've never done it before. And even after all three of them are sitting on its back and have taped its jaws shut, the danger remains, with Barr warning them that the monster can still break their noses or knock their teeth out with a thrash of its big ol' scaly head. (Sort of like an old roommate of mine after a night out, only it took four of us and two rolls of tape.)

And it turns out most crocs aren't cute and goofy like the one that swallowed the clock and gave Captain Hook his name. Go figure.

See You in My Dreams
What's Joe (Aidan Quinn) fear most? Losing wife Angela (Marcia Gay Harden) and being Mr. Bad Example for son Ben (Will Estes). So what's he do? Behaves like a jerk, forcing Ben out of the house and alienating his wife, thus ensuring his nightmare comes true.

Sounds like a plan, right? Yeah, I thought so, too, so I gave Joe's system a whirl. Since I was afraid my wife would leave me, thus setting a terrible example for our dog, I walked the furry little guy up into Griffith Park and cut him loose.

And life does imitate art after all: Now she hates me.

I'll keep you guys posted as this experiment progresses, but I'm thinking I need better TV-movies to emulate.

Six Feet Under
So how about that? For once, Nate the walking black-hole-o'-me, does something he wants to do, against the wishes of everyone else in the room, and I agree with him. Sort of.

I mean, Lisa did say she wanted to be buried with nothing between her and the earth. We heard her say it in flashback, albeit in an irritating fashion akin to someone trying out a short story in their first fiction workshop: "You always smell so cold and lonely. And also weirdly sweet, like an old lady's hair." Who talks like that?

Still, I quibble. Poor Bruno Baskerville Walsh is now stuck in a mausoleum with a family that's not his, under a name that's not his. Wasn't there some other way of faking them out? And why leave the container for David to clean up, since, as he said, what Nate did was illegal and could lose the family its license? Did he really need to be burdened with that?

Most likely he did it for plot reasons (no pun intended). And I guess we'll find out this season.

Strong Medicine
Amongst all the cough-syrup abuse and blood-test chicanery is this informational gem: "You have to use muscle to cut muscle," says Dr. Andy Campbell (Patricia Richardson), putting teeth-gritting oomph into chewing through a woman's chest to get to her heart.

Now, there's a cute little factoid my shamelessly squeamish self would be happy to forget.

Deadwood
Emmy-wise, I'm hereby putting in for Ian McShane for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. I say he deserves it, it's my column this week, and in my column I'm always right. (Which doesn't mean there aren't others turning in some fine work on this show, by the way — McShane gets a lot of help.)

Boy, for a series that takes its time developing things, its finale sure moves in a hurry, huh? Seth gets Alma and the sheriff's star. Swearengen, of course, gets his way, though not necessarily with Trixie. And who'd have ever thought the way to a lady's heart would be to knock her daddy's teeth out and send him out of town tied to a mule?

SATURDAY

King Solomon's Mines
How could this be: A larger-than-life adventure tale involving action, romance, heroism and treasure, and yet it manages to stifle the power that is Swayze? Alas, it is so.

If you're going to utilize the Power of Patrick at its full potential, you gotta give him classic lines like, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" (Dirty Dancing), "Back off, Warchild — seriously" (Point Break) or "Pain don't hurt" and "I want you to be nice until it's time to not be nice" (Road House).

When he's merely grieving widower Allan Quartermain, facing down danger, winning a new love and trying to find the new love's dad, all I can say is... eh. Hallmark could've trotted out Richard Chamberlain again for less. If you're gonna spring for Swayze, then let him be Swayze.

Oh, and, yes, I do so giggle like a second-grader at Alison Doody's name, even though she's no Hugh Jackman.

FRIDAY

Biography: Liza Minnelli
When I was a kid, my mom pelted me with tales of Liza Minnelli's performances, telling me over and over about the gale-force ability evident in her TV special Liza with a Z. I wasn't having it. I was too busy checking out real, built-to-last acts like the Steve Miller Band and Toto.

So I was recently blown away by a restored print of Cabaret, and haven't listened to "Fly like an Eagle" or "Hold the Line" in years. OK, Mom — I'll give you that one.

Here's two hours of solid proof: Liza's had her problems, certainly, but man, does she have talent to match.