Innes portrays radical housewife

A television drama in the inspiring tradition of "Erin Brockovich" and "Norma Rae," "Taking Back Our Town" (8 p.m., Lifetime) tells the true-life story of a mother and housewife who rallied the citizens of a poor, blighted town to stop a giant corporation from building a chemical plant in their back yard.

Laura Innes ("ER") turns in a fine-and-believable performance as Pat Melancon, a Louisiana mother who becomes a social pressure and risks physical danger to organize local residents against a chemical plant.

� With only three weeks left in 2001, "Biography" (7 p.m., A&E;) presents its "Biography of the Year," the profile of the most newsworthy person of the last 12 months. Harry Smith is host for this two-hour round-up. Like every 2001 retrospective, the program devotes most of its time to the murderous events and aftermath of Sept. 11. Each of the 10 "finalists" receive mini-profiles, followed by a longer look at the "Biography of the Year."

� Judi Dench narrates "Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport" (7 p.m., HBO), the Academy Award-winning documentary about the Kindertransport and the effort by British charities to rescue Jewish children from Nazi persecution in Europe.

� Humble contestants challenge astoundingly well-informed, if socially challenged, experts in the fields of movies, television and music on the amusing new game-show "Beat the Geeks" (6:30 p.m., Comedy Central). Tonight's special guest geek: a "Star Trek" aficionado who claims to have spent five years of his life watching the series.

Tonight's other highlights

� Anne Robinson grills noncelebrities on "Weakest Link" (7 p.m., NBC).

� Michael T. Weiss returns as Jarod in "The Pretender: The Island of the Haunted" (7 p.m., TNT), a feature-length film based on the television drama.

� Frank alienates a whole stadium of football fans on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (8 p.m., CBS).

� A horrific explosion brings back memories of Taylor's hero father on "Third Watch" (8 p.m., NBC).

� Miami takes on Indianapolis on "Monday Night Football" (8 p.m., ABC).

� Daniel Radcliffe ("Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone") appears in the 1999 adaptation of "David Copperfield" on "Masterpiece Theatre" (8 p.m., PBS). Maggie Smith, Bob Hoskins and Ian McKellen star.

� Saffy writes a play about her peculiar family life on "Absolutely Fabulous" (8 p.m., Comedy Central).

� An accused cop-killer dies in police custody on "Crossing Jordan" (9 p.m., NBC).

Series notes

Doug takes the witness stand on "King of Queens" (7 p.m., CBS) ... Harper warms up to his ex on "Boston Public" (7 p.m., Fox) ... Regis Philbin poses questions on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" (7 p.m., ABC) ... Yvonne resumes her career on "The Hughleys" (7 p.m., UPN) ... Too many secrets on "7th Heaven" (7 p.m., WB).

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