VH1 counts down best albums

The nostalgia gnomes have done it again, concocting a five-hour compilation series, "100 Greatest Albums of All Time" (9 p.m., VH1), ticking off 20 albums a night through Friday. Jeff Bridges hosts this countdown, and he's perfectly cast to play the middle-aged white guy whose tastes are reflected here. And besides, he was so good as "The Dude" in "The Big Lebowski"!

It's a little tricky to discuss albums on VH1, which is, after all, a video network. And we all know that videos replaced (some might argue killed) albums as an art form. Of the top 100, only 22 are from the years after MTV debuted in 1981. There are only seven from the 1990s.

All that being said, this is a fun, if instantly forgettable, treat. So, let the arguing begin. Do the Beatles really deserve five places in the top 11? Is Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life" (No. 7) really better than "Innervisions" (No. 31)?

And don't go looking for a lot of works by women. There are only 15 female artists on the list, with Joni Mitchell's "Blue" (No.14) ranked highest. With the exception of Liz Phair's "Exile in Guyville" (No. 96), the mid-1990's Lillith Fair phase gets deep-sixed here, which might be a jagged little pill for some to swallow. Tonight counts down from 100 to 81, with "Like a Prayer" in the No. 100 spot. Hey, any list that ranks Madonna dead last can't be all bad.

� Esteemed director Sidney Lumet returns to his TV roots as creator and executive producer of "100 Centre Street" (8 p.m., A&E;). Set in the gritty world of a downtown Manhattan criminal court, "Street" does not feature anything that hasn't been before (and frankly better) on "Law & Order," "Homicide," or even the old "Defenders" series. What it does have is the great actor Alan Arkin as a beleaguered liberal judge attacked for his lenient brand of "turnstile justice." Despite a few flashes of brilliance from Arkin, "Street" is a dated addition to a crowded TV genre.

Tonight's other highlights

� "The Rugrats" celebrate a decade on the air with a six-hour marathon (1 p.m., Nickelodeon) followed by a new episode (7 p.m.).

� Jennifer Aniston stars in the 1998 comedy, "The Object of My Affection" (7 p.m., ABC).

� "Ground Force" (7 p.m., BBC America) enters a new season with more innovative backyard renovations. A UK favorite well worth importing.

� Kim E. Whitley ("Oh, Drama") guest stars on "The Parkers" (7:30 p.m., UPN) as a member of Nikki's church.

� John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette are profiled on "Great Romances" (7:30 p.m.). To be broadcast on the WE network, formerly known as Romance Classics. WE stands for Women's Entertainment. Now you know.

� Scheduled on "Dateline" (8 p.m., NBC): a mother's quest to find a missing soldier, swept away in a Swiss flood.

� Duke Ellington appears in Hollywood movies while Fats Waller and Art Tatum rise to prominence on "Jazz" (8 p.m., PBS).

� Lynn feels exploited by the media on "Family Law" (9 p.m., CBS).

� An infection runs rampant at the hospital on "Gideon's Crossing" (9 p.m., ABC). Now on in its new time and date.

Series notes

Roast duties on "King of Queens" (7 p.m., CBS) ... Lightning striking, again on "Mysterious Ways" (7 p.m., NBC) ... Taunting a large girl on "Boston Public" (7 p.m., Fox) ... Looking back with Hakeem on "Moesha" (7 p.m., UPN) ... A drastic intervention on "7th Heaven" (7 p.m., WB).

Strange fandom on "Welcome to New York" (7:30 p.m., CBS).

Requiem for a dead hamster on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (8 p.m., CBS) ... Larry's wife wants to move to Canada with their child on "Ally McBeal" (8 p.m., Fox) ... Ethnic sniping breeds understanding on "The Hughleys" (8 p.m., UPN).


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