The networks battle with bands

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

The "cute" Beatle gets back to where he once belonged. The two-hour concert film "Paul McCartney's 'Back in the U.S.'" (8 p.m., ABC) captures the singer on his 2002 U.S. tour, traveling from city to city, wowing fans with golden oldies from his days with Wings and that boy band from Liverpool.

Even die-hard cynics will have to melt just a little when McCartney and his very competent band open with "Hello Goodbye," from the Beatles 1967 LP "Magical Mystery Tour." McCartney also offers up spirited versions of "Getting Better," "Blackbird," "Lady Madonna," "Can't Buy Me Love," "Hey Jude" and more than a dozen favorites.

While the cheerful McCartney does his best to keep things upbeat, the film is charged with elegiac poignancy. McCartney dedicates numbers to September 11th's fallen ("Freedom"); his late wife Linda ("My Love"); and his murdered songwriting partner John Lennon ("Here Today"). He also pays tribute to the recently deceased George Harrison by singing "Something" on a ukulele, one of "the quiet Beatle's" favorite instruments.

It would be easier to knock this documentary as an exercise in baby boomer nostalgia if the audiences weren't so filled with young faces. And McCartney has been looking back for some time now. After all, he did write "Yesterday" when he was only 22.

Tonight's other highlights

Cult choice

TNN kicks off a 54-hour James Bond movie marathon, beginning with the 1962 thriller "Dr. No" (8 p.m.), starring Sean Connery and Ursula Andress. The Bond-a-thon will run through Saturday, Dec. 1.

Series notes

A glance back at the first ten episodes on "Survivor" (7 p.m., CBS) ... Jay returns to her easel on "My Wife and Kids" (7 p.m., ABC) ... Hoshi fears that the transporter has transformed her on "Enterprise" (7 p.m., UPN) ... On back-to-back episodes of "Birds of Prey" (WB) the girls gather (7 p.m.); Batgirl returns (8 p.m.).

George looks for his true father on "George Lopez" (7:30 p.m., ABC).

Van and Deaq compete for a femme fatale on "Fastlane" (8 p.m., Fox) ... A failure (Frank Whaley) trades his life for another man's future on "The Twilight Zone" (8 p.m., UPN).

Late night

Ray Romano appears on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno chats up Al Gore and Faith Hill on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC)

Andy Richter appears on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Eddie Izzard and Wayne Federman are booked on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).