Thursday, July 31, 2003
Leave it to Fox, the network that brought us "Banzai" and "The Glutton Bowl," to infest the dog days of summer with "Bug Attack!" (7 p.m., Fox). Host and bug fanatic Dr. Phil DeVries travels from Arizona's deserts to the swamps of Venezuela to uncover the deadliest, biggest and most unappetizing critters on earth. DeVries submits to stinging scorpions, harvester ants, and a hornet attack that the network describes as "flesh-dissolving."
Fox follows "Bug Attack!" with the brain-dissolving hour "101 Things Removed from the Human Body" (8 p.m.). Yes, folks, people swallow the darnedest things. Watch doctors remove a bagful of carpenter nails from a man's stomach. I wonder what he washed those down with? Not every foreign object enters as a snack: One man has a boat anchor removed from his skull. The best thing about "101 Things" is that it helped remove "The Pulse" and Bill O'Reilly from the Fox schedule.
- ABC dusts off the 2000 TV nostalgia drama "Mary and Rhoda" (8 p.m.), starring Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper as the characters they made famous in the 1970s series. Don't go looking for maudlin flashbacks of Lou, Ted, Murray, Phyllis or even Georgette. Mary does not throw her hat into the air.
Mary and Rhoda reunite in New York as a widow and divorcee, respectively. The film tries hard to ignite some spunky chemistry between Mary's college student daughter, Rose (Joie Lenz, "Guiding Light"), and Rhoda's daughter, Meredith (Marisa Ryan), who is making her Jewish mother proud by training to become a doctor.
Mary also returns to TV news. This allows "Mary" to make some heavy-handed points about the changes in journalism since the crazy days of Ted Baxter and WJM-TV in Minneapolis. In striving for such poignancy, "Mary and Rhoda" forgets to be funny. And that's too bad, because the old "Mary Tyler Moore Show" was one of the best comedies ever made. Love is all around, no need to lecture us.
Tonight's other highlights
- An innocent coed (Kate Hudson) falls victim to malicious rumors in the 2000 thriller "Gossip" (7 p.m., WB).
- John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara star in director John Ford's 1952 drama "The Quiet Man" (7 p.m., AMC).