Hopper hits the road again

Dennis Hopper returns to his high-octane roots in the TV drama "The Last Ride" (7 p.m., USA). No stranger to the sound of roaring engines, Hopper has been around since the beginning of the hot-rod teen-rebellion movie, appearing in "Rebel Without a Cause" while still a studio contract player. He would, of course, transform the genre -- and Hollywood itself -- with "Easy Rider," his 1969 directorial debut and the film that turned the hackneyed teen exploitation film into a political statement with enormous box-office appeal.

While "The Last Ride" is certainly no "Easy Rider," it does touch upon the generational strife of that film's era. Hopper plays Ronnie Purnell, a robber/rebel of the Bonnie and Clyde ilk who was sent to the slammer in 1970 after the "fuzz" finally tracked down his souped-up GTO. His release causes no shortage of angst for his straight-arrow son Aaron (Will Patton), who was adopted and raised by Darryl Kurtz (Fred Ward), the cop who put Purnell away. But Aaron's own son, Matt (Chris Carmack, "The O.C."), a computer-savvy street racer, remains fascinated by Grandpa's outlaw legacy.

Tonight's other highlights

  • "The Drew Carey Show" (ABC) enters its ninth season. On back-to-back episodes, it's matchmaking for Mom (8 p.m.) and soccer tips (9:30 p.m.)
  • Scheduled on "60 Minutes II" (7 p.m., CBS): new evidence in the case of a child missing since 1979; horse racing's Triple Crown.
  • The wedding of a friend changes everything in the 2001 comedy "The Brothers" (7 p.m., WB).
  • Participants submit to "The Ultimate Love Test" (9 p.m., ABC).

Late night

Adam Sandler and Eve appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Black Eyed Peas on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).

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