'NOVA' seeks Earth's origins

One of my favorite long-running series, "NOVA" (7 p.m., PBS), has never shied away from really big subjects. The four-part series "Origins" tackles nothing short of the creation of the universe, the birth of the planet Earth, and the stirrings of life on the planet after volcanic chaos and meteorite bombardment.

If you think four hours is a long time to watch a documentary, try waiting around 4 billion years for life to emerge. The host of "Origins" is Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at New York's Museum of Natural History and a popular lecturer on astronomy. No matter how complicated the subject, Tyson does a good job of making "Origins" accessible.

  • Just in case you thought the shenanigans on "The O.C." weren't "real" enough, MTV has launched a reality series smack dab in the heart of sunburned suburbia. "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County" (9:30 p.m., MTV) will follow a gaggle of good-looking teens and fill us in on their likes, dislikes, spats and meltdowns. Unlike many current "reality" shows, "Laguna" will follow the teens in straightforward documentary fashion, without "confession chambers" and other gimmicks.
  • Sports fans compete on the new series "I'll Do Anything" (9 p.m., ESPN). Tasks include making a solo punt return without blockers against a professional football team or dropping soccer balls into a goal below while strapped to the wing of a biplane in flight. "Winners" get to live out the sports fantasy of a lifetime, such as playing 18 holes with Tiger Woods.

Tonight's other highlights

  • A race against time to save a captain's kidnapped wife and blind daughter on the season premiere of "Navy NCIS" (7 p.m., CBS).
  • President Bush appears on "The O'Reilly Factor" (7 p.m., Fox News).
  • A possible scandal drives the dugout batty on "Clubhouse" (8 p.m., CBS).
  • Country stars Rascal Flatts perform on "Here's To You" (8 p.m., CMT).
  • The roof caves in on the courtroom on the sixth-season premiere of "Judging Amy" (9 p.m., CBS).
  • A victim of an immigration ring puts her own children in peril on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC).
  • A murder victim may have run a scam on "NYPD Blue" (9 p.m., ABC).
  • A team of mechanics prepares for a vital trade show on the new reality series "Wing Nuts" (9 p.m., Discovery).


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