I didn't hear anybody clamoring for a new version of Melrose Place, but here comes another crop of beautiful young adults living and loving in an L.A. apartment complex (Tuesday, 8 p.m., CW). The remake wants very badly to be wicked. Sex in public, in extreme close-up? Check. A movie mogul hitting on his daughter's teenage friend? Check. A father and son sleeping with the same aging nympho? Check. The characters are so hot to trot that not even a stabbing victim found floating in the Melrose Place pool can slow them down. Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, well cast as the apartment complex's resident airhead, flirts with a hunky neighbor over a puddle of blood.
"I said something stupid, didn't I?" she asks.
You know you're in trouble when even the characters realize how dumb they sound.
Little House on the Prairie
Sunday, 4 pm (Hallmark Channel)
No TV movie or series has done justice to Laura Ingalls Wilder's one-of-a-kind Little House books. Filmmakers just can't keep themselves from overdoing the pioneer wholesomeness and sentimentality. Still, I almost always enjoy spending time in Laura's frontier world, no matter how imperfect the productions.
This marathon of Little House tales stars Kyle Chavarria as Laura. It's six hours long, so you'll probably want to take a break in the middle and shoot a bear for dinner.
Monday, 3 pm (HGTV)
Host Jennifer Bertrand gets out her brush and drop cloth to make over rooms for homeowners going through a personal transition. The five-part series will be as exciting as watching paint dry - and for once, that's a good thing.
Monday, 8 pm (History)
This account of the 1969 Charles Manson murders combines a documentary and dramatizations as effectively as any TV program I've seen. The coup was gaining access to Manson "Family" member Linda Kasabian, who tells her full story for the first time.
Kasabian has been in hiding for 40 years after testifying against Manson and his brainwashed disciples in their trial. She describes her initial meeting with Manson, who dropped to his knees and began touching her legs. "It just felt right," she says, inexplicably.
Kasabian was one of over 30 lost souls who joined Manson for orgies of sex and drugs. He filled their heads with his vision of a race war between blacks and whites - a war that the Family would help start with a series of murders. Kasabian provides horribly vivid details of the Tate/LaBianca slayings while actors re-create the scene.
So what do we learn? Keep your doors locked. Don't try to start a race war. And if somebody touches your legs just after meeting you, run.
Tuesday, 8 pm (History)
This week's episode counts down the biggest blasts in the history of the universe. The good news: We make the list with the comet that struck Mexico 65 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs. The bad news: That's only good enough for 10th place.
Sometimes I'm so ashamed to be from Earth.
Sons of Anarchy
Tuesday, 9 pm (FX)
FX's original series specialize in creepy protagonists - people you'd never invite to your kid's birthday party. The classic example is The Shield's Vic Mackey, who does the most awful things in spite of being a cop.
Sons of Anarchy pushes the creepiness to a new extreme. Our "heroes" are a small-town motorcycle gang who deal arms on the side. There are no sympathetic characters in this group, unless you can sympathize with foul, scraggly-haired miscreants. In the second-season premiere, the club leader (Ron Perlman) and his lieutenant (Charlie Hunnam) cover up their involvement in a friend's murder by blaming it on a rival gang member, whom they graphically torture and kill. If that doesn't ruin your Tuesday night, just wait for the rape scene.
These people make Vic Mackey look practically cuddly. I plan to send him an invitation to my kid's next birthday party.
Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern
Tuesday, 9 pm (Travel Channel)
On his quest for exotic food, Andrew heads to Belize in search of rodent. Of course, there's really no need to go all that way - you can get perfectly good rodent here in the States, in almost any urban apartment complex. Is someone abusing his Travel Channel expense account, Mr. Zimmern?