Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Steven Spielberg's magical, mystical science-fiction adventure involving a UFO, returns Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC. Richard Dreyfuss is the power-company worker who sets out to discover what has blacked out half the state, and Melinda Dillon plays a mother in search of her young son, who's run off to become caught up in a very special adventure. A strongly evoked small-town Midwestern America sets off wondrous and dazzling special effects conceived by Spielberg and Douglas Trumbull.
Also repeating is the 1986 TV movie Blind Justice (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.), which is based on the true story of an average man, played by Tim Matheson, who's trapped in a nightmare of mistaken identity.
Under Siege (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), another 1986 TV movie, is an occasionally suspenseful drama about domestic terrorism unleashed by an Arab fanatic, and it mirrors critical questions confronting a President under intense public and political pressure to respond militarily against someone, anyone, even if the source of terrorism is not pinpointed. Peter Strauss and Hal Holbrook star; co-written by Watergate reporter Bob Woodward.
In the Glitter Palace (Channel 11 Monday at 9 p.m.) starts out like a routine TV movie mystery but quickly de-emphasizes its formula plotting to present a lifelike cross section of lesbians. It centers on a lesbian heiress (Diana Scarwid) wrongly arrested for the murder of a blackmailing ex-movie star (Gloria LeRoy). Barbara Hershey is Scarwid's lover and Chad Everett is Hershey's former boyfriend, an attorney trying to help Scarwid.
Daniel (NBC Tuesday at 9 p.m.), Sidney Lumet's film adapted by E. L. Doctorow from his own angry, vivid novel "The Book of Daniel," is at its best when it re-creates the faith and the romantic fervor of the Old Left in America. But, most of the time, despite a highly literate script, several notable performances and isolated moments of extraordinary power, Daniel evades the questions it sets for itself. Timothy Hutton has the title role, and Amanda Plummer plays his sister, the children of the Ethel and Julius Rosenberg-like "Isaacsons" (Mandy Patinkin, Lindsay Crouse) who are haunted by their parents' fate.
Writer Kathleen Tynan was so intrigued by Agatha Christie's never-explained 11-day 1926 disappearance that she proposed a solution in a novel that became the basis for the handsome, romantic 1979 film Agatha (Channel 11 Tuesday at 9 p.m.). Vanessa Redgrave has the title role, and Dustin Hoffman is the brashly confident American columnist eager to track her down and score a scoop. As suspense builds to a surprise not unworthy of the queen of mystery writers, Redgrave and Hoffman become an endearingly unlikely couple.
David McCullough's splendid documentary Huey Long (Channel 24 Wednesday at 8 p.m.; Channels 28, 50 and 15 at 9 p.m.) presents the demagogic Louisiana governor and senator of the '30s as a tragic figure, initially genuinely concerned with the good of the people only to become corrupted by an overweening sense of power.
Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.) stars Al Pacino as a bombastic, none-too-bright loser who sticks up a Brooklyn bank in a desperate attempt to finance a sex-change operation for his transsexual lover (Chris Sarandon).
Lovesick (CBS Thursday at 9 p.m.), Marshall Brickman's lighthearted but poorly aimed brickbat through the window of Sigmund Freud stars Dudley Moore as a psychiatrist who jettisons his wife and affluent clientele to pursue young playwright Elizabeth McGovern, his newest patient. For all its anti-analysis sentiments, Freud, whose spirit is played by Alec Guinness, emerges as the forward-thinking humanist of the piece.
The Mating Season (Channel 4 Friday at 8 p.m.) is a repeat of a sappy 1980 TV comedy about the birds, the bees and the people who watch them; Lucie Arnaz and Laurence Luckinbill star.
Ingmar Bergman's chamber play After the Rehearsal (Channel 28 Friday at 9 p.m.) lays bare the self-delusion, the play-acting and the mutual manipulation of actor and director. The setting is a theater in which an esteemed director (Erland Josephson), rehearsing Strindberg's "A Dream Play," is beset by his headstrong young star (Lena Olin) and his former lover and star (Ingrid Thulin).
Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys (Channel 5 Saturday at 6 p.m.), so beautifully directed by Herbert Ross, stars Walter Matthau and an Oscar-winning George Burns as a pair of bickering old vaudevillians. Richard Benjamin is Matthau's devoted nephew, who struggles to reunite them one last time.
We of the Never Never (Channel 5 Saturday at 8 p.m.) is a stirring, old-fashioned frontier saga set in Australia's limitless Northern Territory at the turn of the century. Angela Punch McGregor stars as the bride of a newly appointed manager (Arthur Dignam) of a cattle station never before visited by a white woman.
There's so much youthful talent in Grease 2 (ABC Saturday at 9 p.m.) that it's a shame it's wasted on a bunch of early '60s high schoolers who at graduation haven't learned anything beyond a glimmer in matters of the heart and the importance of self-respect. But then there's not a whole lot of point to Grease 2 except to try to cash in on the success of its predecessor.
Fat City (Channel 28 Saturday at 9:45 p.m.) is one of John Huston's best, a lean, compassionate, detailed, raucous, sad, strong look at some losers and survivors on the side streets of small-city Middle America. Stacy Keach plays a fighter who's not bad enough to quit but not good enough to go places and is caught in a boozy limbo in between; Jeff Bridges is a younger fighter, none-too-bright but attractive and likable.
Selected evening cable fare: Touch and Go (Z Sunday at 7, Cinemax at 9, Z Thursday at 9); Ruthless People (Show Sunday at 8, TMC Friday at 7); Manhunter (Show Sunday at 10); Portrait of Jennie (Z Monday at 7); Major Barbara (Bravo Monday at 8:30); Crossroads (HBO Monday at 9); Man of Flowers (SelecTV Monday at 9); Thief (WGN Monday at 9:30); Wetherby (TMC Tuesday at 7); Jagged Edge (SelecTV Tuesday at 7); The Killers (1946) (Z Tuesday at 7); Scanners (Cinemax Tuesday at 8); The Boy Friend (Z Tuesday at 9); The Hidden Fortress (Z Wednesday at 6:30); Odd Man Out (Bravo Wednesday at 9); Green for Danger (Bravo Thursday at 8:30); The Fly (Cinemax Thursday at 9, Z Friday at 9, TMC Saturday at 7, SelecTV at 9); Nothing in Common (HBO Friday at 6); Far from the Madding Crowd (Z Saturday at 6); Jules and Jim (Bravo Saturday at 9).