TV Smarts

Some broadcast and cable programs contain material included in the public school curriculum and on standardized examinations. Here are weekend home-viewing tips:

* Today--"Arthur: I’d Rather Read It Myself” (KCET, 4:30-5 p.m.) A new season of this animated children’s show, based on the books by Marc Brown, began this week with the introduction of an original character voiced by folk singer Art Garfunkel. VCR+57813. The series airs weekdays at 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Also, “Bravo Profiles--Maria Callas: Life and Art” (BRAVO, 9- 10 p.m.) This is a documentary about the soprano who set the standard for operatic performance in our time. VCR+505105. Followed by “Maria Callas in Concert” on Bravo from 10-11 p.m. VCR+355682.

* Friday--"Viva Wishbone” (KCET, 4-4:30 p.m.) This episode of the regular afternoon live action children’s program of classic stories is about the Miracle of Guadalupe. VCR+31594. Also, “Spirits of the Forest” (DISC, 8-9 p.m.) This documentary is about the struggle for survival between nature and man on the island of Madagascar. VCR+858681.

* Saturday--"Understanding” (TLC, 5-6 p.m.) Today’s episode of this ongoing science series surveys recent oceanic research and includes an interview with “Kon Tiki” author Thor Heyerdahl. VCR+326745. Also, “The Power of Water” (KCET 6-7 p.m.) This episode of “The World of National Geographic” explains the water shortage in five areas of North America, including this region. VCR+ 27709.


* Sunday--"America 1900" (KCET, 1-4 p.m., repeating 4-7 p.m.) This is a documentary special about the issues Americans faced as the final century of the 1900s began--guerrilla warfare, racial tensions, immigration, sex and radical technological change--and how they dealt with them. David McCullogh narrates.

--Compiled by Richard Kahlenberg in consultation with Crystal J. Gips, associate director for teacher education, Cal State University. Columns available at