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Senate returns (C-Span 2, beginning about 9 a.m., E.T.): Coverage of the United States Senate, back from recess.

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Screenworks (TNT, 8-10 p.m.): In Art Washington's ``Percy and Thunder,'' Percy, a retired boxer who now trains amateurs, discovers a middleweight of great promise and begins lining up a professional fight for him. But when Percy runs into the same corrupt system that used to confront him when he was a boxer, he decides to buck the trend of exploitative mainstream boxing by taking a separate, honest - and risky - career path. James Earl Jones stars as Percy, and Billy Dee Williams as a boxing-world figure.

The drama is the latest edition of ``Screenworks,'' which began just over a year ago with David Mamet's ``The Water Engine.'' The series is a worthy production effort that serves as a small antidote to much of today's TV fare. * WEDNESDAY

Great Books series (The Learning Channel, 8-11 p.m.): If they're such great books, why not just read them, instead of watching a TV show about them? The most realistic answer may be: because otherwise many viewers will not read them - hence the kind of TV showcasing offered by this three-part blockbuster, being aired on International Literacy Day. This series does not attempt to replace reading itself but to encourage it, with the aid of interviews and explanations that put the great works into context.

``Arthur: Legends of the King'' examines Sir Thomas Mallory's 15th-century version of the story and probes the murky history of the real Arthur. There are interviews with scholars and with people like filmmaker George Lucas, who explains how he took some cues from the Arthurian legend for the plot of his ``Star Wars'' trilogy.

The second segment, ``Frankenstein: The Making of the Monster,'' deals with Mary Shelley's early-19th-century novel. The third, ``Darwin: Evolution of an Idea,'' explores the roots and effects of Darwin's theory.

Future programs in the series will be announced later.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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