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SHOWS WORTH NOTING FOR May 19-25

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SUNDAY 5/20

Malcolm in the Middle (Fox, 8:30-9 p.m.): Fans will find this "tender" love story wacky and oddly touching. As Lois waits to see if she's pregnant with a fifth child, she fights with Hal and worries little Dewey that his parents might be getting a divorce. But Malcolm knows better.

Submerged (NBC, May 20, 9-11 p.m.): The pre-World War II drama is an inspiring tale of the era. Based on the bestseller "The Terrible Hours" by Peter Maas, it is the true story of the only successful rescue of a US submarine. Sam Neill stars as "Swede" Momsen, the mastermind behind the rescue. A prolific inventor of diving gear, he used an untested diving bell to save the surviving 33 crew members when a new submarine suddenly sank. Momsen (Neill is superb) was a granite hero, perhaps a great man, who deserves this fine tribute.

Far East (PBS, check local listings): A.R. Gurney's hit play is the next installment of "Stage on Screen," an involving and poignant look at the post-World War II US military occupation of Japan. In 1954, a young US officer falls in love with a young Japanese woman. But his passion gets distracted by his captain's beautiful wife. Drawing from his own experience, Gurney dissects the impulses in his characters - none of whom are predictable.

Monday 5/21

The Crocodile Hunter: Big Croc Diaries (NBC, 8-9 p.m.): Australian animal lover Steve Irwin visits an Australian zoo's most ferocious creatures - all five of which were saved by Irwin. The big crocs are fascinating, but more exciting for those of us who prefer fur is a newborn koala.

Tuesday 5/22

Third Rock from the Sun (NBC, 8-9 p.m.):The hour-long season finale is also the series finale. The aliens phone home, and Mary (Jane Curtain) can't imagine life without Dick (John Lithgow) - but can an earthling find happiness as an alien's wife? The show was a lot of fun because the aliens enjoyed playing human so much - and all that we take for granted was a surprise to them.

Wednesday 5/23

Star Trek: Voyager (UPN, 8-10 p.m.): This last voyage is complicated and rich enough for any sci-fi fan. Admiral Janeway goes back in time to save those she loves. But her adventure means one final confrontation with her wicked nemesis, the Borg Queen. Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan are particularly engaging.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor


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