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SUNDAY Nature: Tall Blondes PBS, 8 p.m. If realigning your outlook as a human being on planet Earth is too much for a Sunday night (see below) you could always hang out with a herd of giraffes. Journalist Lynn Sherr fell in love with the beasts when on assignment in Africa and shares her love for them in this beautiful documentary. In it she stays at an incredible guest house in Nairobi called Giraffe Manor, where the tall blondes roam the grounds and often stick their heads in the windows looking for food. Sacred Balance CBC, 9 p.m. There's a double shot of David Suzuki this week. First, there is this premiere of a four-part series he's been working on for five years. Sacred Balance is described as his personal "unifying theory of life." Realizing and respecting Suzuki's reputation, you know that for your sake, your family's sake and the planet's sake, that you really should force yourself to pay attention. The series tells us how closely humans are connected to nature. There are more ideas, but that's the basic theme. It's an idea he wants to share with his grandsona and so, after the little guy shows Suzuki his world of video games and virtual reality, Granddad takes him out to the swamp to catch bugs and stuff. It's a good beginning to a thoughtful hour that travels far to speak with various scientists, doctors, chemists and astronaut Julie Payette about how humans are inseparable from the planet we live on. Sacred Balance is a big-picture series with lots to chew on, but the season premiere of Suzuki's The Nature of Things on Thursday (CBC, 9 p.m.) hits much closer to home. The episode is called Up Close and Toxic and it cheerfully reports that every home is brimming with deadly chemicals. Watch and you may never sit on your carpet again. MONDAY Life's Birth Stories Life, 10:30 p.m. Quite honestly, the appeal of this series is beyond me. Watching pregnant women suffer through the various stages of labour brings back painful memories I'd rather forget. It seems I am in the minority. This is the third season of Birth Stories, it's one of Life's more popular series. Then there is TLC's A Baby Story, which airs four times a day, five days a week, plus the complicated-birth series, Maternity Ward, Monday nights at 9 p.m. Tonight's episode of Birth Stories presents the sad story of Melissa, who suffers from a brain injury, and her husband Sean as they hesitantly look forward to another child while coping with the demands of their toddler. There's also Kirsten, who questions her no-drug ideals when her labour passes the 24-hour mark. And then there's Shea, a publicist who seems to have no problems at all, except making sure her belly is lit properly for numerous photo shoots. TUESDAY Playing the Field W, 9 p.m. The series returns with an opening shot of the extended belly of Geraldine in her last trimester. So begins Season 2 of this wonderful, womanly drama from the BBC about a female football team in Yorkshire. It's terribly popular in Britain where the fifth and final season is now airing. You can tell a woman writes this show (Kay Mellor, who also wrote Band of Gold back in 1995). Twice in this episode the problems of being pregnant and working come up. It's a social commentary you don't get in shows like Birth Stories, though when Geraldine (played by Lorraine Ashbourne who was six months pregnant in real-life) gives birth it sure looks real. So does the anguish of her character's husband (played by Tim Dantay). The rest of the football team is gathering back in Castlefield for the new season: Jo meets a cute guy on the bus, the team's coach (James Nesbitt of Cold Feet) is looking for a new sponsor and Rita celebrates her 40th birthday. Also: Another British drama begins tonight at 9 p.m.. Adapted from the novel, The Green Man mixes supernatural scares with Kingsley Amis's social satire. The mini-series is 12 years old but new to TVO. WEDNESDAY The View From Here: Bollywood Bound TVO, 10 p.m. Tonight, rather than tuning in to the usual dreck Hollywood puts out, try the dreck that Bollywood churns out instead. India's movie-making industry films 800 Hindi movies a year and this documentary follows four Indo-Canadians who head to Bombay to try and become film stars. In North America they are afraid of getting stuck with ethnic bit parts; Bollywood films should bring them much bigger fame. It worked for Ruby Bhatia of Ajax who's now well known as a video deejay on a satellite channel. But she, and the others profiled here, encounter reverse racism in India. "I went from being the Indian girl in Canada to the Canadian girl in India," says Bhatia. In India, Ruby, Vikram, Vekeana and Neeru work hard at being noticed but hear the same hollow promises heard by actors half a world away in Los Angeles. These four also leave discussions about the craft of acting to their Hollywood colleagues. The town they are in produces silly song-and-dance flicks for the masses and, after so many serious-actor profiles last month from the Toronto Film Festival, this doc is a breath of fresh air. Also: Great Performances (PBS, 9 p.m.) airs Carnegie Hall's opening night concert, which was taped earlier this month. The program features works from Maurice Ravel by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim performs Piano Concerto in G Major and then conducts several Ravel scores, including Bolero. THURSDAY Who Counts? Election Reform in America PBS, 10 p.m. Florida's voting problems are not over yet. The state that kept a nation on tenterhooks two years ago as presidential ballots were counted and recounted, had more problems last month during the September primaries. It was the first test of Florida's revamped election system and things didn't go too well: Polls had to stay open two hours longer than usual. What serendipitous timing for this PBS documentary. Who Counts? gives a comic touch to this already ridiculous story of dimpled chads and derelict voting machines. Saturday Night Live comic Darrell Hammond provides comments through impersonations of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Dick Cheney. There's also an emphasis on the incredulity of that election night with candid, unaired clips of reporters trying to get the story under control before they go live. Politicians, Florida voters and backroom strategists get their say too. Two years later, they are a lot more loquacious and as angry as ever. Also: CBC News: On the Frontlines (Newsworld, 8 p.m.) begins a three-part celebration of 50 years of foreign reporting on the network. FRIDAY Rideau Hall CBC, 7:30 p.m. It's hard to fathom but the word is that Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson is the inspiration behind Rideau Hall's G-G Regina Gallant (played by Bette MacDonald). Clarkson's sense of style and outspoken manner has been perverted into an ex-disco queen-turned-G-G who regularly smokes dope and bumbles through official functions. MacDonald, who's a big star on the East Coast, obviously has a blast playing this character and this sitcom is supposed to be her big break in the rest of Canada. But she, and this sitcom, are an acquired taste. If Clarkson is the inspiration, it's an embarrassing spoof. Some call Rideau Hall a political comedy, but it's really just another silly sitcom. Consider yourself lucky if you missed last week's lame premiere. Tonight's episode is somewhat sharper, it's about smoking pot and makes several references to Canada's now-defunct medical marijuana program. Rideau Hall's pilot aired in January and CBC asked for viewer input. It got such a good response the network ordered six more episodes. So who am I to judge the taste of a nation?

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