Nerds everywhere have been creaming their jeans in excitement for the new animated "micro series" Star Wars: Clone Wars, which premieres tonight. These five-minute episodes, which air every weeknight through November 20, fit between the insanely boring Episode II: Attack of the Clones and the yet-to-suck untitled Episode III. The usual charactersObi-Wan, Anakin, Padme, Yoda, Samuel L. Jacksonget all freaky with their cartoon selves as the Rebellion continues to battle the Empire. Watch this you probably won't. Get all your Star Wars action this weekend with Episode II on HBO Saturday at noon, or kick it '77-style with Star Wars on UPN Saturday at 12:30.
Cartoon Network, 7 p.m. (stay tuned for the Pokémon movie).
Someone needs to be fired from VH1's title-writing team. The braintrust couldn't come up with a better name for Hot Babes, Ugly Guys, the hard-hitting news program that examines the mysterious phenomenon best exemplified on our fine campus. Featured in the 30 minutes of shame are Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson, Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel, Renee Zellweger and Jack Whitehey wait! Jack White is cute! In any case, VH1 makes you feel OK about your chances with that hottie from Soc.
VH1, 7 p.m.
Inside the Actors Studio rules hard, and everyone knows it. I've taken some flack in my day because of my love for this show, but I stand firm. Where else could I learn that Gwyneth Paltrow's favorite curse is "balls"? Or that Mike Meyers's favorite sound is his wife's laughter? Yeah, that's right, Inside the Actors Studio hooked me up. On this rerun, James Lipton interviews the cast of The Simpsons, posing not-so-intense questions to Harry Sherer (Mr. Burns, Smithers), Hank Azaria (Apu, Chief Wiggum), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Julie Kavner (Marge), and Dan Castellaneta (Homer). It kind of freaks me out when James Lipton asks to "speak to" the charactersit's not as if any of these people write the dialogue, they just say it in a funny voicebut the hour does include a decent amount of Simpsons trivia as well as a rare public appearance by Kavner. Thank God Lipton decides against making any "Ay, Carumba" jokes.
Bravo, 7 p.m.
King of the Jungle should really be called Who Wants to be a Crocodile Hunter? Despite this oversight, Animal Planet holds its own in the reality-contest genre with this epic that pits adventure-seeking veterinarians against each other in a battle for their own show. Jeff Corwin leads the decidedly unhot contestants through the jungle, making them spew information about the weird critters they encounter while offering helpful tips like, "You shouldn't stand that close to the elephant." On tonight's episode, poisonous snakes freak some of the vets out, and the pressures of the contest start to take their toll. I'm tempted to say a catfight will ensue, but I'll refrain.
Animal Planet, 7 p.m.
Just in case you didn't get your geek jollies on Friday with the Star Wars cartoons, tonight's X-Files rerun is an absolute classic. "Small Potatoes" typifies everything that The X-Files did right: it blends creepy with funny, intelligence with sympathy, self-contained mystery with series-long drama. Our beloved FBI agents head to a small town where babies are being born with tails and discover a weirdo guy with a sizeable man-crush on Mulder. A few genetic disorders later, bizarro Mulder and Scully get pretty snuggly on the couch. Despite the show's admonition to Trust No One, trust me tonight and catch this all-time great.
Sci-Fi, 8 p.m.
What do Jack Black, Patty Hearst, and Kylie Minogue have in common? One amazing movie, that's what. Bio-Dome showcases Pauly Shore at his finest and Steven Baldwin getting his stoner act down before really letting it shine in Half Baked. Bio-Dome's complex and dramatic plot tails Shore and Baldwin as they try to impress their eco-conscious ex-girlfriends by living in the bio-dome for a year. I was just kidding when I said this movie was amazing, by the way. It is worth the watch, however, for the early Tenacious D scene.
TMC, 7 p.m.
Forensic science is hot and everyone knows it. CSI (but not its bullshit sister show CSI: Miami) takes fingerprints and DNA samples to the next level by sexing it up in Las Vegas. Smoky lab guys, mysteriously sultry flashlight-handling, tension-wrought crime scenesCSI has it all. The weird special effects and shadowy lighting help keep the drama vibe going when the science jargon gets annoying. Much like Law & Order, each episode is primarily self-contained, making it the perfect show to catch every once in a while. Tonight, the black guy gets in trouble, and everyone scrambles to cover his ass. I'm not sure why this is the most-watched show in America, but it holds up as a Thursday night standard.
CBS, 8 p.m.