TV highlights March 16-23 

9 p.m. Friday, March 17
VH-1 (Comcast Ch. 56)

In the world of pop culture, some years are simply better than others. Such was the case with 1992, especially when it came to music. It was, for instance, the year that saw the death of hair metal in favor of the more cerebral Seattle sound, with flannel-draped bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam topping the charts. Meanwhile, in Southern California, 1992 saw the fullest flower of the “Gangsta Rap” phenomenon, with music by Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Ice T (who released his controversial rap/metal hybrid “Cop Killer” that year) serving as an angry soundtrack to the Rodney King riots. Bonus: the campaign of Bill Clinton, energized by his youth-friendly appearances on MTV.

BIG (1988)
7 p.m. Sunday, March 19
AMC (Comcast Ch. 31)

When you’re a kid, all you want to do is be big: drive cars, have money, not have to take out the trash. Here, in a genuine classic, Tom Hanks explores what can happen when your wishes come true. Transformed from 13 to 35 overnight by a magic fortune-telling machine, Hanks must go out and make his way in the big, cold world — a journey that includes getting a job and a girlfriend (Elizabeth Perkins). A funny and even sweet movie that doesn’t read as dated after all these years, “Big” is an early glimmer of Hanks’ rising star (for which he received a Best Actor Oscar nomination), and a sure-fire smile for any viewer.

7 p.m. Tuesday, March 21
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3,
Broadcast Ch. 2)

While Christian Fundies might believe that God just zapped North America’s native population onto the continent, the leveler heads of science have long wondered: How did the people who were here first get here? Speculation has long centered around migration from Asia via a long-disappeared land bridge over the Bering Strait around 12,000 years ago. New discoveries, however, point to a much earlier arrival, possibly as early as 15,000 B.C. Here, scientists hash out new theories on the subject, including the idea that the first Americans traveled here from Europe in flimsy hide canoes, or walked fragile and shifting ice floes from Asia.


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