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THE DAILY NEWS WATCH-O-RAMA HIGHLIGHTS AND LOWLIGHTS OF THE COMING TV WEEK.

Byline: David Kronke

``Dreamkeeper''

(ABC Channel 7; 9 tonight and Monday)

Think: An American Indian ``Arabian Nights'': An elderly American Indian (August Shellenberg), hoping to keep his culture and traditions alive, treks across America with his grandson Shane (Eddie Spears) and relates old yarns along the way.

Don't think: If this were really any good, wouldn't they put it on at a more high-profile time instead of burying it amid the holidays?

In a nutshell: Doesn't make much sense why Shane wouldn't want to go on a road trip - especially when some loan sharks are after him. At any rate, it's a little earnest and medicinal, with some cheesy special effects along the way. But it might provide an elementary primer to Indian culture for younger viewers.

``World Idol''

(Fox Channel 11; Wednesday at 9 p.m.)

Think: The world's top pop crooner from ``Idol'' shows around the globe is named tonight in London, then Elton John shows 'em how it's really done.

Don't think: Network executives always insist they're not over-exploiting their hot properties, but network executives always lie. So expect ``Milky Way Galaxy Idol'' in the new year.

In a nutshell: Hmmm, it's either go out to a New Year's Eve party or watch a bunch of wannabes perform overblown versions of bad pop songs - hmmm.

``Adult Swim's New Year's Eve Bash''

(Cartoon Network; Wednesday at 11 p.m.)

Think: Brak's diminutive dad hosts the holiday festivities, with new episodes of ``Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law,'' ``Sealab 2021,'' ``The Brak Show'' and ``Aqua Teen Hunger Force.''

Don't think: It's kind of sad when you have to go to Cartoon Network for your cagey political satire (tonight's ``Harvey Birdman'' jabs political paranoia's attack on civil liberties) - and your jokes about cannibalism (``Sealab 2021'').

In a nutshell: As always, inspired comic lunacy - those who don't usually get ``Adult Swim's'' dadaistic sensibility might try it tonight after a few glasses of champagne.

``HGTV'S All Premiere New Year''

(HGTV; Thursday beginning with the Tournament of Roses Parade at 8 a.m.)

Think: A gamut of new home-improvement series and specials, including ``What Have I Done?'' (about remodeling fiascos) at 11 a.m., ``Designed to Sell'' (improvement tips from real-estate pros) at 11:30 a.m., ``Pet Palaces'' (obsessive creature comforts) at noon, and the self-explanatory ``Great Outdoor Kitchens'' at 1 p.m. and ``HGTV's Dream Home 2004'' at 7 p.m.

Don't think: Counter-programming for those who don't care about college football - or can't bear to see how the BCS will attempt to job USC one final time.

In a nutshell: If your New Year's resolution is to remodel your home or garden in 2004, you can begin immediately with this lineup of how-to programming.

``Absolutely Fabulous''

(Oxygen; Friday at 9 p.m.)

Think: The epically self-absorbed and decadent Patsy (Jennifer Saunders) and Edina (Joanna Lumley) return with new episodes - after what seems to be at least a couple of farewell shows - mocking all things cutting-edge, from Hummers to Iraqi war coverage.

Don't think: Since their whole joke is how pathetic they are, this show only gets more pointed the longer they drag it along.

In a nutshell: Patsy's latest wonderfully inappropriate piece of advice - ``You should tell people (you're pregnant) when you see them; you don't want them thinking you're fat!'' - proves the show maintains its ferocious bite, if not quite as frequently, given all the celebrity appearances.

``The Directors: David Mamet''

(Encore; Saturday at 11 a.m.)

Think: Steve Martin, Joe Mantegna, William H. Macy and others pay homage to the playwright/screenwriter/director/man's-man.

Don't think: What's his name? %*(at)# you, that's his name!

In a nutshell: The narration discreetly notes Mamet ``extensively employs what is commonly known as profanity or gutter language.'' Such niceties - the documentary kind of tiptoes around exploring his scabrous worldview, as well - dilute what is otherwise a smart examination of his work.

``Terry Jones' Medieval Lives''

History Channel; Saturdays at 7 p.m.)

Think: Former Python Terry Jones co-directed the classic ``Monty Python and the Holy Grail,'' which apparently qualifies him to host this droll program on medieval history, with episodes examining the everyday lives of knights, monks, damsels, alchemists, minstrels, outlaws - and, of course, the king.

Don't think: The animation here is cute and whimsical, but Terry Gilliam needn't lose any sleep.

In a nutshell: Jones is an amiable host, and the show is largely fun as it edifies. You'll discover ``Holy Grail'' got more right than you ever imagined.

CAPTION(S):

3 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) ``DREAMKEEPER''

(2 -- color) KELLY CLARKSON

(3 -- color) BRAK
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Title Annotation:U; Review
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 28, 2003
Words:762
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