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

Byline: David Kronke

``See Arnold Run''

(A&E; 8 tonight)

Think: Arnold Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial run is juxtaposed with flashbacks to the star's carefree bodybuilding days.

Don't think: Some icons are simply so well-known that it's hard to buy it when an actor tries to play them. Here, two actors - Roland Kickinger (young Ah-nold) and Jurgen Prochnow (Citizen Schwarzenegger) - are seemingly set up for failure.

In a nutshell: Kitschy times get an even kitschier treatment.

``The Magic of Ordinary Days''

(CBS Channel 2; 9 tonight)

Think: World War II-era single pregnant woman (Keri Russell in a hairstyle that would've gotten ``Felicity'' canceled outright) is hastily married off to a taciturn, unsophisticated farmer (Skeet Ulrich). Not really a meet-cute scenario, but the end result is pretty much the same.

Don't think: ``The Ordinariness of Movies With the Word 'Magic' in Their Title.''

In a nutshell: Kind of poetic title; kind of prosaic film; kind of OK performances.

``Pompeii: The Last Day''

(Discovery Channel; 9 tonight)

Think: Vesuvius blows its top; the Roman Empire shrinks by a town or two in A.D. 79.

Don't think: No need for computer-generated images of natural disasters; we seem to have seen enough real calamity lately.

In a nutshell: One of those weird hybrid shows that combines historical factoids delivered via narration with cheesy dramatic re-enactments, with plenty of splashy special effects. The historical tidbits register a jot more than the hokey thespian histrionics. A straightforward documentary follows.

``Murphy's Law''

(BBC America; 9 p.m. Monday)

Think: James Nesbitt stars as Tommy Murphy, an undercover detective with a cheekily unhinged sensibility and a tragic past that gets even more tragic: Tonight his girlfriend and colleague is murdered by a Jack-the- Ripper copycat.

Don't think: The title's quaint pun is worthy of an American TV show. Oh, wait, it was - George Segal played another troubled Murphy in a short-lived series in 1988-89.

In a nutshell: Good character and performer; average cop-show high jinks.

``Irving Thalberg: Prince of Hollywood''

(Turner Classic Movies; 8 p.m. and midnight Tuesday)

Think: Another larger-than-life character from the early days of Hollywood rates his own TCM documentary, this time the guy whose moniker adorned the producers' lifetime achievement award at the Oscars.

Don't think: Thalberg became head of Universal Studios at age 20, which doesn't seem like such a big deal when you consider that's not much younger than the callow minds green-lighting projects in the business today.

In a nutshell: Does a good job of delineating just how much Thalberg's career still informs the film industry today.

``House''

(Fox Channel 11; 9 p.m. Tuesday)

Think: A jazz musician (Harry Lennix) - someone that the misanthropic Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) actually admires - who has mysteriously lost the use of his legs experiences mounting afflictions and signs a ``Do Not Resuscitate'' form. Yet something else for House to disobey.

Don't think: Clever move on behalf of ``House's'' creators, using a music-themed episode to lure in ``American Idol'' viewers who otherwise might wander away.

In a nutshell: Another dryly funny and emotionally resonant story, with nice interplay between Laurie and Lennix. If anything, this series is only getting better.

``Fidel Castro''

(KCET; 9 p.m. Tuesday)

Think: Hey, he may be a Communist despot, but the guy's a survivor - just ask the CIA - and show biz respects that sort of thing, so he merits a documentary not botched by Oliver Stone. Adriana Bosch interviews exiles, former members of Castro's government and the dictator's daughter.

Don't think: How come everyone can buy Buena Vista Social Club and Egrem CDs, but they won't give the embargo on Cuban cigars a rest?

In a nutshell: Serious portrait of a man slouching toward irrelevance - but why is it part of the ``American Experience'' series?

``It Takes a Thief''

(Discovery Channel; 10 p.m. Wednesday)

Think: Former thieves Jon Douglas Reiny and Matt Johnson show homeowners how fragile the security to their houses is and offer tips to keep burglars out.

Don't think: Or are they schooling aspiring crooks as to the finer points of home invasion?

In a nutshell: Inventive variation on the home makeover show.

`` 'Happy Days' 30th Anniversary Reunion''

(ABC Channel 7; 8 p.m. Thursday)

Think: Nostalgic look back at the nostalgic '70s sitcom about the '50s. Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Tom Bosley and the rest of the cast reminisce amid the usual assortment of clips and bloopers.

Don't think: The show that invented the ``jump-the-shark'' moment even has a its own jump-the-shark moment in its reunion show - a pointless reunion softball game. (It also discusses that jump-the-shark moment, albeit while misrepresenting what jumping the shark means.)

In a nutshell: Amiable if overlong; fans will be well sated.

David Kronke, (818) 713-3638

david.kronke(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

3 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) ``THE MAGIC OF ORDINARY DAYS''

(2 -- color) ``POMPE II: THE LAST DAY''

(3 -- color) `` `HAPPY DAYS' 30TH ANNIVERSARY REUNION''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 30, 2005
Words:818
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