Yes, there's something new on TV this summer: "Power Play," a Canadian-made drama series about a U.S. sports agent who returns to Ontario to run a struggling NHL franchise.
The series airs Mondays at 9 on UPN.
Michael Riley plays expatriate Brett Parker, who has become a ratings-hungry U.S. sports agent planning to repackage and market Canada's national sport to maximize his own profits. But he finds himself sucked back to his home town, Hamilton, as general manager of its expansion team, the Steelheads. In the opener, the team has reached the playoffs for the first time in its history.
Kari Matchett is the team's strong-willed president; Gordon Pinset is its eccentric owner; Dean McDermott is the team's captain; and Al Waxman is its coach, who has a drinking problem. Real former NHL and Junior A players take to the ice as the team.
Producers Glenn Davis and Bill Lauren, both natives of Montreal, once wrote a pilot for CBS about a women's professional hockey league. Later they wrote a feature film script about a minor league hockey team. Neither clicked.
This time, Laurin says, the show is about something bigger than hockey: "It's about the lives of the people around the team and, by implication, about what it is to be Canadian and to live in Canada."
The series earned excellent reviews last season in Canada.
THE PEOPLE'S CENTURY
Monday-Thursday at 9 on PBS
PBS's "The People's Century" begins a second (and final) season of 13 new installments that explore history through the eyes of ordinary men and women who made and lived it.
John Forsythe and Alfre Woodard narrate this week's six episodes.
Monday: "Bloomtime," a look at 1948 and post-war prosperity that transformed lifestyles and cultural values in the United States and abroad; and "Young Blood," focusing on 1968, when a new generation challenged the "establishment" of their parents.
Tuesday: "Fallout" (1945), the unleashing of nuclear energy; and "Endangered Planet" (1959), when growth brought prosperity at a price.
Wednesday: "Great Leap" (1965), a look at China's Chairman Mao Tse-tung; and "Asia Rising" (1951), the growing influence of Japan and Korea.
Thursday: "Skin Deep" (1960), a time when racial oppression is challenged in the United States and South Africa; and "Half the People" (1970), a look at women's fight for equal rights.
IN THE LIFE
Monday at 11 on WETA
The periodic newsmagazine for gays and lesbians features Judy Garland, but also has a segment on Arena Stage playwright-in-residence Paula Vogel, winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Vogel's "How I Learned to Drive" is playing at Arena Stage, and her "Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief" is being presented by Theatre Conspiracy at D.C. Arts Center.
Vogel also is doing two theatrical screenplays, including one for "Drive"; a Showtime movie; and a rewrite of her play "Hot 'n' Throbbing" for Arena, as well as "A Civil War Christmas" for Arena's 2000-2001 season.
AFI'S 100 YEARS . . .
Tuesday at 8 on CBS
Last year, the American Film Institute presented its top 100 films. This year, AFI picks its 50 top actors -- 25 men, 25 women. The selections will be presented by 50 contemporary stars including Jim Carrey, Cher, Kevin Costner, Claire Danes, Geena Davis, Laura Dern, Matt Dillon, Richard Dreyfuss, Mia Farrow, Bridget Fonda, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Edward Norton and Sylvester Stallone.
Also presenting: Woody Harrelson, Gregory Hines, Angelina Jolie, Michael Keaton, Jessica Lange, Shirley MacLaine, Marlee Matlin, Mike Myers, Lynn Redgrave, Gena Rowlands, Kevin Spacey, Billy Bob Thornton and James Woods.
AFI surveyed film professionals, scholars, critics, historians and other leaders to pick the winners. The AFI defines an "American screen legend" as an actor or team of actors with a significant screen presence in American feature films whose screen debut was made before 1950 or, if after 1950, whose death "marked a completed body of work."
From approximately 500 nominees, the judges were asked to pick the winners, based on star quality, level of craft, the performer's legacy and popularity and any pertinent historical factors that might enhance or diminish the actor's status.
Wednesday at 8 on Fox
The video rental folks host this fifth awards show honoring featured and supporting players from 1998 films and music artists with the year's top-selling albums. The awards ceremony was taped May 25 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
John Travolta will receive the World Artist Award.
'N Sync, Ricky Martin, Sarah McLachlan and the Backstreet Boys are scheduled to perform, with appearances by Nicolas Cage, Mariah Carey, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Kathy Bates.
Stars appearing include Tom Hanks, Drew Barrymore, James Coburn, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Greg Kinnear, Jay Leno, Mike Myers, Harry Connick Jr., Ellen DeGeneres, Scott Foley, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Hanks, Anne Heche, Jane Krakowski, LL Cool J, Cheri Oteri, Lynn Redgrave, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Antonio Sabato Jr., Rob Schneider, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Tilly, Chris Tucker and Usher.
A STORY OF FATHERS AND SONS Thursday at 8 on ABC
More than three dozen fathers and sons -- including athlete Shaquille O'Neal and actors Zachery Ty Bryan and Edward James Olmos -- share stories about their relationships in a one-hour documentary. The boys and men offer their ideas on topics that include teen-age parenthood, aging and baseball, all in the context of what fatherhood means.
Following is a repeat of "The Story of Mothers and Daughters," narrated by Patricia Richardson.
CAPTION: Michael Riley, left, and Dean McDermott of UPN's "Power Play."
CAPTION: Shaquille O'Neal is featured in "A Story of Fathers and Sons," airing Thursday at 8 on ABC.