It's winter, time again for influenza. And of course it's always time for teen angst on television. This week, you get both.
On Monday at 9, the WB network launches "Brutally Normal," a series that explores the world of teens trying to tame their inner demons. WB's single-camera sitcom debuts with a one-hour episode, then switches next week to a half-hour format. Eddie Kaye Thomas, Michael Damus, Tangie Ambrose and Lea Moreno are pals coping with adolescence by using creative imaginations. Joanna Pacula co-stars.
On Saturday at 9, ABC airs "Runaway Virus," a story about scientists trying to stem a flu epidemic by exhuming the bodies of Russian miners who died of the 1918 Spanish flu. Paige Turco and Jason Beghe star.
Sunday at 8 on WB
Felicity Porter and her college friends get an unusual episode this week, set roughly in the early-to-mid-1960s -- if clothing and other accouterments are any indication -- and taped in black and white. The surreal story takes her to a strange clinic where a doctor and nurse promise to fix her lovesick heart. Written by the show's creator and executive producer, J.J. Adams, it's an homage to the genre that includes "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits."
Monday at 9 on PBS
"The American Experience" looks at the Hungarian immigrant who became an international star by freeing himself from various forms of imprisonment.
But Nancy Porter and Beth Tierney's documentary reveals he had his own doubts about his mortality. In 1926, Houdini died at 52 from a burst appendix suffered when a student at Montreal's McGill University challenged him to withstand a blow to the stomach, and struck him before he was ready.
P.O.V. "Regret to Inform"
Monday at 10 on PBS
The showcase of independent documentaries offers filmmaker Barbara Sonneborn's Oscar-nominated "Regret to Inform," a highly praised work that won a Sundance Award.
In 1968, on her 24th birthday, Sonneborn got word that her husband, Jeff, had been killed in Vietnam while trying to rescue a wounded soldier during a mortar attack. Twenty years later, Sonneborn set out to find widows like herself whom she had come to view as the hidden casualties of the war. Through interviews with both American and Vietnamese women, she explores the personal meaning of war and loss.
THE LIVING EDENS: THAILAND
Wednesday at 8 on PBS
Faye Dunaway narrates this look at the tropical sanctuaries of Thailand, home to a variety of animals including gibbons, tigers and elephants and a place strongly influenced by its Buddhist culture.
A treat for the eyes in high-definition format, the installment comes from Emmy-winning producer Bruce Reitherman, who also co-wrote the script and and was principal cinematographer.
Wednesday at 9 on PBS
This four-part arts series explores the current relevance of music, literature, films and paintings that have been considered controversial.
First up: Mark Twain's often-banned 1885 novel "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," which crossed boundaries of race, class and culture; and Edouard Manet's bold "Olympia," a painting of a reclining nude prostitute exhibited in Paris in 1865 to considerable criticism and outrage.