If the Olympics aren't your thing, never fear: TV does have other offerings this week. VH1's "Soundtrack to War" brings home the sounds of Baghdad, and PBS presents the final installment of its police suspense series "Foyle's War." The Sci Fi Channel visits "Raptor Island," while ABC spotlights "The Best TV Shows That Never Were." On the Disney Channel, the animated "Brandy & Mr. Whiskers" makes its debut. A special on domestic violence, "Fatal Fathers," airs on A&E. And as all eyes on Athens anticipate Olympic gold, ESPN stays tuned for its silver anniversary.

the best tv shows that never were

Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC

The title is just a bit misleading. If these shows really were the best, why weren't they ever featured on the cover of TV Week?

The answer is obvious if you tune in to this special, which rounds up some of the oddest pilot episodes of sitcoms, action shows, sci-fi and cop programs that never reached the viewing public, thanks to network decisions and pure luck.

Some examples: Dennis Franz is a New York City mounted cop who can't stay in the saddle. Tom Selleck and Robert Urich are detectives who sit at a desk playing tic-tac-toe on a legal pad. The Norse god Thor pops up in an experiment gone haywire, and now only wants to drink beer.

One pilot features a troll-like being as a child's best friend, and William Shatner turns up as a helpful cowboy in a sci-fi show about Amish aliens. Really.

The show is based on co-executive producer Lee Goldberg's book, "Unsold Television Pilots."

mystery! foyle's war II:

the funk hole

Monday at 10 p.m. on MPT

This is the fourth and final saga in the 2004 edition of this suspense series spotlighting inspector Christopher Foyle.

With London in the grip of the Blitz in October 1940, Foyle, played by Michael Kitchen, is on the trail of a missing child and a break-in at a local food depot.

The investigation takes Foyle's team to a "funk hole," a private, secret hotel serving longterm guests during wartime. But Foyle finds the guests have their own secrets: deceit, cowardice and greed.


Wednesday at 10 p.m. on ABC

At the height of the civil-rights movement, a group of people tried to integrate one of America's wealthiest suburbs, Shaker Heights, Ohio. Now their children come together to discuss school integration and overcoming the racial divide.


Wednesday at 9 p.m. on PBS

In a rebroadcast that first aired in 2002, author and humorist Roy Blount Jr. journeys down the Mississippi River seeking his southern roots.

Blount hunts for the spirit of Mark Twain and looks at how the nation's great river, celebrated in song and literature, has changed. Blount, described by the Chicago Tribune as "America's foremost humorist," examines both the literal and metaphorical "mainstream" of America.

LOCAL american idol auditions

It's not on the air but it is in town. And it's time for the next Clay Aiken or Fantasia Barrino (right) to get in line -- literally. Auditions for the next "American Idol" are underway across the United States, including the District.

If you believe your vocal stylings can withstand Simon Cowell's blunt -- some might say, brutal -- critiques, line up after 6 a.m. on Tuesday at the Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place. Auditions are set for Wednesday.

The fourth installment of the show will air early next year with a fresh roster of wannabes vying for adulation, adoration and a recording contract.

Need more info? Go online to idolonfox.com.