On the anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, TV Land's Myths and Legends (Saturday, 7 p.m.) delves into the mysteries surrounding his life. But it doesn't do so with what you'd call journalistic rigor. What of the idea that Elvis and Oprah Winfrey are distant cousins? After suggesting that Oprah's people "may have been" owned by Elvis' people pre-Civil War, a reputed authority observes that plantation owners "often" fathered children by their slaves. It's not exactly an airtight case, but that doesn't stop TV Land from hauling a former Elvis girlfriend in front of the camera to observe, "Elvis would have been thrilled and honored to be tied to Oprah in any way." Never mind that he hadn't heard of Oprah before he died in 1977.
Then there's the perennial question of Elvis' death. Did it really happen? "I still don't feel him gone," says a former backup singer. That doesn't really prove anything, but then author Gail Giorgio drops the bombshell: Elvis' corpse was really a wax dummy. The famous National Enquirer coffin photograph appeared to show beads of sweat, and Giorgio notes that "wax will bead up in the hot sun."
Apparently, authors' brains will rot in the hot sun, too.
Through Aug. 24 (NBC)
I'll be waving a little American flag during this week's basketball, gymnastics and boxing competitions. Let's hope our steroids are stronger than their steroids.
10 Most Shocking Mental Disorders
Friday, 8 pm (E!)
E! takes a break from counting down the hottest bodies and the hottest billionaire's daughters to get serious for a minute. "10 Most Shocking Mental Disorders" counts down the hottest celebrity breakdowns, from Mary-Kate Olsen's eating disorder to Katharine McPhee's bulimia to Kirsten Dunst's depression.
Did you know that the American Psychological Association now recognizes Being Driven Mad by E! Countdowns as an authentic mental disorder?
Fred Astaire/Gene Kelly
Saturday, 5 am-3 am; & Sunday, 5 am-2:30 am (TCM)
TCM drops a grace bomb right into your living room. On Saturday it's a full day of movies starring Fred Astaire, the dancer who defined elegance in the 1930s and '40s. On Sunday it's a full day of movies starring Gene Kelly, the dancer who offered his own definition of elegance in the 1940s and '50s.
Never has gravity seemed so overrated.
Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story
Sunday, 7 pm (Lifetime Movie Network)
The first 10 minutes of this fact-based TV movie are all pleasure: A couple (Judy Reyes and Hector Luis Bustamante) have a baby and coo over her relentlessly.
The next 10 minutes are all pain. The couple's apartment catches on fire, and the baby seems to perish.
The rest of the movie is about the mother's conviction that the baby has been kidnapped and is still alive. Then it's back to pain as you realize you've wasted two hours on a very predictable melodrama.
The Inspector Lynley Mysteries
Sunday, 8 pm (WHA)
It's the last hurrah for "The Inspector Lynley Mysteries," and I expected a big sendoff. "Fasten your seatbelts," I wrote in my review of last week's episode. Well, now you can unfasten them. "Know Thine Enemy" is just a stand-alone mystery. It offers no final statement about the partnership we've been following all these years, that of the upper-crust detective Lynley (Nathaniel Parker) and the working-class detective Havers (Sharon Small). Indeed, it barely addresses the characters' relationship, but merely sends them on a ho-hum search for a villain who abducted two schoolgirls.
Possibly because it didn't seem worth the effort, I could barely understand the partners' thick English accents this time. I'd been looking forward to hearing their last lines, but damned if I could figure out what they were.
Roast of Bob Saget
Sunday, 9 pm (Comedy Central)
Roasts usually target celebrities with foibles, featuring comedians with an edge. Don Rickles, for example, had little trouble exploiting Dean Martin's drinking or Frank Sinatra's ego. But Bob Saget? He was the nice-guy dad from Full House, and his roast is hosted by his nice-guy co-star, John Stamos.
Brace yourself for trenchant insult humor, Olsen Twin-style.
Criss Angel Mindfreak
Wednesday, 9 pm (A&E)
Criss Angel is the magician known for controlling matter with his mind: levitating, making robots come to life, etc. His series usually opts for a portentous tone, but this week the producers attempt to lighten things up by throwing Criss a surprise birthday party. Let's hope he's not so surprised that he accidentally changes the guests into donkeys.
Wednesday, 9 pm (Sci Fi)
Sci Fi's sadistic candid-camera series used to be funny every once in a while. Folks would give the producers permission to scare their unwitting friends with horror-movie scenarios. An alien would appear at a car window, the friend would scream, and everybody would laugh, including the relieved friend.
But this season, I haven't been laughing. The setups have crossed the line from cruelly amusing to just plain cruel. A female college student cowers as a homicidal stalker breaks into an office and advances on her. Who thinks up sick stuff like that?
Wait a minute - what's that behind you, Scare Tactics? Oh my God, it's the president of the Sci Fi network, and he's going to cancel the series! Run! Run!