Watching The Bachelor
made me grateful to be married. I mean, consider the plight of Alex Michel, the title figure of this six-week mating-game reality show. In the March 25 opener, Alex, a 31-year-old management consultant from San Francisco, had to greet, meet and size up two dozen comely young women—ranging from a neurophysiologist to an ad exec to a Hooters waitress—all vying to become his wife. You would think he'd be in Hefner Heaven. But no, the rules require him to winnow the candidates by half each week—no mean feat. As Alex complains, "It's hard for me to keep them straight." Don't feel too sorry for this guy, though. His smooth patter, reminiscent of Jude Law
's boy-toy android in A.I.
(Artificial Intelligence), leaves the women practically swooning. "You're special in my book," he tells Shannon, a financial-management assistant, on the April 1 show. She, no dummy, tells the audience, "I feel like he's said the same thing to all of us." Good guess. Each week's losers—the ones not handed a red rose by Alex at hour's end—look humiliated. That's entertainment? Actually, it's the survivors I worry about. True, Alex is a handsome devil. But the singles scene must be pretty bleak if women would rather mass for a prime-time cattle call than go out on a blind date.
Bottom Line: Harem-scarum
PBS (Sun., April 21, 9 p.m. ET)
Show of the week
The transcendental glory of Ansel Adams's panoramic black-and-white photographs of the American West—shimmering waterfalls, luminous skies, towering granite cliffs—cannot be duplicated by the swooping helicopter shots of his beloved High Sierras and Yosemite National Park that augment this eloquent 90-minute tribute. Even nature itself can look drab without Adams's dramatic contrasts of light and shadow, which he crafted largely in the darkroom. As he explained, "I see in my mind's eye something that is not literally there." What producer Ric Burns (New York: A Documentary Film
) sees in Adams is both a Whitman-esque bard of the wilderness, whose photographs span most of a century, from 1916 to 1983 (a year before he died at 82) and an engaging eccentric. A piano prodigy at 12, he switched to the camera after an awe-inspiring trip to Yosemite at 14. It was an emotional peak. The valleys included a mental breakdown in his 30s. Still, his lyrical photographs shine through here.
Sumptuous Coffee-Table Book for TV
Terry Kelleher is on vacation
Sunday, April 21 WORLD MUSIC AWARDS ABC (7 p.m. ET) Alicia Keys, Enya, Ja Rule, Shaggy and other top pop stars mark the show's 10th anniversary.
Monday, April 22 ALLY McBEAL
FOX (9 p.m. ET). Special guest stars Lara Flynn Boyle and Heather Locklear
face off in a bigamy case.
Tuesday, April 23 THE REAL SCORPION KING
History Channel (9 p.m. ET) Rock of ages? The wrestler hosts a special that claims his movie character was an actual Egyptian ruler.
Wednesday, April 24 RANK: 25 TOUGHEST STARS
E! (9 p.m. ET) Who's No. 1? Tom Cruise
, Angelina Jolie
and Keanu Reeves
are among the kick-butt contenders.
Thursday, April 25 WILL & GRACE
NBC (9 p.m. ET) Michael Douglas plays a closeted gay cop who's in group therapy with Jack (Sean Hayes).
Friday, April 26 WILD RESCUES
Animal Planet (9 p.m. ET)
A horse in a burning barn and a terrier on a sinking ship need help—fast.
Saturday, April 27 TRAVELS WITH HARRY
A&E (8 p.m. ET) Newsman Harry Smith profiles offbeat Americans from Alaska to New York.
ABC (Mondays, 9 p.m. ET; finale: Thurs., April 25, 9 p.m. ET)