The Prisoner

AMC, Nov. 15, 8 p.m. ET/PT |

DRAMA

Even if you've never seen the original Prisoner, a trippily paranoid British series that aired here in the 1960s, you've felt its trickle-down influence on the far nuttier Lost. And now, no doubt thanks to the success of ABC's cult hit, we have a new, six-hour Prisoner. Jim Caviezel, as a mystery man connected to an intelligence-data conglomerate, somehow finds himself christened Six and trapped in a resort town/prison camp where everyone eats wraps. (No, that's not a joke.) The Village is run by Two (Ian McKellen), a polite despot in a tropical suit from the Fantasy Island catalog. For all that, The Prisoner generates no real sense of enigmatic suspense. The wonderful Australian actress Rachael Blake gives the best performance as forlorn Madame Two. And she's in a coma for most of the show–What does that tell you?

Parks and Recreation

NBC, Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. ET/PT |

COMEDY

Amy Poehler's sitcom about small-town bureaucrats had a brief and underwhelming first season, but this fall it's grown into a low-key charmer. You wouldn't think a show could thrive when its most significant ongoing story involves filling in a pit, but the performers have gently asserted themselves. I like every one of them, especially Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford, whose great expertise is for doing nothing that resembles work, and Aubrey Plaza as unbudgeably unenthusiastic assistant April Ludgate. Parks and Recreation is like The Office without the sometimes jarring notes of loony aggression.

Chef Academy

Bravo, Nov. 16, 11 p.m. ET/PT |

REALITY

Superstar chef Jean Christophe Novelli has what it takes to run this show, in which he willfully instills wannabe chefs with proper kitchen technique. He's harsh enough to dump a student's lousy egg dish into the trash in disgust, but he resists full-scale tantrums. It's as if Gordon Ramsay were mellowed by prolonged braising in a good, ripe Burgundy. The premiere doesn't promise the same cutthroat fun as Bravo's Top Chef–most of these candidates aren't remotely as experienced–but Novelli dispenses some very helpful tips. (If you need to break down a garlic into cloves, just smash it with the flat of your hand.)

WW II in HD

History, Nov. 15, 9 p.m. ET/PT |

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DOCUMENTARY

Not the most dignified title, I suppose, but it gets across the major selling point of History's five-night, 10-hour documentary series: The story is given fresh edge and excitement through newly restored color footage from the era. All sorts of scratches, blemishes and color imbalances remain, of course, but the modern eye can't help being startled when it sees tomato-red Nazi flags instead of the familiar black-and-white of old newsreels, or gray battleships sending up spray on a blue, blue Pacific.

The history itself, at least in the first two hours sent out to critics, is presented conventionally, with personal reminiscences narrated offscreen by actors like Josh Lucas, Justin Bartha and Amy Smart. Its scope doesn't match Ken Burns' War for emotional detail and resonance. Frankly, I'd have been happy with nothing but the vivid rush of images. Someone should get to work immediately on WW II in HD and 3D!

>1 THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW

MON. 11/16

SYNDICATED

Sarah Palin visits Obama's celebrated supporter. Ooh!

2 MELROSE PLACE

TUES. 11/17 9 P.M.

CW

Heather Locklear, who turned the original into a hit, is back as nasty Amanda.

3 JANET JACKSON

WED. 11/18 10:01 P.M.

ABC

A press-shy star talks on In the Spotlight with Robin Roberts.

4 GENERAL HOSPITAL

FRI. 11/20 3 P.M.

ABC

Movie dreamboat James Franco arrives in Port Charles for a guest stint.

5 WHITE COLLAR

FRI. 11/20 10 P.M.

USA

Peter and Neal (Matt Bomer) set a trap to catch the dangerous thief of a mysterious portrait.

>The film actor, world-famous for The Passion of the Christ, turns to TV to play a man simply called Six on The Prisoner, AMC's new version of the British classic.

YOU FILMED IN SOUTH AFRICA. DID YOU MISS YOUR FAMILY?

My family came out three times. I have two kids, and it's very difficult to be away. They don't understand why Pop is gone.

HOW DID YOU STAY IN TOUCH?

I sent [my son Bo] a video of me in a shark tank. He got to take that to school and show his friends, and boy, he was the cool kid at school.

DID YOU AND COSTAR IAN MCKELLEN TALK ABOUT PLAYING JESUS AND GANDALF?

When we first met. Those things are in the past. The Prisoner is going to be one of those things they talk about.

> The Brazilian-born beauty, 30, plays Anna, the alien community's mesmerizing leader, on ABC's new hit.

DO YOU WISH ANNA SHOWED MORE EMOTION?

I see her as more controlled and precise with what she's feeling. There's definitely something sinister. In the last episode her true colors come out, and it's scary.

IT MUST BE WEIRD, SEEING YOUR FACE ON A SPACESHIP AND BIGGER THAN A BILLBOARD!

I was cringing and at the same time thinking, "Wow, my head is under a spaceship!" I never thought I'd say those words together in a sentence.

ANY RESERVATIONS ABOUT BEING IN A REMAKE?

No. I watched it as a kid. It's not the same show. It wouldn't hold up today.

SO NO EATING MICE?

Not right now, though I hear it may happen.

WHAT SHOULD A PROP MOUSE TASTE LIKE?

Like a gummy bear.

>The singer, 60, reveals a new, nude side in a guest appearance on Showtime's Californication.

WHO DO YOU PLAY?

Rick Springfield. When I got the part, they wrote around my actual life, but this guy is very extreme and egotistical. I shudder to think I'm like that.

HOW WERE THE NUDE SCENES?

It's not full frontal, so I had no qualms. It was comedy, though I wouldn't shy from an erotic scene. But I'd probably draw the line at porno.

DO YOUR WIFE AND KIDS APPROVE?

[Barbara, 47] loves the show and was encouraging. For my kids [Liam, 24, and Joshua, 20] it's "Dad is doing his thing."

DID YOU WORK OUT MORE FOR THE SCENE?

I didn't go, "I gotta get in shape." I lift weights 20 minutes a day, and when I'm onstage sweating, I couldn't get a better workout if I was having sex for two hours.

HOW IS CALIFORNICATION DIFFERENT FROM GENERAL HOSPITAL?

It's a lot easier and more fun. You only film two scenes a day.

STILL HAVE RABID FANS?

I sign diapers. Back in the day it was training bras.

>1 THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW

MON. 11/16

SYNDICATED

Sarah Palin visits Obama's celebrated supporter. Ooh!

2 MELROSE PLACE

TUES. 11/17 9 P.M.

CW

Heather Locklear, who turned the original into a hit, is back as nasty Amanda.

3 JANET JACKSON

WED. 11/18 10:01 P.M.

ABC

A press-shy star talks on In the Spotlight with Robin Roberts.

4 GENERAL HOSPITAL

FRI. 11/20 3 P.M.

ABC

Movie dreamboat James Franco arrives in Port Charles for a guest stint.

5 WHITE COLLAR

FRI. 11/20 10 P.M.

USA

Peter and Neal (Matt Bomer) set a trap to catch the dangerous thief of a mysterious portrait.

>The film actor, world-famous for The Passion of the Christ, turns to TV to play a man simply called Six on The Prisoner, AMC's new version of the British classic.

YOU FILMED IN SOUTH AFRICA. DID YOU MISS YOUR FAMILY?

My family came out three times. I have two kids, and it's very difficult to be away. They don't understand why Pop is gone.

HOW DID YOU STAY IN TOUCH?

I sent [my son Bo] a video of me in a shark tank. He got to take that to school and show his friends, and boy, he was the cool kid at school.

DID YOU AND COSTAR IAN MCKELLEN TALK ABOUT PLAYING JESUS AND GANDALF?

When we first met. Those things are in the past. The Prisoner is going to be one of those things they talk about.

>• The Brazilian-born beauty, 30, plays Anna, the alien community's mesmerizing leader, on ABC's new hit.

DO YOU WISH ANNA SHOWED MORE EMOTION?

I see her as more controlled and precise with what she's feeling. There's definitely something sinister. In the last episode her true colors come out, and it's scary.

IT MUST BE WEIRD, SEEING YOUR FACE ON A SPACESHIP AND BIGGER THAN A BILLBOARD!

I was cringing and at the same time thinking, "Wow, my head is under a spaceship!" I never thought I'd say those words together in a sentence.

ANY RESERVATIONS ABOUT BEING IN A REMAKE?

No. I watched it as a kid. It's not the same show. It wouldn't hold up today.

SO NO EATING MICE?

Not right now, though I hear it may happen.

WHAT SHOULD A PROP MOUSE TASTE LIKE?

Like a gummy bear.

>• The singer, 60, reveals a new, nude side in a guest appearance on Showtime's Californication.

WHO DO YOU PLAY?

Rick Springfield. When I got the part, they wrote around my actual life, but this guy is very extreme and egotistical. I shudder to think I'm like that.

HOW WERE THE NUDE SCENES?

It's not full frontal, so I had no qualms. It was comedy, though I wouldn't shy from an erotic scene. But I'd probably draw the line at porno.

DO YOUR WIFE AND KIDS APPROVE?

[Barbara, 47] loves the show and was encouraging. For my kids [Liam, 24, and Joshua, 20] it's "Dad is doing his thing."

DID YOU WORK OUT MORE FOR THE SCENE?

I didn't go, "I gotta get in shape." I lift weights 20 minutes a day, and when I'm onstage sweating, I couldn't get a better workout if I was having sex for two hours.

HOW IS CALIFORNICATION DIFFERENT FROM GENERAL HOSPITAL?

It's a lot easier and more fun. You only film two scenes a day.

STILL HAVE RABID FANS?

I sign diapers. Back in the day it was training bras.