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'The Critic,' the elephants, the Beatles


What's a critic to recommend tonight? "The Critic," naturally -- as well as the repeat of a fascinating documentary on the Beatles.

* "National Geographic Special: 'Reflections on Elephants' " (8-9 p.m., WMPT, Channel 22) -- Last year's "National Geographic" special on zoo keepers had a long and captivating segment on elephants, showing how one particular zoo keeper had gone to great lengths to make his pachyderms feel at home. Here's an entire special devoted to a similar approach, in which filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert observe elephants in the wild, focusing on behavior not necessarily associated with these large and usually docile beasts. PBS.

* "Beverly Hills, 90210" (8-9 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- To this point, Brandon (Jason Priestley) has been content to fantasize about his professor's amorous wife -- fantasies that have been getting pretty steamy by "90210" standards. Tonight, though, fantasies cross over into realities, in an episode appropriately keyed to Valentine's Day. Fox.

* "The Critic" (8:30-9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- This show, now presenting its third episode, has joined "The Simpsons" and "Frasier" as a prime-time sitcom in which actual celebrities are ready and eager to "appear" as guest voices. Tonight's show features Geraldo Rivera, who provides his own voice but is seen only as a cartoon figure. (And yes, wise guy, there's a difference.) ABC.

* "Now" (9-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Viva Ann-Margret: Katie Couric is scheduled to interview the co-star of "Viva Las Vegas" about her true relationship with Elvis Presley. NBC.

* "Melrose Place" (9-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Laura Leighton, as Sydney, keeps edging closer to the Alexis level of nastiness (a standard set years ago by Joan Collins on "Dynasty"). Tonight she resorts to blackmail to control Michael. Fox.

* "48 Hours: 'Is Your Food Safe?' " (10-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- There's an element of helplessness pervading this special, which looks into the ways in which chicken, beef and fish are brought to market, and tests each final product for bacterial content. Even the systems that look the safest and cleanest don't necessarily turn out that way. Viewing tip: If you haven't made dinner yet, and you're planning to watch this show later, you might want to opt for something other than medium-rare beef. CBS.


* "The Making of Sgt. Pepper" (10-11 p.m., DIS) -- This is the special that revealed, for the first time on national TV, just how much gold was in them thar hills back at the EMI Studios, where the Beatles have stored their hundreds of hours of recording tape. Watching engineer George Martin separate and comment upon the various tracks used in the recording of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is fascinating, and the response to this show undoubtedly was what opened the doors for the further exploration and eventual public release of other material from the Beatles archives.

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