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'National Geographic' struts its stuff


There's not much on TV tonight, but there is one obvious VCR highlight -- one for the whole family, or even if you're watching TV alone. It's NBC's 30-year compilation of footage from "National Geographic Specials," a two-hour special that's not only fact-filled, but fun-filled and fauna-filled.

* "30 Years of National Geographic Specials" (8-10 p.m., Channel 11) -- A lizard runs, somehow, on the water's surface. A desert spider escapes from a predator by rolling his legs into a ball and cartwheeling down the sand dune. Hyenas and lions fight over a carcass in the darkness of night -- darkness pierced, somehow, by the intrepid "National Geographic" camera crews. And on and on and on, for two solid, fascinating hours, in a special that marks this series' return to commercial television. NBC.

* "Live From Lincoln Center" (8-10 p.m., channels 22, 67) -- They call him mellow cello: Yo-Yo Ma is the soloist in Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B Minor, with Kurt Masur conducting the New York Philharmonic. This live broadcast also includes Schumann's Symphony No. 3. PBS.

* "Women of the House" (8-8:30 p.m., Channel 13) -- Now you see her, now you don't. Valerie Mahaffey, who played Suzanne Sugarbaker's daffy receptionist, has completed her run of episodes and is gone now. Taking her place, playing yet another daffy receptionist, is Julie Hagerty. CBS.

* "Beverly Hills, 90210" (8-9 p.m., Channel 45) -- Donna, played by Tori Spelling, wants to establish herself as a debutante, so this repeat episode has her moving to a new zip code -- in Texas. Fox.

* "Roseanne" (9-9:30 p.m., Channel 2) -- Cross-dressing hits "Roseanne" again: Michael Fishman, who plays Roseanne's young son D.J., also plays a young Roseanne in this tongue-in-cheek, clip-filled "flash-ahead" show. ABC.

* "Northern Exposure" (10-11 p.m., Channel 13) -- This is a repeat of the episode in which Joel (Rob Morrow) ingests something that not only doesn't agree with him, but that transports him into some alternate New York-based reality, where he's married to Shelly (Cynthia Geary) and Maurice (Barry Corbin) is the doorman. CBS.

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