PBS looks at space link CBS previews papal visit

A pair of programs -- an educational daytime broadcast on Maryland Public Television and the political pot-boiler "The Monroes" on ABC -- involve themes of space exploration. And "48 Hours" on CBS offers an inside look at Pope John Paul II's U.S. tour.

* "Live From the Stratosphere" (Noon-1 p.m., MPT, Channels 22, 67) -- Showing off new technology, this telecast involves students from Green Valley Elementary School in Frederick County communicating live with scientists in Mountain View, Calif., who are preparing NASA's Kuiper Airborne Observatory to fly to the upper reaches of the atmosphere to study the heavens. Telecasts Oct. 12 and Oct. 14 will include live communications during the mission.


* "Friends" (8 p.m.-8:30 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Monica and Rachel (Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston) find themselves in line for a curious inheritance when grumpy downstairs neighbor Mr. Heckles (guest star Larry Hankin) leaves them all his possessions. NBC.

* "Mystery!" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., MPT, Channels 22, 67) -- A 16th season begins with a three-part adaptation of "Gallowglass," a Barbara Vine novel about a young man (Michael Sheen) recruited for a kidnapping by the man who saves him from suicide (Paul Rhys). PBS.


* "The Monroes" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Do you think we can credit the success of "Apollo 13" for one of tonight's plot lines? Astronaut son James (Steven Eckholdt) is lost in space when NASA cannot make contact with his shuttle. ABC.

* "Caroline in the City" (9:30 p.m.-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Dan Butler, better known as sportscaster Bulldog Briscoe from "Frasier," does a guest turn as owner of an art gallery that displays works only by gay artists. When it accepts a submission from Richard (Malcolm Gets), he has to decide whether to reveal he is straight. NBC.

* "48 Hours" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Pope John Paul II's visit to the United States -- including Baltimore -- gets a preview as anchor Dan Rather and colleagues look at the complicated logistical details of the trip. Included are reports on the scalping of tickets to Masses and the marketing of souvenir merchandise. CBS.


* "Kramer vs. Kramer" & "Heartburn" (8 p.m.-10:20 p.m. & 10:20 p.m.-1 a.m., TNT) -- Do you get the link? It's actress Meryl Streep in a double feature of vastly different films. In the first (1979), hTC she's the mother fighting ex-husband Dustin Hoffman for custody of their son. In the second (1986), she stars in the film version of author Nora Ephron' largely autobiographical novel.