Most of the action tonight is on cable, but CBS has a notable way to attack the competition: Make it brief, as in the broadcast TV premiere of 1993's "The Pelican Brief."
"Ellen" (8 p.m.-8: 30 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- On this week's Thanksgiving episode of "Ellen," the turkey comes out -- of the oven, that is. Meanwhile, guess who's coming to dinner? A homeless man, played by "SCTV" veteran Joe Flaherty. ABC.
"The Pelican Brief" (8 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington are very good as the noble leads in this John Grisham thriller, but don't downplay the performances or impact of the supporting cast, especially John Lithgow and John Heard. CBS.
"National Geographic Special: 'Okavango: Africa's Savage Oasis' " (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Some of the footage in this new "National Geographic" special, particularly the scenes showing wild dogs chasing antelope across the plain and into the water, gives new meaning to the term "fast food." NBC.
"Star Trek: Voyager" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WNUV, Channel 54) -- John de Lancie as Q, the best recurring character in the entire "Star Trek" canon, returns -- this time returning to "Voyager," with amorous designs on Kate Mulgrew's Capt. Kathryn Janeway. UPN.
"P.O.V." (9: 30 p.m.-11 p.m., MPT, Channels 22 and 67) -- Washington's Vietnam Veterans Memorial is such a classic, and a visit to it so emotional, it's hard to believe it was so thoroughly trashed when it was first proposed. Fortunately, good taste won out, as "Maya Lin: A Strong, Clear Vision" shows. The documentary was nominated for an Academy Award two years back. PBS.
"The Drew Carey Show" (9: 30 p.m.-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Massively made-up Mimi's mom (say that quickly five times) shows up on tonight's show -- and is portrayed, in a wickedly inspired piece of casting, by Tammy Faye Messner, the former Tammy Faye Bakker. ABC.
"Ralph Emery's On the Record with Andy Griffith" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., TNN) -- Part 1 of 2. Griffith is a guy whose life story is fascinating enough to be re-created as a docudrama -- or, as is the case here, recounted in a friendly, funny and touching extended interview session.
"E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" (8 p.m.-10: 30 p.m., TNT) -- Phone home: This year's Thanksgiving treat arrives a day early.
"Inside the Actors Studio: Martin Landau" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., BRAVO) -- Here's an actor whose experiences and memories go back to the golden era of the Actors Studio -- with stories about James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, as well as more modern tales. One of the best installments yet.
"The 20th Century with Mike Wallace" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., repeats 2 a.m.-3 a.m., A&E;) -- Was subway vigilante Bernhard Goetz a hero or villain? Among the interviews: Goetz's lawyer, Barry Slotnick, and Ron Kuby, the lawyer who helped win a $43 million judgment XTC against Goetz for the boy he shot on a New York subway in 1984.
Pub Date: 11/27/96