By Mike Hughes
Gannett News Service
"Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives," 6 p.m., HBO. As the Civil War ended, more than 4 million slaves were set free. Some 70 years later, about 100,000 remained alive, carrying vital memories. That's when the Work Projects Administration sent writers out as part of its Federal Writers' Project. They returned with more than 2,000 interviews with former slaves.
Now, generations later, comes a brilliantly crafted film. Alongside old photos and films, we see modern actors simply reading the slaves' memories. Using dialect and strong delivery, Samuel L. Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, Ossie Davis, Vanessa L. Williams, Alfre Woodard and more tell the slaves' stories. Whoopi Goldberg narrates. The power of the words is enough.
"Fear Factor," 7 p.m., NBC. It seems everyone has a different idea of Valentine's Day. This show's notion is to have four couples compete. Among other things, they transfer roaches from one box to another using only their mouths. Ah, romance.
"Third Watch," 8 p.m., NBC. As last week's episode ended, Cruz's drug-addicted sister was supposed to find a meth lab. Instead, she ran in and warned the people; a moment later, there was a huge explosion. Tonight's episode begins with Bosco, Cruz and her sister trapped in the inferno.
"Everybody Loves Raymond," 8 p.m., CBS. Ray is supposed to do more disciplining of the kids.
"The Practice," 8 p.m., ABC. Chyler Leigh, of the short-lived "girls club," becomes the newest lawyer in the office. Meanwhile, Rosanna Arquette plays the woman Jimmy had a crush on, long ago.
"CSI: Miami," 9 p.m., CBS. Radioactive material might have been used as a murder weapon.
"Crossing Jordan," 9 p.m., NBC. When a key witness is stabbed to death, Jordan finds some disturbing clues.