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MARATHONS: Super Bowl alternatives
February 5, 2011  | By Diane Werts


If the Super Bowl's not your thing, Sunday TV offers some pretty great options for avoiding it -- silent movies, global taboos, Jane Austen, Roseanne, sports-and-society profiles, Hollywood musicals, and even a sort of real-life version of The Wire.

Here's a look at some of Sunday's marathon alternatives:

Dancing Delights Sunday (6 a.m.-4:30 a.m. ET, Fox Movie Channel) -- The song-and-dance gang's all here all day, from Carmen Miranda to Ethel Merman to Liza Minnelli to Tim Curry and the Time Warp. Here's the FMC lineup, all times ET: Staircase (6 a.m.) with Rex Harrison and Richard Burton as gay hairdressers, Busby Berkeley's The Gang's All Here (8 a.m.) with Carmen Miranda, Alice Faye and Charlotte Greenwood, There's No Business Like Show Business (10 a.m.) with Ethel Merman and Mitzi Gaynor, How to Be Very, Very Popular (noon) with Betty Grable,Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1:30 p.m.) with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, Let's Make Love (3:30 p.m.) with Monroe and Yves Montand, The Turning Point (5:30 p.m.) with Mikhail Baryshnikov, Bob Fosse's All That Jazz (8 p.m.) with Roy Scheider and Ann Reinking, The Fabulous Baker Boys (10:30 p.m.) with Jeff and Beau Bridges, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (12:30 a.m.), andLucky Lady (2:30 a.m.) with Liza Minnelli.

Monk (6 a.m.-6 a.m. ET, Sleuth) -- Of course. There's always a Monk marathon. No matter what. No matter when.

Law & Order: SVU (10 a.m.-midnight ET, USA) -- Of course. There's always an L&O marathon. No matter what. No matter when.


Taboo (noon-6 a.m. ET, NatGeo) -- Strange rituals, body modification, torturous religions, mind-altering drugs. What's weird here or there, is normal there or here, around the world.

Seven Ages of Rock (1-8 p.m. ET, VH1 Classic) -- Chart the chronology of rock (post-rock and roll) from the late '60s (The Who, Cream) through art rock and punk rock to heavy metal, stadium rock and alternative sounds (REM, Nirvana).

Masterpiece Classic (1:30-10 p.m. ET, WNET/13; check other PBS channel listings) -- New York's public TV station counters with a Jane Austen three-fer: Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility and Emma.

30 for 30 (5:30-10 p.m. ET, ESPN) -- A basketball-centric trio of documentaries from the acclaimed series: Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks (5:30), Jordan Rides the Bus (7 p.m.), and June 17, 1994 (9 p.m.), which includes the Knicks-Rockets NBA final among the events interrupted by O.J. Simpson's infamous "slow speed chase."

Brick City (4 p.m.-midnight ET, Sundance) -- This Peabody-winning docuseries is like The Wire writ real, as Newark mayor Cory Booker and other urban officials struggle to reinvigorate their ailing New Jersey metropolis.

Roseanne (7 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, TV Land) -- We tend to forget how really great this '80s-'90s ABC sitcom could be, how unflinching in its view of blue-collar struggles and intrafamily relationships. There's certainly nothing approaching its honesty on the air today.

Pawn Stars (8 p.m.-4 a.m. ET, History) -- There's family drama here, too, as this docusoap tracks the daily doings at a Las Vegas pawn shop appraising many historic objects. TVWW contributor Ronnie Gill assesses this surprise hit in her column here.


Sunrise and Wings (Sunday at 8 and 10 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies) -- My personal favorite option features two of the most dynamic-looking Hollywood movies ever, made at the height of silent movies' visual mastery, just as sound was taking over and "talkies" would effectively extinguish that exquisite art form. Both the culture clash of Sunrise, from Nosferatu director F.W. Murnau, and the aerial epic Wings, from "Wild Bill" Wellman (The Public Enemy), won Academy Awards in that trophy's first year of presentation (1927-28). Click the links above to learn more about these gorgeous films that remain impressive and still influential in very different ways.

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