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TV highlights, Feb. 8

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TAXI DRIVER (1976)
9:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10
American Movie Classics (Comcast Ch. 60)

Watch “Analyze This” and those “Focker” movies enough, and you might find yourself thinking: “What’s the big deal about Robert De Niro?” Rather than argue the point, it’s better to simply show you the power of Bobby D via a screening of the claustrophobic 1976 masterpiece, “Taxi Driver.” Under the direction of Martin Scorsese, De Niro stars as whacked-out New York cabbie Travis Bickle. A paranoid loser who fantasizes about sweeping the streets clean of “scum” with a shower of hot lead, Bickle’s ruinous attempts at relating to women — including trying to save a child prostitute (Jodie Foster) from her pimp, and taking a first date to a porno flick — only cause him to spiral deeper into his own fantasy world, where he eventually crash-lands in a nightmare of violence and madness. The result is one of the great films of all time.

MASTERPIECE THEATER: DRACULA
8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)

Though you can’t do a whole lot better than the 1931 Universal Pictures classic starring Bela Lugosi as the world’s favorite non-Republican bloodsucker, we’re expecting great things from this “Masterpiece Theater” remake of Bram Stoker’s legendary novel. If its previous productions are any yardstick, “Masterpiece” is sure to do it up right, with all the bustles, corsetry, romance and overall British stuffiness that makes the novel such a hoot. Too, it’s always nice to see new blood sinking a fang into some of the tried-and-true material. With Marc Warren as the Count, Sophia Myles as Lucy, Stephanie Leonidas as Mina and David Suchet as Dracula’s arch nemesis, Dr. Van Helsing. Don’t forget your garlic.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: NEW ORLEANS
8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)

While New Orleans definitely took a kick in the ribs from Katrina and the subsequent levee breaches and flooding the hurricane caused in 2005, The City That Care Forgot is down but not out. If there’s one city in America that knows how to rise from the ashes of hardship, heartbreak, tragedy and adversity, it’s New Orleans. Originally built on swampland, the city has seen flooding, corruption, disease, strife and pestilence of almost Biblical proportion in its nearly 300-year history. Still, it has carried on, while developing a reputation as a place where the rest of the country can go to have a good time. “American Experience” looks at the history of the city, from the Civil War to the struggles of the civil rights movement.

— David Koon

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