TV Daily

Salon's guide to what to watch on Thursday: Sean Penn and Jon Krakauer retrace the last steps of Christopher McCandless on "Iconoclasts."

Published October 25, 2007 10:00AM (EDT)

Prime Pick

Photo: Sundance

In tonight's third season premiere of Sundance's "Iconoclasts" series (10 p.m. EDT), Sean Penn and Jon Krakauer visit Alaska together to retrace the last steps of Christopher McCandless, whose 1993 death in the wilderness was the subject of Krakauer's 1996 bestseller "Into the Wild." (Penn adapted the book into a film released this year.) "Iconoclasts" has always been a riveting series, and Penn and Krakauer are an ideal match, as both tend to work themselves into a romantic lather around any "Carpe Diem" theme: "Every time I go climbing, it occurs to me that I might die that day, and I think it helps keep me alive," says Krakauer. "Your senses, everything is heightened, which is the point of life, you know. It's to live in the world and to experience it so fully." Both men have also had career experiences that they're less enthusiastic about: Penn admits that he finds the tedium and loneliness of acting in movies unappealing, while Krakauer seems uninterested in discussing "Into Thin Air," his book about surviving a trip to the peak of Mount Everest on a day when eight climbers died. Penn and Krakauer are at their best when they're taking in the untamed beauty of Alaskan wilderness, toasting a White Russian in McCandless' honor, and waxing philosophic. "The life that we have on Earth is enough of a life to be a spiritual thing, to be a full thing, as long as you don't just sit on your ass." says Penn. "It's good air to breathe."


The Republican presidential candidates will take part in a live debate moderated by Judy Woodruff on PBS's "The Candidates 2008" (8 p.m. EDT, check local listings). MTV's new reality series "Making Menudo" (10:30 p.m. EDT) isn't about cooking tripe soup, it's about re-creating the eponymous Latino boy band with new members -- but don't be surprised if the word "tripe" pops into your mind anyway.

On the talk shows

Regis and Kelly

ABC, 9 a.m. EDT

Renée Zellweger, Barenaked Ladies, guest co-host Jimmy Kimmel

The View

ABC, 11 a.m. EDT

Julianne Moore, the fifth eliminated celebrity from "Dancing With the Stars"

Ellen DeGeneres

Syndicated, check local listings

Steve Carell, Bob Robertson, Kid Rock

Oprah Winfrey

Syndicated, check local listings

Heidi Klum, Seal, Stevie Wonder, Kai Milla, Gabrielle Reece, Laird Hamilton

Charlie Rose

PBS, check local listings


Larry King

CNN, 9 p.m. EDT

Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Orlando Bloom, Sebastian Copeland

Jon Stewart

Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EDT

Lynne Cheney (repeat)

Stephen Colbert

Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EDT

Dennis Kucinich, Paul Glastris (repeat)

David Letterman

CBS, 11:30 p.m. EDT

Alec Baldwin, Faith Hill (repeat)

Jay Leno

NBC, 11:35 p.m. EDT

Dane Cook, Ali Larter, Chris Cornell (repeat)

Tavis Smiley

PBS, check local listings

Rep. George Miller, Lucy Hawking

Jimmy Kimmel

ABC, 12:05 a.m. EDT

Jack LaLanne, Ray Liotta, Interpol

Conan O'Brien

NBC, 12:35 a.m. EDT

John Krasinski, Louis CK, the Mooney Suzuki (repeat)

Craig Ferguson

CBS, 12:35 a.m. EDT

Michelle Pfeiffer, Rachel Nichols, Kat De Luna (repeat)

Contributors: Megan Doll, Heather Havrilesky, Eryn Loeb, Amy Reiter

By Salon Staff

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