ABC (8-11 p.m. ET)
Fourteen months in production at a cost of some $38 million, this marvelous 18-hour version of Herman Wouk’s 1971 best-seller (the Caine Mutiny author also wrote the screenplay, his first) is the TV event of the season. Robert Mitchum, Ali MacGraw, Jan-Michael Vincent, John Houseman and Polly Bergen head an excellent cast (including 200 sailors from the Kitty Hawk who help re-create the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor) in the sweeping drama about an American naval officer and his family in the early years of World War II. The action scenes are the best ever filmed for television, and the physical production equals that of 1980’s sumptuous Shogun. Incidentally, NBC has scheduled a rerun of Shogun the week before Winds, hoping that viewers won’t watch two lengthy miniseries in a row. Nevertheless, Winds, which will air through Feb. 13, should blow away the competition.