Thursday offers more than 'Cosby'/'Simpsons'


October 11, 1990

AND ALSO RUNNING . . . -- Tonight's first ratings showdown (at 8) between NBC champ "The Cosby Show" and upstart Fox challenger "The Simpsons" (reviewed elsewhere today) is drawing much attention. But what if you care for neither series? A couple good alternatives include: ABC's "Columbo" (at 8, Channel 2), a two-hour repeat from last season's "Saturday Mystery Movie" series, and Maryland Public Television's "Antarctica: A Presence on the Ice" (at 8, channels 22 and 67). The latter documentary suggests the land of ice at the bottom of the world is a critical barometer of Earth's environmental health.

A PERFECT 100 -- One of those sublime comic pairings -- like Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello or Carson and McMahon -- is the reason ABC's "Perfect Strangers" makes it on Friday to the relatively rare 100th episode plateau (at 9 p.m., Channel 13). The show's scenario of an innocent foreigner coming to live with his urban-wise cousin might easily have worn thin long ago. But fans await in every episode the smooth wordplay and physical comedy between stars Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot. Tonight the focus is Linn-Baker's, as Larry frets over his girlfriend's meeting with an old college boyfriend.

NEWS "FLASH" -- Because of the surprisingly strong early showing of "The Flash," initially seen as this season's most obvious suicide because it was scheduled opposite the aforementioned "Cosby/Simpsons" ratings duel, CBS is giving more viewers a chance to like it. The two-hour premiere episode of the breezy comic-book dramatization is scheduled to repeat at 9 p.m. Saturday on Channel 11 (barring the need for a seventh game in the National League Championship Series). Next week, "The Flash," an hour show, moves to the unusual slot of 8:30 p.m. Thursday, ducking the NBC/Fox ratings war.

THEY LIKE IKE -- Both of the good public affairs network shows on Sunday morning are doing special reports on Dwight David Eisenhower, America's 34th president who would have been 100 on Oct. 14. "Sunday Today" is at 8 on Channel 2 and "CBS Sunday Morning" is at 9 on Channel 11.

THE CABLE CONNECTION -- A new HBO Pictures film does a pretty sensitive job with a touchy subject on Saturday. Premiering at 9 p.m. on the premium service, "Judgment" dramatizes a true story in which devoutly religious parents (Keith Carradine and Blythe Danner) accuse their parish priest (David Straithairn) of sexual molestation of young boys. They discover the Catholic church hierarchy seems more interested in a cover-up than in offering solace. Indeed, the movie plays like "Silkwood" and other films in which citizens fight a corporate foe.

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