ON THE WEEKEND WATCH:
MORE DEAD SHOWS -- Into the summer rerun season, the networks are offering what will perhaps be last-chance viewings of series from the long list of canceled fare. Just tonight, for example, ABC (Channel 13) has moved "Gabriel's Fire" to 9 o'clock (although star James Earl Jones is coming back in the fall as the same character in a new show, "Bird and Katt"). And CBS (Channel 11) has two returns, the mid-season replacement about a Cajun cop, "Broken Badges" at 9, and Edward Woodward's rather likable "Over My Dead Body" at 10. Note also that CBS on Sunday (10 p.m.) brings back "Doctor, Doctor" to run out its skein of shows.
AND A GOOD LIVE ONE -- Fans of actress Sharon Gless were pleased with CBS' renewal of "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill," if not happy about the fall scheduling (at 9 p.m. Thursdays opposite ratings champ "Cheers"). And new episodes of the show not yet seen this season are finally beginning to reach the air this weekend in the 10 p.m. Sunday time slot.
A LIFE EXAMINED -- Maryland Public Television on Friday is offering a film-length biography of one of America's most influential legal minds in "Darrow" (at 10 p.m., channels 22 and 67). Kevin Spacey portrays Clarence Darrow in this edition of the "American Playhouse" series, director by John Coles.
A PBS MASTERPIECE -- And speaking of quality public TV, "I, Claudius," perhaps the most memorable sequence of the PBS series "Masterpiece Theatre," begins a 13-week repeat at 10 p.m. Sunday (channels 22, 67 and 26). Derek Jacobi portrays the handicapped emperor who tells the story of ancient Rome's violent and sexually depraved royal intrigue. And if you can't wait to tape the whole thing from TV, PBS Home Video is bringing out a seven-cassette collection of the series (at $24.95 per tape), which promises some scenes omitted from the TV version.
THE CABLE CONNECTION -- Comedy is the original fare on cable in the coming days, and two out of two is a pretty respectable laugh average. On the basic cable A&E network Friday (at 8 o'clock), gifted British humorists Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore (formerly a droll performing duo Media Monitor once caught at the Morris Mechanic Theatre) reunite in "The Secret Policeman's Biggest Ball," re-creating some classic skits
along with "Monty Python's" John Cleese and Michael Palin. And at 11 p.m. Saturday, Garry Shandling does an hour of laugh-out-loud stand-up on the latest "HBO Comedy Hour" on the premium service. Little seen since his series left cable and syndication last year, Shandling is a hoot with a routine that ranges from dog jealousy to his visit to the White House.