'Sweep'-ing in hope of something good

February 02, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

What do you mean, you can't go home again?

With TV, it's like we never left.

And during the February sweeps that begin this week, the wayback machine will be in nostalgia overdrive, recycling the golden memories from Mayberry to Bedrock and beyond.

Ever since CBS hit the jackpot with retrospectives and reunion specials for "The Ed Sullivan Show," "All in the Family" and others, the major networks have glommed onto nostalgia as a sure-fire success formula.

So a key ratings month like the February sweeps is a natural for these memory fests. Leading the way will be "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In 25th Anniversary" (NBC, Sunday), "The Andy Griffith Show Reunion" (CBS, Feb. 10) and "Lucy and Desi: The Home Movies" (NBC, Feb. 14).

Other flashback attractions include:

"The Best of Disney Music: A Legacy in Song" (CBS, Wednesday), with Angela Lansbury hosting this tribute to 60 years of Disney toon tunes.

"Great Television Moments: What We Watched" (ABC, Saturday), a clips-filled retrospective of 40 years of television from the Museum of Television & Radio, hosted by Candice Bergen, Richard Chamberlain and others.

"I Yabba-Dabba Do!" (ABC, Sunday), in which a grown-up Pebbles Flintstone becomes Mrs. Bamm-Bamm Rubble.

"Saturday Night Live: 18 Years of Music" (NBC, Feb. 21) a two-hour retrospective of memorable "SNL" musical performances and music-related sketches, hosted by Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey).

Besides an abundance of golden channel-surfing memories, the February sweeps will also inundate viewers with the usual flood of true-crime tales and fact-based trauma dramas: Levar Burton in "Firestorm:

72 Hours in Oakland" (ABC, Sunday), Brooke Shields in "I Can Make You Love Me: The Stalking of Cathy Black" (CBS, Feb. 9) and Robert Blake in "Judgment Day: The John List Story" (CBS, Feb. 23).

Fortunately, there will also be some high-quality antidotes to all the tabloid TV movies.

In "Skylark" (CBS, Sunday), Glenn Close and Christopher Walken reprise their roles from the award-winning 1991 family drama "Sarah, Plain and Tall." And Helen Mirren returns as homicide investigator Jane Tennison in "Prime Suspect 2" (PBS, Feb. 11), a four-hour sequel to last year's acclaimed "Mystery!" presentation.

The biggest sweeps attraction of all may well be "Queen" (CBS, Feb. 14, 16 and 18), the star-laden six-hour miniseries based on the late Alex Haley's "Roots"-style saga of his paternal grandmother. Danny Glover, Jasmine Guy, Martin Sheen, Ann-Margret and Ossie Davis are part of the impressive supporting cast. But it is young Halle Berry ("Boomerang") in the title role who could be launched to fame by her performance in "Queen."

And that -- beyond the nostalgia nuggets and true-crime hullabaloo -- is what gives a sweeps month excitement. There's always the chance that something special might happen. With Halle Berry, that something special might be stardom.

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