Into the breach: music awards revisited

TODAY'S TV

November 27, 1993|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Contributing Writer

Even the broadcast networks, I guess, deserve a vacation every once in a while. That's the only explanation I can muster for tonight's programming in prime time, which is so far from prime it's not even funny -- and certainly isn't worth watching. Cable offers virtually the only offerings worth sampling, and even there it's slim pickings -- Thanksgiving weekend holiday leftovers.

* "The American Music Awards 20th Anniversary" (8-10 p.m., WJZ-Channel 13) -- Still scurrying for weekly replacements for "The Paula Poundstone Show," ABC tonight settles on this quickie special from Dick Clark Productions, which is a scary "innovation" for a TV awards show. No new awards are handed out tonight. Instead, this program, which features a few new performances (but not, presumably, by Michael Jackson), looks back on two decades' worth of clips from past "American Music Awards" shows. What a waste. Maybe Bill Clinton is clamping down on the wrong AMA. ABC.

* "Saturday Night Live" (11:30 p.m.-1 a.m., WMAR-Channel 2) -- ++ This is a repeat of the "Saturday Night Live" that was totally on a first-name basis. The guest host is Sinbad, the musical guest Sade. This information, by the way, is brought to you by David. NBC repeat.

Cable

* "Fatal Vision" (6-10 p.m., LIF) -- The highest-rated miniseries of the last nine years, this 1984 docudrama is interesting on several levels. Dramatically, it's superb, and Gary Cole, Karl Malden and Andy Griffith all give standout performances. In terms of narrative, "Fatal Vision" tells the multiple versions of its murder case clearly, responsibly and superbly. But in being so faithful to the Joe McGinniss book, it not only lionizes the controversial author and makes him a character in his own drama, but takes the book's conclusions at face value -- in this case, a somewhat risky proposition.

* "The Borrowers" (8-10 p.m., TNT) Part 1 of 2 -- This four-hour miniseries, combining Mary Norton's "The Borrowers" and "The Borrowers Afield," is itself borrowed from the BBC. It stars Ian Holm as Pod, the big cheese of the very little family, and works more because of its story than its special effects.

* "The Adventures of Pete & Pete" (8:30-9 p.m., NIK) -- The Petes finally get their own weekly series on Nickelodeon, beginning with tonight's special appearance on SNICK -- Saturday night Nickelodeon, one of the most popular roosting places for young eyes.

* "Grizzly" (11:50 p.m.-1:50 a.m., TBS) -- This low-budget 1976 movie, starring Christopher George and a runaway grizzly, is almost too bad to bear.

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