A Perry-less 'Mason,' but a happy 'End'

TODAY'S TV

December 17, 1993|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Contributing Writer

A "Perry Mason" movie without Perry? It happens tonight, in what might be called "The Case of the Greedy Network Executives."

* "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." (8-9 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Brisco (Bruce Campbell) and Dixie (Kelly Rutherford) have their relationship tested by her former husband, who returns to woo Dixie away from Brisco -- and to the other side of the law. Fox.

* "A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Wicked Wives" (9-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- I know the show must go on, but this is ridiculous. Paul Sorvino is a big enough star, and good enough actor, to propel a courtroom series all by himself; he doesn't have to come in as a colleague of Perry Mason's just so NBC can keep its "Perry Mason" TV movie franchise alive. Guest stars tonight include Kathy Ireland, Shelley Hack and Beverly Johnson. But even though NBC wants to keep running out this particular string of legal dramas, I think it's time, at long last, for the defense to rest. NBC.

* "The X-Files" (9-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- This paranormal series is all about inexplicable mysteries, and one is beginning to brew about the series itself. Promotional print material for the show calls it "The X-Files," complete with hyphen, but the on-air credits omit the hyphen. Yet on some on-air promos, the hyphen is back. Are aliens absconding with some of the missing hyphens, or are the Fox people just disregarding continuity with its titles and just --ing them off? This same sort of controversy erupted a decade ago on NBC, when it took two or three seasons before there was any sense of titular consistency about "The A-Team." Eventually, the hyphen triumphed then, and history eventually will repeat itself, I X-pect. Fox.

* "Picket Fences" (10-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- A drug sweep at the local high school raises several constitutional questions -- and also raises problems, as Sheriff Brock's daughter is caught up in the proceedings. Tom Skerritt stars. CBS.

Cable

* "Howards End" (8-10:25 p.m., MAX) -- Simply put: A great movie comes to cable.

* "Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman" (1:20-2:45 a.m., TNT) -- This is the original 1958 movie, not the HBO 1993 remake. It's fun to watch and compare -- especially since, in this one, all three principal characters die at the end without saying a word.

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