'Legend' isn't worth remembering


December 28, 1993|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Contributing Writer

If you're looking for exciting, interesting first-run television -- well, maybe next year. The original stuff isn't all that intriguing, and the good stuff has been televised before.

* "Legend to Legend Night" (8-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- At one point in tonight's black-tie special, host Katie Couric asks the audience, "Do you believe the stuff they're making me do?" In a word, no. The premise of this special is to have one "legend" introduce another, and have the former explain how he or she was influenced by the latter. It works when Bob Newhart introduces George Burns, who takes a seat on stage and sings. It works again when Sugar Ray Leonard introduces Muhammad Ali, who takes the podium and makes his way through a couple of self-effacing jokes. But the rest of the time, it hardly works at all, and the idea of Wynonna as a "legend," introducing Barbara Mandrell, is pushing the concept to the point of absurdity. Worst of all, though, is the writing, which burdens every celebrity, as well as Ms. Couric, with a string of superfluous superlatives. NBC.

* "Tina Turner 'What's Love?' Live" (8-9 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- The official title of this music special includes the prefix "Blockbuster Video Presents," but the part of the title that's really stretching it is the word "Live," since this concert was taped three months ago in California. But, as Tina Turner herself might ask, What's live got to do with it? Fox.

* "Flatliners" (9-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Julia Roberts dies in this 1990 drama -- or at least her character does, along with those of Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon and others. It's a scary, imaginative thriller, with better touches than many critics gave it credit for at the time. CBS.

* "Nova: 'Stranger in the Mirror' " (9-10 p.m., WMPT, Channels 22 and 67) -- Don't miss this. It's a case study of two men afflicted with visual agnosia -- the rare disease dramatized on a recent "Picket Fences," where people have difficulty recognizing even their spouses and closest friends. Surprisingly, there's a lot of humor in this episode, provided, mostly, by the two men themselves. PBS.

* "NYPD Blue" (10-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- This is a repeat of the series' second episode, the one in which Dennis Franz's Sipowicz makes a rather quick recovery. ABC.


* "Rudolph's Shiny New Year" (8-9 p.m., DIS) -- Please, can't we stop with the Christmas specials already?

* "Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson" (9-11 p.m., USA) -- If you didn't see this documentary, take the opportunity tonight. It's well worth it.

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