It's Homer Simpson vs. the cat burglar

TODAY'S TV

January 06, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Contributing Writer

The event of the evening is the return of NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street," with a second-season premiere guest-starring Robin Williams. Don't miss it.

* "The Simpsons" (8-8:30 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Sam Neill, the dinosaur expert in "Jurassic Park," guest stars as the local cat burglar in this new episode of "The Simpsons," which has a neighborhood watch group headed by . . . Homer Simpson? Fox.

* "Seinfeld" (9-9:30 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Perennially searching for new "taboo" subjects to broach, tonight's "Seinfeld" offers a subplot involving proper -- and improper -- toilet-stall etiquette in the women's rest room. Let's just say that what happens to Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) lends new meaning to the term "The Paper Chase." Guest-starring Jami Gertz, formerly of "Square Pegs." NBC.

* "Homicide: Life on the Street" (10-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- One of Robin Williams' earliest triumphs as a dramatic actor, rather than a sitcom or stand-up comedian, was on TV, as star of a fine dramatization of "Seize the Day." Tonight, Mr. Williams repays his buddy Barry Levinson (who cast Mr. Williams in "Good Morning, Vietnam" and "Toys") by appearing in the second-season premiere of Mr. Levinson's "Homicide." As a tourist whose wife is killed before his eyes, Mr. Williams is superb -- and he serves, brilliantly, as a means to introduce the homicide division and its characters from his perspective, thereby giving new viewers an easy way to get acquainted with the show. Daniel Baldwin, Yaphet Kotto and Kyle Secor get most of the action in support of Mr. Williams, and the entire cast, story and program is strong enough to serve notice to the uninitiated that "Homicide" is every bit as good, gritty and addictive as "NYPD Blue" -- and, having premiered a year ago, was there first. NBC.

Cable

* "Nunsense" (9-11 p.m., A&E) -- This TV production opens with a scene talked about, but not shown, in the off-Broadway play: a giddily "choreographed" shot of 52 (real) nuns falling face-down in their soup, accidentally poisoned by the sister chef in what is described as a sort of "last supper." Rue McClanahan stars in this Clairol-sponsored production, which after that opening scene, contents itself with presenting a taped record of a regular performance, including ad-libbed responses to audience questions. Personally, I enjoyed none of it, but others really like this sort of thing.

* "Hush Little Baby" (9-11 p.m., USA) -- Diane Ladd is only slightly less over the top here than she was in David Lynch's "Wild at Heart," which is the only thing that makes this variant of "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" (grandma as killer, nanny as victim) mildly interesting.

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