'Burke's Law': recycled for the '90s

TODAY'S TV

January 07, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Contributing Writer

On TV, what goes up, must come down -- then, after a few years, must come back. That's not one of Burke's laws, but it explains why "Burke's Law," starring Gene Barry, is back on TV with new episodes. Also tonight: two A&E documentaries looking sensitive media issues, and fresh episodes of "Brisco County, Jr.," "The X-Files" and "Picket Fences."

* "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." (8-9 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Tonight's plot has Brisco and Bowler (Bruce Campbell, Julius Carry) convening with other bounty hunters at a convention. If you think that would be a good time for bad guys to attack, so do the bad guys. Fox.

* "Bermuda Grace" (9-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- This television movie, an obvious pilot for a series that didn't make it, stars William Sadler as a Philadelphia cop who is given a well-earned perk of what appears to be a cushy assignment: tracking down a murder witness in Bermuda. He gets paired there with a local constable, played by David Harewood, who's all caught up in American TV cop shows. "Bermuda Grace" comes from the writers of "Stop or My Mom Will Shoot" and "The Real McCoy," and is no better that either of those clunkers. Nice scenery, and Harewood has some life to him, but that's about it. There's nothing amazing about this "Grace." NBC.

* "Burke's Law" (9-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Barry returns as the rich, beloved L.A. police commissioner (which, these days, seems more ironic than realistic), and Peter Barton plays his son, who's just as eager as daddy Amos to solve crimes. This new "Burke's Law" has the flavor of "Murder, She Wrote," with a thick roster of guest stars and a thin plot. Barry carries himself

nicely, though -- even though I'd rather have seen a remake of "Honey West," which was spun off from the original "Burke's Law." This new show, like the old one, comes courtesy of none other than Aaron Spelling. CBS.

* "The X-Files" (9-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Brad Dourif turns in a strong, challenging performance as a ruthless prisoner who claims he's psychic -- and begins to convince the usually skeptical Scully (Gillian Anderson) that he's telling the truth. Fox.

* "Picket Fences" (10-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- It's a new episode involving a Christian Science practitioner with a life-threatening illness. CBS.

Cable

* "Time Machine With Jack Perkins: 'Hollywood's Censorship Wars' " (9-10 p.m., A&E) -- This documentary jumps too quickly at the end from film to TV, and from the '60s to the '90s, but the rest is interesting . . .

* "Investigative Reports: 'Trial by Television' " (10-11 p.m., A&E) -- . . . While this one doesn't provide much historical perspective at all. It touches on a good topic, but is frustratingly superficial.

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