'Homicide' faces its own finale tonight

TODAY'S TV

January 27, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Contributing Writer

It's "put up or shut up" time, as NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street" presents its last original episode of the season. It's a terrific series, and has a superb closing episode, but whether NBC renews the show depends upon audience figures for tonight's show and whether NBC figures the weekly lures of ABC's "PrimeTime Live" into its equations and expectations. (Last week, with "PrimeTime" landing Tonya Harding, "Homicide" was skating on thin ice.)

* "The Simpsons" (8-8:30 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- In a previous episode of "The Simpsons," Homer took a temporary job at Apu's Kwik-E-Mart. In this episode, he files a complaint about bad merchandise that gets Apu fired, a much more drastic reaction than Homer expected. Fox.

* "Seinfeld" (9-9:30 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Landing more guest stars than in previous years, "Seinfeld" gets one tonight who enlivens every sitcom on which she appears: Carol Kane. NBC.

* "Matlock" (9-10 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- I don't usually write about "Matlock," but tonight's plot, featuring Brynn Thayer as Leanne, is too familiar to pass up. It has a thief, played by guest star Brett Cullen, breaking into Leanne's house, stealing her diary, and using it as a romantic blueprint with which to embody her ideal man and make her fall in love with him. Step by step, it's the same plot as that of "Thief of Hearts," a tacky 1984 film starring Steven Bauer and Barbara Williams. Whoever wrote tonight's "Matlock" runs the risk of being called "Thief of Thief of Hearts." ABC.

* "Homicide" (10-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Personal plea to NBC: Please, please renew this series. One of many reasons I don't want "Homicide" to disappear from TV is that it's just hitting its stride, and has gotten in the habit of concluding each episode with what, on "St. Elsewhere," became known by that show's writers as "the two-minute drill": final twists, turns and revelations that leave you surprised, even stunned, and hungry for the next episode. That's certainly the case tonight, as Bayliss (Kyle Secor) takes a walk on the wild side, tied to an investigation of a murder in the S&M subculture. Guest star Adrienne Shelly, of the 1990 cult movie "The Unbelievable Truth," makes a stunning impression as the shopkeeper. NBC.

Cable

* "Gypsy" (8-11:25 p.m., TNT) -- This telecast of the movie "Gypsy" gives viewers a chance to compare this 1962 version (starring Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood) with the recent, superior CBS production starring Bette Midler. The host of this telecast is RuPaul, as part of the TNT network's "Our Favorite Movies" package -- although some people associated with the musical may Ru the day.

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