Cosby is back in mysterious movie

TODAY'S TV

January 31, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Contributing Writer

.TC Bill Cosby returns to NBC tonight, in the first of two telemovies in which he'll star this week on the same network. (This Thursday, he and Robert Culp will reteam for "I Spy $H Returns.") Tonight's outing is the first installment of a sporadically scheduled series of telemovies called "The Cosby Mysteries" -- but his TV competition on other networks includes a young actress from "Beverly Hills, 90210" in her first ABC telemovie.

* "Evening Shade" (8-8:30 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- In the late '60s, shortly after Cosby made news for his co-starring role in the original "I Spy," Diahann Carroll earned notice for starring in "Julia," one of the first series starring a black woman (that honor actually went to "Beulah," many years earlier). Tonight, Carroll guest-stars on this sitcom -- playing a woman who once was a man. CBS.

* "Blossom" (8:30-9 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- In this episode, Joey (Joey Lawrence) wrestles with an ethical dilemma by listening to his conscience -- who's represented not by Jiminy Cricket, but by special guest star Mr. T. I pity the poor fool who watches this. NBC.

* "The Cosby Mysteries" (9-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Bill Cosby's Guy Hanks is a forensic expert who can't leave dead enough alone. The cast includes three terrific character actors: James Naughton, Lynn Whitfield and Richard Kiley. NBC.

* "Lies of the Heart: The Story of Laurie Kellogg" (9-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- The first point to address is this: Is Jennie Garth any better in this telemovie than her "90210" co-star Shannen Doherty was in last year's "Obsessed" bomb with William Devane? The truth is that Garth acquits herself very nicely in this role, and shows more talent than "90210" lets her display. Co-star Gregory Harrison, like the script, goes way over the top in this story of an emotionally and physically battered wife who plots to get even with her husband for all his years of abuse. ABC.

Cable

* "Clean and Sober" (9-11:30 p.m., Lifetime) -- When people start looking seriously at Michael Keaton's film and TV career, this 1988 movie will rank as one of the best and most unexpected surprises. As an addict who reluctantly checks himself into a treatment facility, he gives a heartfelt, vulnerable and bravely abrasive performance -- and Kathy Baker of "Picket Fences," who plays a fellow substance abuser, is just as spectacular. Together, they serve up a modern, disturbing variation on "Days of Wine and Roses." Highly recommended.

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