What a night: Madonna and paradise

TODAY'S TV

March 03, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

Sitting down? Better be, because here it comes: The best new offering on TV tonight is a made-for-television movie on the USA Network. There. I said it, and I meant it.

* "Byrds of Paradise" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Timothy Busfield of "thirtysomething" stars as a recent widower who packs off his kids and dog and moves to Hawaii, to take a job as a headmaster of a small prep school. There are enough quirky characters to make this tropical series a sort of "Southern Exposure," but the real focus is the family drama itself. The pilot, written by Channing Gibson and Charles H. Eglee, is a little too pat, but there's real promise here. The kids -- played by Seth Green, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ryan O'Donohue -- are good actors, which I rarely say about underage actors. With Elizabeth Lindsey as co-star, "Byrds of Paradise," like "Key West" and "Going to Extremes," is worth checking out, and giving a chance to develop. ABC.

* "The Simpsons" (8 p.m.-8:30 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Citizen Kane has his Rosebud, and Mr. Burns has his -- well, see for yourself. Fox repeat.

* "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WBAL. Channel 11) -- With a new family drama premiering on ABC, CBS counter-programs by moving its most successful family drama opposite it for this one night only. CBS repeat.

Cable

* "Desperately Seeking Susan" (8 p.m.-9:45 p.m., SHO) -- A prime-time Madonna marathon is presented by Showtime tonight. It's worth mentioning because it shows three distinct sides to Madonna. The night begins with this 1985 comedy, which catches her at her freshest, just before attaining stardom.

* "Nobody's Children" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., USA) -- Henry Winkler is co-executive producer of this new made-for-TV movie, which stars Ann-Margret and Jay O. Sanders as an American couple who travel to Romania in hopes of adopting a needy child. Filmed on location, and including some very harrowing images, "Nobody's Children" is a class effort all the way. Mr. Sanders, Ann-Margret and co-star Dominique Sanda all shine in this docudrama, which also relies on newsreel footage to enhance its authenticity.

* "Body of Evidence" (9:45 p.m.-11:25 p.m., SHO) -- More Madonna, this time in her latest, and one of her least effective, movie showcases.

* "Medusa: Dare to be Truthful" (11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., SHO) -- Finally there's this documentary spoof by and starring Julie Brown, who plays a very Madonna-ish "Medusa."

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