A night of multiple multiple murderers


March 09, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

It's the battle of the network killers, as the Manson followers on ABC's "Turning Point" are televised directly opposite the multiple murderer on CBS' "48 Hours."

* "Thunder Alley" (8:30-9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Given the coveted lead-in slot to the popular "Home Improvement," and created by the same producers of that series, "Thunder Alley" has the time slot and lineage of a probable hit. Having Ed Asner star as the grumpy grandpa sure doesn't hurt, though it hurts a little to see him in a part and show as average as this one. He could play this role in his sleep, and I could watch this show in mine. ABC.

* "Home Improvement" (9-9:30 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Our current president may be having problems when it comes to rural construction projects, but that's not the case with former President Jimmy Carter, who is guest star on "Home Improvement" tonight, in a show that also makes room for other "guest carpenters," such as John Elway, Evander Holyfield and current Miss America Kimberly Clarice Aiken. Hmm. If I had a hammer . . . ABC.

* "Turning Point" (10-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Diane Sawyer interviews two of Charles Manson's former female accomplices, and also interviews Manson himself, in a program that's truly creepy -- even though a less choppily presented Manson interview would have been more dramatic. Manson, it appears, is still crazy after all these years. ABC.

* "48 Hours: 'A Killer Walks Free' " (10-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Like "Turning Point," this show interviews a convicted murderer, details his gory crimes, talks to the families of his victims, and attends a parole hearing in which this killer from the '60s is given the opportunity to argue for release from incarceration. The difference here, as is obvious from the show's subtitle, is that on this show the murderer is let back on the streets.

Flip sides of a similar coin, tonight's "48 Hours" and "Turning Point" should be seen together, instead of scheduled as direct competitors. As is, this coincidental combination of newsmagazine subjects strikes me as a bit of overkill. CBS.


* "Queen of the Elephants" (9-11 p.m., Discovery Channel) -- This documentary moves so slowly that a scene in which people bend down, pick up and toss big piles of elephant dung qualifies as a rousing action scene. The queen in the title, by the way, isn't a pachyderm, but a woman with uncanny jungle expertise at caring for them.

* "24 Hours in Rock 'n' Roll" (9-10:30 p.m., MTV) -- The day was Oct. 28, 1993. MTV cameras followed around a lot of musicians and teachers and stuff, and not much happened, except that a member of SWV (Sisters With Voices) broke a nail. The end.

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