ABC's 'Seinfeld' rip-off isn't even close


March 29, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

The biggest news tonight is the premiere of an ABC series that tries its best to reflect the spirit of "Seinfeld," but doesn't come close. It's "These Friends of Mine," the first episode of which contains not one genuine laugh. Also tonight: Joe Pesci on The John Larroquette Show," and a fresh installment of "NYPD Blue."

* "The John Larroquette Show" (9-9:30 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Guest star Joe Pesci, playing himself, visiting the bus station to research a new movie role and study a really down-on-his-luck loser. Surprisingly, it's not John. NBC.

* "Roseanne" (9-9:30 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- John Goodman gets to show even more of his dramatic side than usual (he's always the most serious and grounded character on this sitcom), reacting quite intensely to some bad news about his mother. ABC.

"The Forget-Me-Knot Murders" (9-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Richard Crenna returns as Det. Frank Janek in this sixth telemovie based on his character from the "Doubletake" miniseries. Cliff Gorman also returns, as Janek's version of Kojak's Crocker, and Helen Shaver co-stars -- but the scene-stealer is guest star Tyne Daly, who gets more dominant, and memorable, as the telemovie goes on. CBS.

"These Friends of Mine" (9:30-10 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Carol Black and Neal Marlens, who created "The Wonder Years" and left it after six superb episodes, left this new series almost immediately after creating it. This time, though, they didn't leave anything memorable behind. Ellen DeGeneres stars as a single woman with a small cadre of crazy friends, but this is no "Seinfeld." It's not even "The Building." ABC.

"NYPD Blue" (10-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Sipowicz's son, Andy Jr. (Michael DeLuise), gets into trouble, and his dad has to bail him out -- almost literally. Meanwhile, Kelly (David Caruso) suspects a rich hotel owner of being much less suite than she appears. ABC.


* "The Parallax View" (11 p.m.-12:50 a.m., AMC) -- This 1974 thriller, directed by Alan J. Pakula, stars Warren Beatty as a small-town reporter on the trail of a cold but enticing conspiracy theory regarding a political assassination. The story, and the supporting performances by Paula Prentiss and William Daniels, make this a study in paranoia and complicity that puts Oliver Stone and "JFK" to shame. If you haven't seen it, do.

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