'Simpsons,' 'Frasier' enliven the night


March 31, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

Wasn't Thursday supposed to be the best night of television on television again? Well, with "Seinfeld" in repeats, and only "The Simpsons" and "Frasier" enlivening prime time, that claim seems suspiciously thin. If today's column does as well, that's the reason.

* "The Byrds of Paradise" (8-9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Bruce Weitz makes another guest appearance as Dr. Murray Rubenstein, but the guest star I'm most enthusiastic about mentioning is Cha Thompson, who portrays a character named Lilinoe Nehonekaleookawaiolina. I'm enthusiastic not only because it fills so much space, but because the combination of the actor's first name and the character's last name should drive copy editors borderline insane. ABC.

* "The Simpsons" (8-8:30 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Tonight Bart wins an elephant in a radio contest, but has a big problem taking care of it. (What -- and leave show business?) Fox.

* "Frasier" (9:30-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Frasier gets depressed about reaching middle age. Maybe he should call ......TC radio talk show for advice. Kelsey Grammer stars. NBC.

* "Traps" (10-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- The big gimmick behind this new cop series from Stephen J. Cannell is to pair a respected veteran actor (in this case, George C. Scott) with a popular MTV-era personality (in this case, actual MTV personality Dan Cortese). The mixture could be better, but, despite what some other critics are saying, it could be worse. However, the mystery plots are stale, there are no sparks when Mr. Scott and Mr. Cortese share the screen, and the show's only genuine moments come when Mr. Scott acts with, and reacts to, his Alzheimer's-afflicted wife, played by Piper Laurie. In two episodes screened for preview, it's that small and tender subplot that overshadows the rest -- which, in the long run, may mean taps for "Traps." CBS.

* "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m., WNUV, Channel 54) -- Even though I, like Frasier, have reached middle age, I'm still wildly enthusiastic about tonight's musical guests, Counting Crows. Great debut album. CBS.


* "Beauty and the Beast Goes to Broadway" (8:05-8:30 p.m., Disney) -- Disney Channel's full-length Disney tie-in commercial No. 1.

* "The Making of the Mighty Ducks II" (8:30-9 p.m., Disney) -- Disney Channel's full-length Disney tie-in commercial No. 2.

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