Fantasies of the stars, and seismologists

TODAY'S TV

May 21, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

There's a lot on, but quantity doesn't necessarily mean quality. Among the best bets are two cable offerings: an exciting white-water adventure in HBO's "White Mile," and a surprisingly entertaining "The Cindy Crawford Special" on MTV.

* "Fantasies of the Stars." (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- What's the point of a show like this? To most people, being a

star is fantasy enough. Going to them and bankrolling their fantasies is just another example of the rich getting richer. My fantasy? Spend the money on better TV programming. NBC.

* "World of Discovery." (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- "Earthquakes: The Terrifying Truth" is a little bit closer to tabloid science TV than this series of specials usually gets. It's as much about laying out frightening scenarios as examining the purely scientific data -- but since the former are based upon the latter, it's the sort of hypothesizing that could leave viewers all shook up. Martin Sheen is the host. ABC.

* "Empty Nest." (9 p.m.-9:30 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Wendie Malick of "Dream On" guest stars as a nurse, one example of good talent stooping to appear on a substandard series. NBC.

* "ABC's 40th Anniversary Special." (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- When CBS and NBC had their 50th anniversary retrospectives back in the '70s, clips were either free or very cheap to acquire. Now the rights are so complicated and expensive its understandable why you see some shows and not others, or some actors and not others. ABC.

* "Walker, Texas Ranger." (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Two more examples of actors stooping: Danica McKellar, who played Winnie on "The Wonder Years," and Ray Wise, who played Leland on "Twin Peaks," are guests opposite Chuck Norris. CBS.

* "Saturday Night Live." (11:30 p.m.-1 a.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Good timing: Tonight's repeat features guest host Patrick Stewart, on the week before his series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation," takes its final voyage. Musical guests: Salt-n-Pepa. NBC.

Cable

* "White Mile." (8 p.m.-9:40 p.m., HBO) -- The rafting sequence is this movie, which stars Alan Alda, is absolutely riveting.

* "The Cindy Crawford Special." (9 p.m.-10 p.m., MTV) -- I caught this off-air, and was unexpectedly impressed. Ms. Crawford's visit with a young White House aide is especially illuminating.

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