'Trek' and tribute are worth watching

TODAY'S TV

May 23, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

Made-for-television movies, tributes and a long "Trek" make this an above-average TV night.

* "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (9-11 p.m., WDCA, Channel 20; episode airs Saturday, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., on WBFF, Channel 45) -- The original "Star Trek" came and went, two years shy of completing its five-year mission. Its spinoff series, "The Next Generation," completes its seven-year run tonight with a decided air of closure: Its plot refers and returns to the show's premiere episode, offers a challenging and exciting mystery involving several time lines, and ends with a big bang in more ways than one. In fact, this episode is good enough to earn it a spot among the 10 top series finales of all time -- time, in this case, being extremely relative.

* "The Dick Van Dyke Show Remembered" (8-9 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Charles Kuralt is host, thereby giving this tribute the class it deserves. Its montages are good (especially the one showing how many different line readings Mary Tyler Moore could give to the words, "Oh, Rob!"), and best of all is that it gives lots of time to a sample scene from one classic show, the one in which Laura reveals the secret of Alan Brady's toupee. Carl Reiner's performance as Brady is one more reason why "The Dick Van Dyke Show" is the hair apparent of sitcom appreciation. I would have liked to see more scenes with the walnuts, but that's a minor complaint. CBS.

* "Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman" (8-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Daryl Hannah looks great in the final scenes of this tongue-in-cheek HBO remake, but the story never really towers above a general genial level of sci-fi spoofs.

* "The Substitute Wife" (9-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Farrah Fawcett, on the other hand, makes the most of her role as an Old West prostitute who agrees to be a wife-in-training for a farmer (Peter Weller) whose devoted wife (Lea Thompson) is slowly dying. The scenes between Fawcett and Thompson are the best, and often quite funny. NBC.

* "Evening Shade" (9-9:30 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Tony Bennett stars in the last "Evening Shade" of the season -- and not because he left his heart in Arkansas. CBS.

* "Good Advice" (9:30-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- "No more change," Shelley Long screams, loudly, midway through tonight's return episode of "Good Advice." "Change is not good. Change is bad." The producers have changed this show by adding Teri Garr to the cast, and it turns out that Ms. Long has a point. With or without Ms. Garr, "Good Advice" is bad. CBS.

* "Northern Exposure" (10-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- The last first-run episode of the season has fantasy confronting reality, and Joel (Rob Morrow) confronting a woolly mammoth. CBS.

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