It's a stellar night for viewing, by Jupiter!

TODAY'S TV

July 19, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

The comet fragments crashing on Jupiter have proven so visually spectacular that it's justifiable referring to the results as plumes with a view. Watch newscasts, and CNN, for the latest incoming pictures from Jupiter -- and tonight, make sure to watch NBC's "TV Nation," the delightful new series from tenured troublemaker Michael Moore. A good new TV series premiering in the summertime? Maybe it's a side effect of the crashes on Jupiter.

* "TV Nation" (8-9 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) Michael Moore is the guy whose guerrilla filmmaking tactics proved so devastatingly funny, yet still relevant, in "Roger & Me." He also did a fine short film for PBS, "Pets or Meat," that was paired with "Roger & Me" for a showing on the series "P.O.V." Mr. Moore and PBS were a logical fit; Mr. Moore and NBC, in the opening hour of prime time, is a bit harder to figure out. Yet whatever NBC's internal reasons for giving him a summer series, Mr. Moore -- and viewers -- should take the opportunity and run with it. With its eclectic and unpredictable topic list and its defiantly subjective and comedic approach, "TV Nation" has the most bite and variety since two of my favorite shows from a generation ago, "That Was the Week That Was" and "The Great American Dream Machine." Don't miss it. NBC.

* "The Running Man" (9-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- It's a night of dueling Arnolds, with two networks competing by showing different offerings linked to Arnold Schwarzenegger. This one is a 1987 movie with lots of action and with a witty supporting role by Richard Dawson as a heartless game-show host. CBS repeat.

* "Wings" (9:30-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- It's also a night of dueling Hickeys, with two networks competing by showing different programs featuring guest star William Hickey. In this episode, Mr. Hickey plays an annoying man with an equally annoying nephew: guest star Gilbert Gottfried. NBC repeat.

* "Tales From the Crypt" (9:30-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- In the second half of this prime-time "Crypt" doubleheader, Mr. Hickey stars as an old man who goes to extraordinary means to attract a beautiful woman (Kelly Preston). As for the second Schwarzenegger connection, that's this episode, too: With this episode, Arnold Schwarzenegger (who does not appear on camera) made his directorial debut. Lights! Camera! Lots and lots of action! Fox repeat.

* "NYPD Blue" (10-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- A rerun, of course. ABC repeat.

Cable

* "House of Style" (10-10:30 p.m., MTV) -- Five years ago, Cindy Crawford was just another beautiful young model. Then she landed the job of host on "House of Style" and began her upward spiral to pop-culture icon status. This fifth-anniversary show charts that course, providing highlights and perspectives since the show's debut in 1989.

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