CBS premieres two coastal concoctions

TODAY'S TV

August 04, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

CBS is premiering two summer series tonight, figuring that when the competition is weakest, viewers are more likely to settle for less. Since there's virtually nothing else on broadcast TV, the network is basically right.

* "One West Waikiki" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Cheryl Ladd stars in this new CBS cop show, which casts her as a female "Quincy, M. E." She's a forensic pathologist working in Hawaii -- and though tropical settings haven't exactly been guarantees of success in the cases of, say, "Key West," "Going to Extremes" and "The Byrds of Paradise," forensic pathology has never been hotter. Thanks to the O. J. Simpson case, blood typing and DNA analysis are on everyone's minds. This two-hour pilot proves Ms. Ladd can act, but it doesn't prove that anyone VTC involved with the show can write or direct. In the opening installment, at least, "One West Waikiki" is one weak "Waikiki." CBS.

* "Hotel Malibu" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- This prime-time soap from the creators of "Homefront" has a likable cast, headed by the charming and sexy Joanna Cassidy, who should have gotten the Linda Gray role on "Models Inc." Ever since "Buffalo Bill," Ms. Cassidy has been missed as a TV regular. Cheryl Pollak, Harry O'Reilly and Romy Walthall also contribute vibrant performances, in an opening hour that moves quickly enough to include death by sex. CBS.

Cable

* "Wildflower" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., Lifetime) -- Patricia Arquette has made a big splash lately thanks to two violent but stylish movies, "True Romance" and "Trouble Bound." However, she made her first big splash in televi

sion and caught the attention of viewers and TV critics starring as a hearing-impaired epileptic girl in this emotional 1991 made-for-cable movie. Beau Bridges co-stars.

* "Cold Sweat" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., USA) -- A corpse is a corpse, of course, of course, but in this 1993 USA Network movie acquisition, the corpse doesn't play dead -- or play fair. Instead, she haunts the hit man who killed her. Ben Cross stars as the assassin, Lenore Zann is the victim who won't go away, and Dave Thomas (of "SCTV" and "Grace Under Fire") and Shannon Tweed (of every other modern erotic movie ever made) co-star as an unhappily married couple. Ms. Zann's performance, and her creepy yet hypnotic interaction with Mr. Cross, make "Cold Sweat" mildly interesting and relatively unusual.

* "The Real World" (10 p.m.-10:30 p.m., MTV) -- Not since "Ren & Stimpy" premiered has a character gotten as much media attention for grossness as has Puck, one of the latest and most abrasive roommates in MTV's "Real World" series.

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