Tiresome lineup saved by 'Shogun'

TODAY'S TV

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

If I knew how to spell a great big yawn, that would be my lead for tonight -- because that's what tonight's broadcast TV schedule deserves. Cable offers some solace, but not too much.

* "I Witness Video." (8-9 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Personally, I do not witness "Video." But if you check this out tonight, you'll see boaters encountering killer whales. NBC repeat.

* "NFL Football." (8 p.m.-conclusion, WBFF, Channel 45) -- Last week's premiere of Fox football introduced one or two interesting variations on the televised football theme. Putting scores and time remaining in the upper left corner at all times is a good idea, even if it obviously came from World Cup coverage on ESPN. The biggest eye-opener, though, was that former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, who's supposed to be a major member of the Fox broadcast team, didn't even bother to show in person for the game, or even visit the Fox studio. He did his by satellite from Florida, the TV equivalent of phoning it in. Terry Bradshaw, in a July press conference, was right: Johnson probably won't be around all season for Fox.

* "ABC News Nightline." (11:35 p.m.-12:05 a.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Part 2 of 2. "Nightline" continues its report -- photographed, reported and produced by independent public radio producer Jay Allison, in his first project for TV -- about Pekinese Island, a tony island off Cape Cod where the only inhabitants are juvenile offenders and their "wardens."

Cable

* "Shogun." (8 p.m.-8 a.m., TNT) -- Ed Sullivan might say this was a really big Shogun.

It's the entire miniseries presented in one massive 12-hour helping -- and if you never saw this 1980 miniseries starring Richard Chamberlain, setting the VCRs and catching it now is a good idea, even if it means getting up in the middle of the night to change tapes.

They simply don't make miniseries like this anymore.

* "Girls in Prison." (10-11:30 p.m., SHO) -- Ione Skye is the biggest name in this week's "Rebel Highway" telemovie, which stars Missy Crider as a young woman framed for murder. In prison, she falls in with a bad crowd of real murderers (Skye and Bahni Turpin), who, in turn, protect her from an even worse killer (Anne Heche). This loose period-movie remake is written by classic filmmaker Samuel Fuller and directed by "Mad Dog and Glory" director John McNaughton.

* "The Warriors." (12:35-2:35 a.m., TBS) -- Ted Turner always gives a lot of speeches about how nonviolent his programming is, but someone must have slipped up to let this 1979 Walter Hill movie through the cracks.

It's violence from start to finish, interrupted only by commercials.

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