Try cable to avoid striking out

TODAY'S TV

August 20, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

The advice for TV tonight is easy: Get cable or get going. Once again, broadcast TV essentially is taking Saturday night off.

* "Rain Man." (8 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- This Saturday night space on ABC was reserved for major league baseball -- but, with the strike still in full swing (the only swinging going on in the sport at the moment), the network sends in designated hitter "Rain Man" instead. Consider it another baseball "Rain" delay. ABC repeat.

* "Tales From the Crypt." (11 p.m.-midnight, WBFF, Channel 45) -- The first of tonight's two repeats stars Patricia Arquette, who was showcased on this HBO anthology series before starring in the films "True Romance" and "Trouble Bound." Fox

Cable

* "The Facts of Life Marathon." (11 a.m.-6 p.m., USA) -- Seven hours of "The Facts of Life," back to back. One time I got stuck inside the "It's a Small World" exhibit at Walt Disney World for 45 minutes, when the ride stopped but the music didn't. To this day, that remains the worst pop-culture experience of my life -- but the thought of 14 consecutive episodes of "The Facts of Life" comes pretty close.

* "The Woodstock Diaries." (noon-3 p.m., SHO) -- If you missed this three-hour documentary when it ran for three nights on Showtime recently, here's an easier way to watch and tape the proceedings. And you should, because the majority of material in this special is different from the performances and interviews in "Woodstock," and highly entertaining in its own right.

* "The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858." (1 p.m.-7 p.m., C-SPAN) -- Local re-enactors portray the principals and crowd in this real-time re-creation of the famed Illinois 1858 debates for senator. Watch them for their pace, their truly political content -- and to see how, even then, character assassination was a common oratorical weapon.

* "The Enemy Within." (8 p.m.-9:30 p.m., HBO) -- Updating "Seven Days in May" is a fine idea, but making a dull and meandering new version of it is not. Sam Waterston, as the president, turns in a fine role, which makes him somewhat of an anomaly here. Forest Whitaker, Jason Robards, Dana Delany, Josef Sommer and George Dzundza, all strong performers, are used weakly in this update, which coasts rather than simmers to its conclusion.

* "Montreal Comedy Festival '94." (9:35 p.m.-11:05 p.m., SHO) -- Jonathan Winters gets inducted into the Humor Hall of Fame here -- but what's funny is that it took fellow comics a dozen years to honor him.

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