Eastern exposure for homesick Joel


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

The second inning of "Baseball" is tops on the list tonight -- which means a VCR would come in real handy, because the premiere of "ER" and the season premiere of "Northern Exposure" run directly opposite.

* "Baseball" (8-10 p.m., Channel 22) -- Two words: Ty Cobb. That's what tonight's inning of "Baseball" presents, covering 1900-1910. You'll also get to see the Paul Bunyanesque hands of Honus Wagner, the positive role model credo of Christy Mathewson, and the origins of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," a song you'll hear -- and hear, and hear -- over the next seven nights of "Baseball." This series is a keeper. PBS.

* "ER" (9-11 p.m., Channel 2) -- Anthony Edwards' soulful, perpetually exhausted resident is to "ER" what David Morse's Jack "Boomer" Morrison was to "St. Elsewhere." He's the caring, quiet center around which a whole lot of insanity and bravery revolve. This two-hour pilot is a lot better than yesterday's premiere of "Chicago Hope," but this Thursday's "Chicago Hope" is a lot better than tonight's "ER." Looks like the makings of a super season-long battle. NBC.

* "Northern Exposure" (10-11 p.m., Channel 11) -- Joel (Rob Morrow) always wishes to go back to New York, and tonight he gets his wish -- but in a sixth-season opener that's all fantasy, and that places the show's other cast members into wildly different roles. Barry Corbin's retired astronaut Maurice, for example, is a New York doorman, while Shelly (Cynthia Geary) is married not to John Cullum's Holling, but to another man -- in fact, to Joel. CBS.

* "Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m., Channel 2) -- Jay Leno, pleased with his New York trip a few months back, hits the road again, this time for a week in Las Vegas, where he's betting the trip will draw higher ratings. NBC.


* "Charade" (9-10:55 p.m., DIS) -- This 1963 mystery thriller fascinated me when I was a kid: James Coburn and George Kennedy made really evil bad guys, and Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn wended their way through a truly clever plot (Alfred Hitchcock didn't direct this movie, but it feels like he did). So I remembered the movie well, but had forgotten one thing, which one of the trivia experts at a local video store delighted me by pointing out: The name of Grant's secret-agent character in this film is "Carlton Dial," the same name of the secret-agent character in the new Fox series "Fortune Hunter."

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