``Picket Fences'' picks up where it left off

TODAY'S TV

September 23, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

The picks tonight are easy, and they don't conflict: a new "X-Files," followed by the third-season premiere of "Picket Fences."

* "Justice in a Small Town." (9-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Kate Jackson, John Shea and Dean Stockwell star in this new fact-based telemovie -- but if you're going to watch, watch for Beth Broderick as Melissa Brewer. Broderick will be showing a much flashier and more comical side tomorrow night, as one of the stars of "The Five Mrs. Buchanans." NBC.

* "Under Suspicion." (9-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- It's always interesting to track how long it takes a new cop show, especially one worried about surviving in the ratings, to pull out a plot about beautiful women stalked by a serial killer or rapist. Give "Under Suspicion" credit for due restraint: It waited until the second episode. Guest stars include Susan Blakely and Sandahl Bergman. CBS.

* "The X-Files." (9-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Ed Norton never had to worry about stuff like this: Tonight on "The X-Files," a sewer worker is attacked, and eventually killed, by a human-sized parasite. Usually on TV, when someone gets slugged, it refers to a fistfight. Not here. Fox.

* "Picket Fences." (10-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- No kidding: The first "Picket Fences" show of the new season includes the discovery of the body of a young woman who is "Dead -- wrapped in plastic," much as Laura Palmer was in the opening episode of "Twin Peaks." However, writer David E. Kelley is up to much more than sly allusions here. In fact, this opening case tackles two sacred cows, Catholicism and the U.S. Constitution, and emerges with positions that may well surprise you. Ray Walston, as Judge Bone, is terrific, and this program proves very quickly why it deserved its recent Emmy as Best Drama Series. CBS.

Cable

* "Fitzwilly." (8-10 p.m., FAM) -- Barbara Feldon co-stars with Van Dyke in this comedy, shot the year after he shut down "The Dick Van Dyke Show" -- and two years after she had begun starring on "Get Smart."

* "Rebel Highway: Reform School Girl." (10-11:30 p.m., SHO) -- Jonathan Kaplan, director of "The Accused," directs this new "Rebel Highway" telemovie, which stars Aimee Graham as an unjustly accused young woman (in these movies, is there any other kind?) sent to reform school.

* "Saturday Night Live marathon." (11:30 p.m. tonight-11:30 p.m. Saturday, COM) -- Twenty years' worth of shows are sampled in this 24-hour marathon, which ends, conveniently, five minutes before the new season of "Saturday Night Live" begins on NBC.

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