Dickens comes to 'Northern Exposure'

TODAY'S TV

October 03, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

Tonight's "Northern Exposure" offers a new twist on a very old tale, while "National Geographic's China" takes a new look at a very old country.

* "The Nanny" (8 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Channel 11) -- Younger woman "dates" a much older man. It happened in "Indecent Proposal," with Demi Moore being wooed by Robert Redford -- and it happens tonight on "The Nanny," with Fran (Fran Drescher) being wooed by -- ready? -- Efrem Zimbalist Jr. CBS.

* "National Geographic's China" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., Channel 26) -- Part 1 of 2. This new four-hour presentation by Phil Agland is proudly visual (it's shown in letterbox format), uncompromisingly demanding (it's subtitled) and unusually plot-filled (it follows, among other things, a local murder and its aftermath). PBS.

* "Someone She Knows" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., Channel 2) -- Markie Post shows her dramatic side, and shows, once again, that she should be entrusted with more, and more challenging, dramatic roles. She stars with Gerald McRaney in this made-for-TV movie, portraying a mother searching to identify the murderer of her young daughter. Also in the cast: Sharon Lawrence of "NYPD Blue." NBC.

* "Northern Exposure" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., Channel 11) -- Just when you thought TV couldn't come up with another variation on "A Christmas Carol," here comes "Northern Exposure" with a delightfully different take. Would you believe Joel (Rob Morrow) being visited by the Ghost of Yom Kippur Past? Well, it happens tonight, in an episode called "Shofar, So Good." One of the many interesting elements is that the Ghost of Yom Kippurs Yet to Come shows Joel leaving Cicely, and the residents barely giving it a second thought. Is this an event Joel, like Scrooge, has the will to change, or were we seeing the writers' version of a sneak preview of what will happen later this season, when Mr. Morrow leaves the show for allegedly bigger Hollywood pastures? CBS.

Cable

* "Shaka Zulu" (8:05 p.m.-10:05 p.m., TBS) -- Part 1 of 5. This 1987 miniseries, with great soundtrack music by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, is like a "Roots" that doesn't leave Africa. Beautiful, poetic and hypnotically unusual. If you never saw it, sample it tonight.

* "The Brain: Our Universe Within" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., DSC) -- This new Discovery Channel series is not the same as the recent PBS series called "The Brain." Some brain just gave it a too-similar title.

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