Set the VCR: Three's a welcome crowd


October 14, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

Three of my favorite series -- "The X-Files," "Picket Fences" and "Homicide: Life on the Street," are on TV tonight. That's the good news. The bad news is that those three shows are televised within a two-hour period, which means either making tough choices or cranking up the VCR.

* "The X-Files" (9-10 p.m., Channel 45) -- Part 1 of 2. Last week we learned that Mulder's new partner, played by Nicholas Lea, was actually a government informant planted to keep a closer eye on Mulder's activities. This week Mulder's ex-partner, Scully (Gillian Anderson), surreptitiously helps check out a case of a man (guest star Steve Railsback) who claims to have had several close encounters of the third and fourth kind. (For the record, third is contact; fourth is abduction.) David Duchovny stars. Fox.

* "Homicide: Life on the Street" (10-11 p.m., Channel 2) -- Part 1 of 2. This series is back, and boy, does it hit the ground running. Not only does it start with a tough murder mystery (a devout community leader found naked, except for white cotton gloves), but spends a lot of time tracking the personal lives of its Baltimore squad members. One has dreams of buying a neighborhood bar, another has nightmares of dealing with the aftermath of a marital separation, a third has to deal with a racist counterpart, and new cast member Isabella Hofmann, as a freshly promoted lieutenant, has to deal with them all.

As always, the intensity level never lets up -- although the pre-credits sequence does contain an obvious and very funny poke at "NYPD Blue." NBC.

* "Picket Fences" (10-11 p.m., Channel 11) -- Last week on "Picket Fences," the minority kids were bused in to Rome, Wis., with the local authorities, including Tom Skerritt's Sheriff Brock, wisely backing down and letting the school be forcibly integrated.

Tonight, as the story continues and tensions continue to escalate, there's an odd juxtaposition in a subplot involving the local district attorney and one of the town deputies. Meanwhile, the guest star list this week is especially rich, including Paul Winfield, Richard Masur and Denis Arndt. CBS.


* "Mark of the Vampire" (2-3:15 a.m., TNT) -- Fans of Ed Wood, the filmmaker or the movie, might want to catch this 1935 Tod Browning film, to see Bela Lugosi in action before Wood got to him.

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