Put all the parts together for good night

TODAY'S TV

November 22, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

For the next week or so, until the November ratings sweeps are over, there will be a lot of activity on TV -- after which, of course, will come a December loaded with holiday specials, low-profile documentaries and lots of repeats. Forty days to 1995, and counting . . .

* "Wings" (8 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Channel 2) -- This show already has added one member of Helen's family by making room for Amy Yasbeck as Casey, Helen's sister. Tonight, in a guest role, Debbie Reynolds appears as their mother. Crystal Bernard stars as Helen. NBC.

* "Frasier" (9 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Channel 2) -- Part 2 of 2. Yes, it's Bebe Neuwirth as Lilith, making her second guest appearance on this "Cheers" spinoff. It's every bit as funny as her first, with one priceless physical gag and one putdown, by Kelsey Grammer's Frasier, that's laugh-out-loud brutal. You'll know it when you hear it. NBC.

* "Million Dollar Babies" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., Channel 11) -- Part 2 of 2. Kate Nelligan's keenly shaped performance helps make this new CBS miniseries one of the season's best docudramas to date. CBS.

* "NYPD Blue" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., Channel 13) -- The backbone of this week's installment is a plot about the death of a chiropractor's wife. ABC.

Cable

* "Merle Haggard: An American Story" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., TNN) -- Part 1 of 2. This special begins with Merle Haggard revisiting a seminal, sad part of his youth: a solitary-confinement cell at San Quentin. "It was here," he says somberly, "that something happened to my life." Afterward, Mr. Haggard went on to become a major country-music star, whose music is saluted tonight, and in tomorrow's conclusion, by Emmylou Harris, Randy Travis, Vince Gill, Alabama and many others. Some are shown performing in concert, others in recording studios, but all take time to credit Mr. Haggard and his contributions to their musical genre.

* "The Fun and Feel of the Fifties" (9 p.m.-9:45 p.m., DIS) -- Part 1 of 2. This first special looks at the first half of the decade, and is so reliant upon clips of early TV shows, commercials and special bulletins that the fun here is getting the feel from television of that period. My favorite: Nancy Reagan talking about her "electric servants" in a commercial, using the latest electric gadgets to serve a meal to husband Ronald and little daughter Patti.

* "Probable Cause" (10:30 p.m.-12:05 a.m., SHO) -- Definite waste.

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