'Frontline' examines Waco, while 'Nova' voyages to Venus

Today's TV

October 17, 1995|By STEVE MCKERROW | STEVE MCKERROW,SUN STAFF

Space aliens often came from Venus in the movies, but a new "Nova" tonight finds the planet an unlikely candidate for an invasion threat. The PBS "Frontline" series also takes a hard look at the FBI's handling of the 1993 Waco tragedy.

* "Roseanne" (8 p.m.-8:30 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Trivia test! Guest star Pat Harrington plays himself at the opening of a restaurant that offers the Conners some competition. Can you name two previous series in which he appeared as a regular? Most people will mention his role as the building super in "One Day at a Time" (1975-1984). But did you remember "Make Room for Daddy" (1953-1964, and often recalled as "The Danny Thomas Show")? In the later seasons, Harrington played the man who married Danny's daughter. ABC.

* "My Cousin Vinny" (8 p.m.-10 -p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Marisa Tomei stole the movie (and a best supporting actress Oscar) in this 1992 hit, with Joe Pesci as a lawyer defending his cousin (Ralph Macchio) in a Deep South courtroom. The late Fred Gwynn, in his final film, is very droll as the judge. Fox.

* "Nova: Venus Unveiled" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., MPT, Channels 22, 67) -- The spacecraft Magellan beamed its radar on Earth's closest planetary neighbor and found an environment inhospitable to life -- at least the kind we know. The special uses computer animation to envision the setting. PBS.

* "Live Shot" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WNUV, Channel 54) -- Fiction springs from real life as the Re- Action News team struggles to cover a major Los Angeles earthquake, while also acting as emergency rescue personnel. UPN.

* "Frontline: Waco: The Inside Story" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., MPT, Channels 22, 67) -- Correspondent Peter Boyer launches the investigative program's 14th season, with an exploration of the 1993 siege and fire that destroyed the Branch Davidian compound. PBS.

* "Behind Closed Doors III With Joan Lunden" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- The "Good Morning America" host offers her third prime-time special. Subjects include include America's secret bomb squad, the "Eye in the Sky" security system that oversees Las Vegas casinos and an interview with talk show host Ricki Lake. ABC.

Cable

* "Smashing Pumpkins Rockumentary" (7:30 p.m.-8 p.m., MTV) -- In-studio footage from the making of the band's new album highlights the latest edition of this series. Lead singer Billy Corgan and other band members are also interviewed.

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