'Rockford Files' gives Garner another chance to fight crime

Today's TV

September 18, 1996|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Lots of new stuff tonight...

"Ellen" (8 p.m.-8: 30 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Ellen decides it's time to buy a house, but she can afford it only by selling her bookstore to a huge chain. This may not be the only big decision Ellen has to make this year. ABC.

"Townies" (8: 30 p.m.-9 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Molly Ringwald is the big name among three young women trying to live (and make us laugh) through the boredom of a New England coastal town. Afraid they don't do a very good job. ABC.

"The Rockford Files: Punishment and Crime" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Always cause for celebration: James Garner returns one more time as Jim Rockford, the world's most consistently unlucky private eye. Even better news: Kathryn Harrold is back as the blind psychiatrist Jim fell in love with a few years back. This time around, she needs Jim's help when her cousin gets mixed up with some Russian mobsters. CBS.

"The Drew Carey Show" (9: 30 p.m.-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Drew's second season opens with a bang, thanks to a music video (to the Vogues' "Five O'Clock World") that's so carefully, sloppily choreographed that it's wonderful. From there it's smooth sailing throughout, as Drew gets in trouble, both for giving his girlfriend, Lisa (Katy Silverstone), a mediocre job evaluation and for actually thinking he can win a war of insults and pranks with mean Mimi (Kathy Kinney). ABC.

"Men Behaving Badly" (9: 30 p.m.-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- OK, OK, so men behave like pigs sometimes. Do they really deserve this raunchy, one-note comedy? Rob Schneider of "Saturday Night Live" is the main offender (as in, he behaves the worst), but partner Ron Eldard is hardly a model of decorum, either. Justine Bateman, in a role eons away from the clueless Mallory of "Family Ties," is the latter's ever-suffering love interest. NBC.

"Law & Order" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Jill Hennessy's Claire Kincaid is dead, and the investigators and prosecutors she left behind miss her more than they let on. Her replacement is whiz-kid Jamie Ross (Carey Lowell), who steps on a few toes initially -- particularly those belonging to McCoy (Sam Waterston) -- but eventually helps put a sleazeball carjacker and murderer behind bars (despite his lawyer's best tricks). Another strong outing from one of TV's best, most consistent dramas. NBC.

Cable

"The Late Shift" (11 p.m.-12: 40 a.m., HBO) -- This dramatization of the Leno-Letterman late-night wars isn't much, but the fact that it's anything at all is testimony to HBO's filmmaking powers. John Michael Higgins is a serviceable Letterman, and Kathy Bates spits nails as fall-woman (and pretty nasty person) Helen Kushnick, Leno's agent.

Pub Date: 9/18/96

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