A couple of series flirt with serious matters

Today's TV

November 11, 1996|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,SPECIAL TO THE SUN Staff writer Chris Kaltenbach contributed to this article.

It's a good night to check in on some of the Monday shows you may not have seen in a while, to see if they've improved. "Ink," for example, has a somewhat ambitious episode about parental reaction to their kids' encounter with dope in the '90s, while "Melrose Place" tries to correct last year's off-the-wall course by introducing at least one seriously dramatic plot line.

"Dangerous Minds" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- "Ink" isn't the only Monday-night series devoting itself to an ethical question tonight. On this challenging, well-written episode of "Dangerous Minds," Louanne (Annie Potts) has to try to crack her students' code of silence -- their unwillingness to tell on one of their own. ABC.

"Melrose Place" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Baseball pre-emptions allowed Fox to start stacking up episodes of "Melrose," and it's using the November sweeps as a chance for a major relaunch of sorts. Tonight's two hours of "Melrose" starts it off, and by the time the two shows are over, "Melrose" indeed will have come close to redeeming itself, especially with a plot involving Marcia Cross as Kimberly and guest star Kelly Rutherford as Mike's mystery woman. Fox.

"Maryland in the Great War: Over There, Over Here" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., MPT, Channels 22, 67) -- MPT commemorates PBS' latest mega-series, the eight-part "The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century," with this look at how World War I affected the Free State.

"Ink" (8: 30 p.m.-9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- This episode raises the question, what happens when Woodstock parents find pot in the possession of their own kids? In this case, the parents are played by Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen; Danson's reactions, in particular, are a howl, but Christine Ebersole, as the perpetually hung-over society columnist, continues to steal this show whenever she appears. CBS.

"Cybill" (9: 30-10 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Tonight's script offers a fine idea for a series that truly needs one: Cybill (Cybill Shepherd) gets her big break on an "X-Files" type of show. It sounds funny, and guest stars Jon Tenney and Dinah Manoff will help, but why don't this show's writers just go for the gusto and cast Cybill in an ersatz series reminiscent of "Moonlighting"? CBS.

Cable

"M*A*S*H" (9 a.m.-11: 30 a.m., repeats 8 p.m.-10: 30 p.m., Comedy Central) -- Never has anarchy seemed so appealing. Those with short memories may not remember, but M*A*S*H the series was first M*A*S*H the movie, with Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye (he was nothing like his holiness, Alan Alda) and Warren Beatty as Trapper John (a surly character Wayne Rogers would never have recognized). Director Robert Altman brought forth a true original here, and war films would never be the same. Needless to say, the movie's considerably darker than the series (wait'll you see Robert Duvall as Frank Burns).

"Biography: 'David Brinkley: A Reporter's Life' " (8 p.m.-9 p.m., A&E) -- After last week's verbal explosion and yesterday's final "This Week," Brinkley gets a final farewell, courtesy of this new edition of this A&E series.

Pub Date: 11/11/96

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