Lineup holds sweeps tricks and some serious issues

Today's TV

November 21, 1996|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Sweeps-month stunt casting is on view during NBC's weaker sitcoms in tonight's Must-See lineup, with Davy Jones and Rodney Dangerfield making guest appearances on "The Single Guy" and "Suddenly Susan," respectively.

"The Single Guy" (8: 30 p.m.-9 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Will Davy Jones show up to sing at the prom? Well, surprisingly, that familiar TV chestnut is not the plot of tonight's show; instead, it's the "Guess who's coming to dinner?" plot. The dinner is Thanksgiving, and the guest of honor is the shortest Monkee.

"Murder One" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- This is "Chapter 6" of the first case of the season, and the defense finally rests in this episode. Don't expect a verdict next week, though: the show is being pre-empted for the rest of the November sweeps.

"Seinfeld" (9 p.m.-9: 30 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- One of the most classic "Seinfeld" episodes concerned a bet about which of Seinfeld's pals could refrain the longest from a very personal solo activity. Tonight's episode is framed around a similar contest, but one built around abstaining from a very personal dual activity.

"Suddenly Susan" (9: 30 p.m.-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Rodney Dangerfield plays a cranky oven repairman who makes a service call on Thanksgiving day. Imagine that bill.

Cable

"Smoke Alarm: The Unfiltered Truth about Cigarettes" (7 p.m.-7: 30 p.m., HBO) -- Parents of preteens and young teens will want to tape this episode and show it to their kids as the start of a springboard discussion. A sometimes funny, always frank discussion of tobacco usage and effects is presented in typically clever "Consumer Reports Television" fashion -- which means animation, skits, interviews and other fast-paced presentations, all naming brand names and pulling no punches.

"Time and Again" (7 p.m.-8 p.m., MSNBC) -- Another show worth taping: Tonight's "Time and Again" focuses on Nov. 21, 1963, the day before John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Old NBC footage trails JFK and his wife Jackie on their final days together, and it's startling to hear one Nov. 21 San Antonio report by NBC's Robert MacNeil, who says, "Tomorrow the President visits Dallas, where police are taking special precautions in case of unfriendly demonstrations." Very evocative; very, very important.

"Biography: 'Mark Twain: His Amazing Adventures' " (8 p.m.-9 p.m., A&E) -- To anyone other than a Twain novice, this "Biography" will prove disappointingly superficial.

Pub Date: 11/21/96

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