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Highlights

TURN ON, TUNE IN OR MISS OUT : Find Dennis Rodman under NBC's 'Third Rock' season return; emotional fare in CBS, ABC movies

September 22, 1996|STEVEN LINAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sunday / "3rd Rock From the Sun" 8 p.m. NBC

Some would say out-there Dennis Rodman is from another planet, making him the ideal guest for this goofy sitcom. The hourlong season premiere picks up from last spring when high commander Dick was locked in the basement by his terrible twin (both played in looney, over-the-top, Emmy-winning style by John Lithgow). Rodman, who plays himself (as if anyone else could), sports a green dye job here.

****

"Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" 8 p.m. ABC

The supah couple is due to be wed in October, but before that the Man of Steel (Dean Cain) must put a whuppin' on the evil Lord Nor, who in the season premiere has invaded Earth, where he and his henchmen are endowed with special powers. In a bid to stop the despot from colonizing the planet, Clark and other Kryptonians gear up for a winner-take-all showdown on a two-part episode concluding next Sunday.

****

"What Love Sees" 9 p.m. CBS

Richard Thomas stars in this fact-based TV movie about a blind couple who fall in love. He plays a Californian blinded by an accident on his ranch. Annabeth Gish ("Nixon," "Mystic Pizza") is a Bostonian who lost her sight as a child. After becoming acquainted through an exchange of letters, the couple eventually meet, marry and make a life together, overcoming the obstacles encountered by their disabilities.

****

"Two Mothers for Zachary" 9 p.m. ABC

Good performances carry this absorbing TV movie based on a true story about a woman (Vanessa Redgrave) fighting for custody of her grandson in a court battle involving her gay daughter (Valerie Bertinelli). Set in Richmond, Va., the story centers on Jody Ann (Bertinelli) and her relationship with Maggie (Colleen Flynn), who intend to raise young Zachary. The actresses give proper dimension to their characters, and one doesn't feel manipulated by the developments.

Tuesday / "Mad About You" 8 p.m. NBC

If this show was good enough for Carl Reiner, then why not Mel Brooks? The 2,000-Year-Old Man--you know what we mean--turns up as Ira's quirky Uncle Phil, who gives Paul (Paul Reiser) the inspiration for his new film. Meanwhile, Jamie's boss makes an offer she can't refuse on the verge of her resignation.

****

"After Jimmy" 9 p.m. CBS

The title character of this TV movie is a tormented teen (Peter Facinelli) who commits suicide, leaving behind grieving parents (Meredith Baxter and Bruce Davison) wondering why. Jimmy, a solid student bound for college, is seemingly happy and well-adjusted. In the aftermath of his death, members of the family lean on one another to cope with the tragedy. Eva Marie Saint co-stars as the teen's grandmother.

****

"Relativity" 10 p.m. ABC. Also Saturday 10 p.m.

Fair warning, fellas. Males who may be turned off by the unabashed romanticism of this new drama from the producers of "thirtysomething" and "My So-Called Life" should know that its winsome star Kimberly Williams makes the show eminently worth watching. Williams, who has played Steve Martin's daughter in two "Father of the Bride" movies, is luminous as Isabel, a confused young woman torn between two men. While mulling over a marriage proposal from her longtime boyfriend, she falls for fellow Angeleno Leo (David Conrad), who is traveling in Rome. Mama mia!

Thursday / "ER" 10 p.m. NBC

Television's top-rated series returns for its third season. In the opener, Carter (Noah Wyle) is left alone on the night shift as the staff celebrates the Fourth of July. In other developments, Jeanie (Gloria Reuben) and Benton (Eriq La Salle) anxiously await the results of their HIV tests; Greene (Anthony Edwards) and Weaver (Laura Innes) are at odds over patient confidentiality and Ross (George Clooney) dispenses dating advice.

Saturday / "Common Law" 9:30 p.m. ABC

The sole distinction of this new ensemble comedy is that its lead is not Caucasian, African American or Asian. He's a Latino. Greg Giraldo plays John Alvarez, a Harvard-educated lawyer at a top firm in Manhattan. Alvarez, who is secretly dating a colleague (Megyn Price), has a conservative father (Gregory Sierra) and a Latina secretary (Diana-Maria Riva). What he doesn't have is a funny script.

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