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The Big Guns of November

October 25, 1998|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The new series are under way and the baseball preemptions are finished: It's time to get serious about the fall television season. The November sweeps begin Thursday--one of those periods when the ratings of every TV station in the country are on the line and the networks roll out their biggest programming weapons to garner the largest possible audiences.

The month is filled with new movies and miniseries, including Sidney Poitier in "David and Lisa," Whoopi Goldberg in "A Knight in Camelot" and Cecily Tyson in "Mama Flora's Family," another saga about Alex Haley's family.

On the series front, Fox's "The X-Files" kicks off its first season shot in Los Angeles and ABC's "NYPD Blue" undergoes a major cast change.

Here's a look at programming highlights between now and Nov. 25, when the sweeps end.

Movies & Miniseries

"Don't Look Down": Wes Craven ("Scream") presents a thriller about a young woman who, after witnessing the death of her sister, is haunted by visions of herself plummeting from a great height. Megan Ward stars. ABC. Thursday.

"Inferno": Jonathan LaPaglia headlines a thriller about people going insane because of rising temperatures. UPN. Thursday.

"101 Dalmatians": Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels and several adorable puppies star in the 1996 live-action version of the Disney animated classic. ABC. Nov. 1.

"The Lost World: Jurassic Park": Jeff Goldblum returns in Steven Spielberg's 1997 sequel to his dinosaur blockbuster. Fox. Nov. 1.

"David and Lisa": Oprah Winfrey presents a remake of the 1962 film dealing with two troubled teens (Lukas Haas and Brittany Murphy). Sidney Poitier stars as a compassionate psychiatrist. ABC. Nov. 1.

"The Temptations": Leon, Charles Malik Whitfield, Christian Payton and Terron Brooks star in this four-hour musical drama about the famed Motown group. NBC. Nov. 1-2.

"A Knight in Camelot": Whoopi Goldberg plays a 20th century scientist accidentally flung back in time to 6th century England in "The Wonderful World of Disney" version of Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court." ABC. Nov. 8.

"Mama Flora's Family": Two-part drama from Alex Haley. Cicely Tyson, Queen Latifah and Blair Underwood star. CBS. Nov. 8 and 10.

"Exiled": Chris Noth reprises his role as Det. Mike Logan from "Law & Order" in this murder mystery, which also features "L&O" stars Jerry Orbach, Benjamin Bratt, Sam Waterston and S. Epatha Merkerson. NBC. Nov. 8.

"A Soldier's Sweetheart: Kiefer Sutherland, Skeet Ulrich and Georgina Cates star in a Vietnam drama. Showtime. Nov. 8.

"Twister": Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton star in the 1996 box office thriller. NBC. Nov. 15.

"Monday After the Miracle": Roma Downey and Moira Kelly star in this story of the relationship between the grown-up Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. CBS. Nov. 15.

"My Father's Shadow: The Sam Sheppard Story": Peter Strauss and Henry Czerny headline a psychological drama based on the true story of the Sam Sheppard murder case. CBS. Nov. 17.

"Max Q": Jerry Bruckheimer is the producer of this space adventure starring Bill Campbell and Paget Brewster. ABC. Nov. 19.

"Winchell": Stanley Tucci plays the legendary journalist in a drama directed by Paul Mazursky. HBO. Nov. 21.

"Saint Maybe": "Hallmark Hall of Fame" adaptation of Anne Tyler's bestseller about a young man who decides to raise his brother's family alone. Thomas McCarthy and Blythe Danner star. CBS. Nov. 22.

"Rear Window": Christopher Reeve is the star and executive producer of this remake of the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock classic about a wheelchair-bound man who thinks he has witnessed a murder. ABC. Nov. 22.

Series

"Little Men": Series based on Louisa May Alcott's novel. Pax TV. Nov. 7.

"The X-Files": The cult series finally returns for its sixth season. Fox. Nov. 8.

"NYPD Blue": Rick Schroder joins the cast and Jimmy Smits departs. ABC. Nov. 24.

Specials

"Tales from the Tower": Prince Edward of England is executive producer of this three-hour history of the Tower of London. The Learning Channel. Nov. 1.

"Cats": Andrew Lloyd Webber's long-running musical comes to television. Elaine Paige, Ken Page and Sir John Mills star. KCET. Nov. 2.

"Frank Lloyd Wright": The latest film from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick focuses on a man whose life and designs offer insight into the history of architecture. KCET. Nov. 10-11.

"A Wedding in Basra": Arthur Kent returns to the Persian Gulf to offer an inside look at Iraq under United Nations sanctions and their effects on the average Iraqi citizen. KCET. Nov. 13.

Guests Stars

"Diagnosis Murder": Jesse believes he was abducted by aliens in this "X-Files" spoof featuring guests Walter Koenig, George Takei, Grace Lee Whitney and Majel Barrett Roddenberry of "Star Trek"; Wil Wheaton of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and Billy Mumy of "Lost in Space." CBS. Thursday.

"Frasier": Teri Hatcher plays Frasier's phobic lover. NBC. Thursday.

"Millennium": The rock group Kiss appears on the Halloween episode. Fox. Friday.

"Love Boat: The Next Wave": The original cast of "The Love Boat"--Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange, Lauren Tewes and Jill Whelan --unite with the new cast for a special episode. UPN. Friday.

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