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Archive for Saturday, August 2, 2003

Saturday night TV now lifeless

August 2, 2003

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Once a showcase for popular series, including "M*A*S*H," "All in the Family" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," Saturday nights have devolved into video landfill where the networks can bury stiffs like the revived "Hunter" and the last unseen episodes of "Just Shoot Me." No wonder viewers have been driven from their living rooms.

Lifetime hopes to fill this void with two new dramas aimed at women and families, featuring two stars of old network series.

Joely Fisher ("Ellen," "Baby Bob") stars in "Wild Card" (8 p.m. today, Lifetime) as a formerly aimless young woman given a new chance at love, family and success. "Wild Card" follows the "instant family" formula of dozens of comedies and dramas. Zoe Busiek (Fisher), a free spirit working at a Las Vegas blackjack table, inherits her two nieces and a nephew after her sister's sudden death in a car accident.

It's "Bachelorette Father" meets "Erin Brockovich," and most of the time it works. Fisher, who was reduced to showing off her cleavage on "Baby Bob," seems to thrive in this thoroughly grown-up role.

  • The FBI teams a skeptic with a mystical believer in psychic phenomena. Where have we seen this before? Don't go looking for Mulder and Scully redux on "1-800-Missing" (9 p.m. today, Lifetime), starring Gloria Reuben ("ER," "The Agency") as Brooke Haslett, a soft-spoken, by-the-book FBI agent teamed with young psychic Jess Mastriani (Caterina Scorsone), who "dreams" up clues about missing persons.

Today's other highlights

  • Before Michael Chiklis won an Emmy for "The Shield," he played Curly in the 2000 TV biopic "The Three Stooges" (7 p.m., ABC), produced by Mel Gibson.
  • Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Lara Flynn Boyle and Frank the pug star in the 2002 sequel "Men in Black II" (7 p.m., HBO).
  • Joyce DeWitt tells her side of the story in the 2003 nostalgia drama "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Three's Company'" (8 p.m. NBC).

Sunday highlights

  • Tony Shalhoub and the voice of Jay Mohr star in the 1998 parrot comedy "Paulie" (6 p.m., ABC).
  • "Biography" (7 p.m., A&E) profiles actor Paul Newman.
  • A therapist (Cuba Gooding) tries to calm his patient's (Anthony Hopkins) inner beast in the 1999 thriller "Instinct" (7:30 p.m., CBS).
  • Mrs. Bradley (Diana Rigg) makes a grim discovery at the beach on "Mystery!" (8 p.m., PBS).
  • Rocco fiddles while his staff does a slow burn on "The Restaurant" (9 p.m., NBC).

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