In the fantasy world of Melrose Place (Fox, Oct. 10, 8-9 p.m.), Amanda (Heather Locklear) discovers that her father (Wayne Tippit) tried to kill Jake (Grant Show), and Michael (Thomas Calabro) asks Sydney (Laura Leighton) for a divorce — finally. In the real world, Melrose moves back to its old post- Beverly Hills, 90210 time slot — for a week, at least — in the form of A Day in the Lives of Melrose Place (Fox, Oct. 5, 9-10 p.m.), an infotainment hour that follows Locklear, Leighton, and the rest of the gang at work and at play. Which temporarily spares us all the agony of Models Inc.
Every time Tiffani-Amber Thiessen thinks she’s out, they pull her back in. After last season’s prime-time series Saved by the Bell: The College Years flunked out, it seemed the former kidcom pinup was free to focus on her new role as Luke Perry’s temptress on 90210. But the SBTB people coaxed poor Tiff back for one more go-round, Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas (NBC, Oct. 7, 8-10 p.m.), in which Kelly (Thiessen) and Zack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) elope to Sin City. Meanwhile, even as the SBTB gang’s acne clears up, a new group of telegenic hormone cases is emerging. Based on Francine Pascal’s paperback opus, and starring Doublemint twins Brittany and Cynthia Daniel, Sweet Valley High (syndicated, check local listings) may be the sexiest Saturday-morning series since Josie and the Pussycats.
Kind of like SCTV with T&A, Hardcore TV (HBO, Oct. 7, midnight-12:30 a.m.) returns for eight weeks after a three-episode trial run last year. There’s less gratuitous nakedness this season, and also fewer laughs. Thankfully, HCTV‘s ballsiest character, Rose ”the Sports Lady” Biederman (Susie Essman), is back. For the uninitiated, Rose is an Estelle Getty type who asks real-life athletes rude questions, such as ”Have you ever been hit so hard that your a–hole popped out?” The Bob Vila parodies (This Old House of Style) are amusing, but too many of the show’s references are dated (The Deer Hunter, Robert Mapplethorpe). Though Sunny von Bülow Unplugged did make me chuckle.
Married … With Children‘s resident lesbian, Amanda Bearse, emcees Out There II (Comedy Central, Oct. 11, 9-10 p.m.), a ”gay-la” headlined by six uncloseted comics, among them Kate Clinton (”This is a little tip: Don’t come out to your dad in a moving vehicle”) and Scott Silverman, whose homoerotic analysis of Star Wars is a scream (”C3PO? Robo-queen! Mincing around space calling Skywalker ‘Master,’ encased in gold lamé … ”). Even better is an excerpt from ex-Franciscan monk John McGivern’s one-man show, Midwest Side Story, about growing up gay in a large Milwaukee brood (”In an Irish Catholic family, the boy who can’t throw the ball is the boy who’s going to be the priest”). The show’s only flaws: smug goodwill messages from straight celebs Patrick Stewart, Cybill Shepherd, and Whoopi Goldberg.
Bill and Chelsea Clinton’s favorite show, American Gladiators (syndicated, check local listings), has begun its sixth season with a new game for its bemuscled competitors — the bungee challenge ”Snapback” — and with one of its biggest stars, Nitro, back in the fold after a two-year sabbatical and a failed film career (David Caruso, take note). The program has also yielded a new spin-off, Gladiators 2000 (syndicated, check local listings), aimed at the grammar school set. In addition to completing obstacle courses, the prepubescent participants must answer questions about nutrition, science, and fitness. Plus: free dental tips! Heck, if Turbo can’t get America’s youth to start flossing, nobody can.