A guide to notable programs (times are Eastern daylight and are subject to change)
Roseanne is everywhere. As if headlining her own ABC sitcom and presiding over this year’s MTV Video Music Awards weren’t enough, the Queen of the Bile turns up on the Larry Sanders Show (HBO, Oct. 12, 10:30-11 p.m.) as live-in nursemaid and love interest to Larry (Garry Shandling), who’s holed up in his house trying to kick an addiction to painkillers. At one point, Larry’s producer, Artie (Rip Torn), warns him that if he doesn’t clean up his act, ”Fox will make a TV movie about you by the end of the year!” It’s a perfect Sanders in-joke, because that’s exactly what’s happening to his guest star with Roseanne: An Unauthorized Biography (Fox, Oct. 11, 8-10 p.m.). Shandling’s HBO-mate Denny Dillon (Dream On) takes on the title role. Should you miss this one, don’t worry; NBC has its own Rosey movie set to air on — no joke — Halloween.
After jerking it on and off the air during the past two seasons, NBC has finally found a home for Homicide: Life On The Street (NBC, Oct. 14, 10-11 p.m.). Usually when networks tinker with a show to make it more viewer-friendly, they do more harm than good. But happily that’s not the case here. More sensational story lines (a serial strangler leaves his victims nude, save for white gloves) and sexier subplots (a new shift commander, played by Dear John‘s Isabella Hofmann, gets involved with one of the men) only heighten the excitement level of this viscerally realistic police drama. Watch your back, NYPD Blue.
Last month, Fox touted the premiere of its new post-football lineup as ”Super Sunday.” Like most Super Bowls, the product didn’t live up to its billing. In fact, two of the new series, Fortune Hunter and Wild Oats, have already been yanked. And they’re being replaced by a pair of shows that didn’t exactly set the Nielsens on fire last season, Encounters: The Hidden Truth (Fox, Oct. 16, 7-8 p.m.) and The George Carlin Show (Fox, Oct. 16, 9:30-10 p.m.). Between Encounters‘ ludicrous searches for Sasquatches and Carlin‘s vain attempts to turn the hippie stand-up comic into a huggable sitcom star, chances are Fox won’t be using any superlatives to sell this ramshackle schedule.
George Lucas’ big-budget pet project, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, was a surprise ratings bust on ABC, but the megaproducer has revived it as a series of made-for-cable movies. In the first, Young Indiana Jones and The Hollywood Follies (Family, Oct. 15, 8-10 p.m.), Chicago collegian Indy (Sean Patrick Flanery) journeys to La-La Land and faces one of his most terrifying foes ever: wildly over-budget silent-film director Erich Von Stroheim (Dana Gladstone). While on the coast, Indy also crosses paths with Western-movie auteur John Ford (Stephen Caffery), budding mogul Irving Thalberg (Bill Cusack), and an elderly Wyatt Earp (Leo Gordon). But it’s Gladstone who steals the show. With his monocle, bald dome, and arsenal of Germanic insults (”Dummkopf!”), he’s the instant front-runner for the role of Colonel Klink in the inevitable Hogan’s Heroes movie.