A guide to notable programs (times are Eastern standard and are subject to change)
Once a soap himbo, always a soap himbo. As the World Turns‘ Brian Bloom got his prime-time break a few seasons back on Aaron Spelling’s short-lived but well-remembered CBS sudser 2000 Malibu Road, and now he’s being recycled for the cast of Melrose Place (Fox, Nov. 14, 8-9 p.m.). Bloom will play Zach Phillips, a music-industry weasel who leads poor Alison (Courtney Thorne-Smith) astray into the hard-boozing L.A. nightlife scene. In other plots, mean Amanda (Heather Locklear) and Dr. Burns (Jack Wagner) plan a hostile takeover of D&D Advertising, crazy Kimberly (Marcia Cross) tells Michael (Thomas Calabro) she wants to reproduce, and preggo Jo (Daphne Zuniga) goes to court to keep her unborn child out of the hands of her dead lover’s parents. Gee, no story line for Matt (Doug Savant). That’s a switch.
Is there a sadder sight than three veterans of quality TV dramas chasing after a sheepdog? Hard to believe, but St. Elsewhere‘s Ed Begley Jr., NYPD Blue‘s Sharon Lawrence, and Homicide: Life on the Street‘s Jon Polito get upstaged by a pooch in the Shaggy Dog (ABC, Nov. 12, 8-10 p.m.), a torpid remake of the Fred MacMurray 1959 Disney farce. Full House‘s Scott Weinger stars as the teen geek who sprouts fur and runs around on all fours as the result of a magic spell. Despite the updated pop-culture references (like My Life as a Dog — arf, arf), the script is still musty — there’s even a subplot about a jewel heist. Warning: This Dog bites.
Kelsey Grammer’s sophomore smash, Frasier, has more than held its own against Home Improvement on Tuesdays, so it gets a bonus airing in its old time slot (NBC, Nov. 10, 9:30-10 p.m.) with an instant rerun of the recent, already-classic episode in which Frasier tries to set up his gay station manager (Eric Lutes) on a date with Daphne (Jane Leeves). And on the series’ new night (Nov. 15, 9-9:30 p.m.), Kramer vs. Kramer‘s JoBeth Williams guest-stars as a fashion designer who sweeps the good doctor off his feet in the first of a two-parter that marks Bebe Neuwirth’s second return engagement as Frasier’s ex-wife. We love Lilith, but isn’t it about time for some other members of the Cheers gang to pay a visit to their old pal in Seattle? What we wouldn’t give to see a scene between Norm and Niles.
No one ever explained how Trapper John McIntyre aged from a sandy-blond moptop on M*A*S*H into a salt-and-pepper balding guy on Trapper John, M.D., but maybe sleuths Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke can get to the bottom of it, as the two TV Trappers turn up on Murder, She Wrote (CBS, Nov. 13, 8-9 p.m.) and Diagnosis Murder (CBS, Nov. 11, 8-9 p.m.), respectively. M*A*S*H man Wayne Rogers reprises his Wrote role as private eye Charlie Garrett, who seeks Jessica’s aid in finding a killer at an island resort. Meanwhile, on Diagnosis, ex-M.D. Pernell Roberts plays a plastic surgeon who overdoses on laughing gas. Elliott Gould beat them to it again, however: The original Trapper from Robert Altman’s 1970 movie M*A*S*H will put in his second TV appearance this season as Courteney Cox’s dad on Friends (NBC, Nov. 10, 8:30-9 p.m.) before Roberts’ and Rogers’ gigs hit the air.