By Ken Tucker
Updated March 24, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

In the ’60s, The Outer Limits never got the sort of middlebrow respect that The Twilight Zone received, mostly because, I suspect, Limits just tried to scare you, while Rod Serling’s show also wanted to Teach You a Lesson. I preferred the former, for its unpretentious wildness, a quality that’s present in a new version of the outer limits (Showtime, March 26, 8-10 p.m.). The premiere effort, a two-hour story called ”Sandkings,” features Beau Bridges as a scientist researching life-forms growing in a chunk of soil brought back from Mars. Sitting in his barn, unbeknownst to his wife (Helen Shaver) and son (Dylan Bridges, Beau’s delicately handsome real-life son), Bridges raises critters who turn mean and try to take over Earth! Next week’s normal-length, one-hour show, ”Valerie 23,” stars William Sadler as a paraplegic chosen to use a robot for a trial run as a home ”companion.” But this is some hubba- hubba ‘bot: a slinky ”inorganic human” played by Sofia Shinas who not only cooks and cleans but flirts and makes passes at her hot-and-bothered owner. Need I say that trouble ensues? B+

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