What To Watch
MONDAY September 28
FINAL SEASON PREMIERE SYNDICATED* STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE (TV-PG) DS9 embarks on its last on-air voyage, as stunning new crew member Ezri Dax (Nicole deBoer) joins the cast. *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS
9-9:30PM EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (CBS, TV-PG-L) If we didn’t know better, we’d say the folks at Raymond are getting poignant on us: Frank’s ditsy driving leads Marie to ban the kids from his car and Ray to ponder his parents’ impending old age.
9-10PM ALLY MCBEAL (Fox, TV-14-D) Peter ”Biscuit” MacNicol directs ”Fools Night Out,” wherein the case of a choir singer (guest star Jennifer Holliday) done wrong prompts Ally to rethink her split with Billy.
9:30-10PM THE BRIAN BENBEN SHOW (CBS, TV-PG-L) Brian’s shame spiral deepens when a salary cut has him reduced to selling his house and doing ads for a Porta Potti company.
9:30-10PM WILL & GRACE (NBC, TV-PG) In a monumental meeting of minds, Grace’s catty assistant, Karen, meets the hysterically flaming Jack.
SYNDICATED* XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS (TV-PG) Talk about having it both ways. During a trek to the Land of the Dead in search of Gabrielle, Xena (Lucy Lawless, above) engages in both a chest-heaving reverie of her beloved charge (hey, she’s gay!) and a steamy tryst with the hunky Borias (no, she’s not!). More duplicitous fun comes with the news that the princess is preggers! (Part 1 of 2.) B *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS
TUESDAY September 29
SEASON PREMIERE 8-9PM BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (The WB, TV-14- LV) Buffy travels to a faraway city to find herself, but instead finds demons preying on homeless kids.
9-9:30PM JUST SHOOT ME (NBC, TV-PG) Jack’s plans to build a steam room on an adjacent floor propels Maya into an affair with Blush’s neighbor.
9-9:30PM SPIN CITY (ABC, TV-PG-D) Michael J. Fox’s indomitable charm continues to anchor a show whose whole never quite equals the sum of its talented parts. He makes that crystal clear in the comic perfection he brings to Mike Flaherty’s hapless romance with supermodel Heidi Klum (above with Fox), managing to elevate even bathroom humor above the been-there-done-that norm. Now, if they could just trim that ensemble by a character or two and get Michael Boatman rocking again… B
SERIES DEBUT 10-11PM THE FBI FILES (Discovery Channel, TV-PG) This might more aptly be called Solved Mysteries, as Files retraces the Feds’ steps in some of its trickier cases.
SERIES DEBUT 10-11PM VENGEANCE UNLIMITED (ABC, TV-14) Michael Madsen’s equalizer for hire gets a Tuesday-night preview.
WEDNESDAY September 30
SEASON PREMIERE 8-8:30PM THE NANNY (CBS, TV-PG-D) How odd that such a cliche-free sitcom should start its sixth(!) season with newlyweds Fran and Maxwell stranded on, of all places, a deserted island. (That was sarcasm.)
8-8:30PM DHARMA & GREG (ABC, TV-PG-L) Interpreting the First Lady’s ”it takes a village” admonition letter seriously, Abby and Larry concoct one, thus assuring a happy little New Age cocoon for their new grandchild.
8-9PM BRAVO PROFILES: THE REAL ELLEN STORY (Bravo, TV-PG) The inside-scoopy docu on the ruckus leading up to Ellen’s coming-out episode features chats with the star, the scribes, ex-ABC/Disney execs, stars like Laura Dern, and the always titillating Anne Heche (who chronicles the end of her first date with DeGeneres thusly ”We went home, met mom, made love for 17 hours”). ABC silenced the show but with this tale of self-empowerment, it’s Ellen (above) who gets the last word. A- — Jamie Bufalino
9-9:30PM THE DREW CAREY SHOW (ABC, TV-14) It didn’t take long for Carey to return to its sweeps-worthy stunts: Esteemed guitarists Joe Walsh, Rick Nielsen, Slash, and Jonny Lang attend an audition to be the ax man in Drew’s reformed band.
SEASON FINALE 9-10PM STAR TREK: VOYAGER (UPN, TV-PG) The crew is elated to discover a technologically advanced ship that promises a speedy return to Earth. We’ve got two words for them: Gilligan’s Island.
9-10PM PARTY OF FIVE (Fox, TV-PG) Daphne and Charlie find something new to bicker over: the name of their baby-to-be.
THURSDAY October 1
8-8:30PM FRIENDS (NBC, TV-PG) Rachel and Phoebe bust Chandler and Monica in mid-kiss; Rachel resolves to pour out her heart to Ross.
8:30-9PM JESSE (NBC, TV-PG) A Goober (the chocolate candy, that is) stuck up Jesse’s nose puts the kibosh on her and Diego’s first date. (You didn’t think they were going to get busy by the second episode, did you?)
9-9:30PM FRASIER (NBC, TV-PG) Unemployed Frasier feels cursed by the uncanny coincidence of his high school reunions and his life’s lowest points.
SERIES DEBUT 9-9:30PM WILDLIFE EMERGENCY (Animal Planet, TV-G) Sort of like Mr. Ed meets George Clooney, as the docu-series, filmed at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, profiles God’s creatures, great and small, in crisis.
9-11PM LIVE BY REQUEST STARRING PHIL COLLINS (A&E, TV-G) The soft-rocking maestro creaks open his songbook for an adoring stu-stu-studio audience.
10-11PM ER (NBC, TV-PG) Paul Freeman guest-stars as Corday’s dad, whose weighty visit leaves her in a quandary; another street-gang-comes-to-the-ER scenario results in chaos.
9-11PM* MYSTERY! (PBS, TV-14-L) Another in a long line of distinguished Mystery! sleuths is this year’s model, Touching Evil’s Dave Creegan (Robson Green, above). Part Fox Mulder, part Dirty Harry, Creegan signs on for a white-knuckled cat-and-mouse game with a steely scientist suspected in a series of deadly child abductions. Cool, creepy stuff. (Part 1 of 5.) B *CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS
FRIDAY October 2
8-9:40PM LETHAL LOLITA (True Stories, TV-14) Noelle Parker and Ed Marinaro kick off a wacky triple feature, as the obscure cable outlet airs all three 1992 TV movies chronicling the Amy Fisher-Joey Buttafuoco imbroglio. Ooh-fah! (Airs through Oct. 4.)
9-10PM BUDDY FARO (CBS, TV-PG) George Hamilton guest-stars (as himself), hiring Buddy and Bob to protect him against a death threat. Now, that’s kitsch.
9-9:30PM SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH (ABC, TV-G) Sabrina casts a spell on Val to prevent her embarrassing public bodily emissions; unfortunately, it boomerangs on our heroine, saddling her with a gas problem.
10-11PM NASH BRIDGES (CBS, TV-14- DV) Nash and Joe go undercover to find a drag queen’s wig. Think that’s weird? Try this: Ex-Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar guest-stars.
9-10PM MILLENNIUM (Fox, TV-14) With Catherine’s death having ended Frank’s marriage (woo-hoo!), it’s on to the next disaster (a mysterious plane crash) and a new partner (Klea Scott, above with Lance Henriksen)
SATURDAY October 3
4PM-MIDNIGHT FARM AID ’98 (CMT, TV-PG-L) Tinley Park’s New World Music Theatre is the site of the 11th agri-benefit, featuring Martina McBride, Hootie and the Blowfish, Wilco, and Phish, as well as founding fathers John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Willie Nelson (above). (Live.)
7-8:20PM THE JUNGLE BOOK (Disney Channel, TV-G) Parents can give their V-chips a break as Disney serves up the 1967 animated classic.
8-9PM LIFE WITH BIG CATS: TIPPI HEDREN AND SHAMBALA (Animal Planet, TV-G) Both the Year of the Tiger and World Animal Day are celebrated with this look at Hedren’s feline sanctuary, followed by Tiger Hunt: The Elusive Sumatran. Buffy’s Sarah Michelle Gellar hosts.
8-9PM EARLY EDITION (CBS, TV-G) Speaking of vampire slayers, the original filmic Buffy, Kristy Swanson, joins the EE cast as the mother of a young boy Gary’s taken to protecting.
9-10PM MARTIAL LAW (CBS, TV-14-V) Sammo’s pursuit of Lei Hei (and attempted rescue of his babelicious understudy, Chin Pei Pei) heats up when he learns of Hei’s plans to traffic a mother lode of bogus diamonds.
SUNDAY October 4
7-9PM THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY (ABC, TV-PG) Sabrina Goes to Rome finds the sassy sorceress pursuing a family heirloom that’s been cursed by a spellbinding ancestor (also played by Melissa Joan Hart).
8-10PM LEGALESE (TNT, TV-14-DS) James Garner (above) is a hoot as a coot of a devious lawyer; he gives shrewd, avuncular advice to a young novice (Edward Kerr) defending an actress (Gina Gershon) accused of murder. In a twisty-turny TV movie in which everyone has his or her own selfish motives, Kathleen Turner plays a tired stereotype — a jaded anchor of a tabloid TV show — with unfortunately matching tiredness. But Mary-Louise Parker is terrific as Garner’s wily, sexually avid assistant. Her seduction of Kerr is the scene that nails just how sharply phrased writer Billy Ray’s script is, even as Glenn Jordan’s direction keeps the occasionally obvious plot point from becoming too noticeable. B+ — KT
8-10PM NAKED CITY: JUSTICE WITH A BULLET (Showtime, TV-14) Recalling the bygone anthology of the same name, City stars Scott Glenn and Courtney B. Vance as two New York City cops; Robin Tunney, Giancarlo Esposito, and Kathryn Erbe inhabit some of the 8 million stories they encounter.
8-10PM SHOT THROUGH THE HEART (HBO, TV-MA) Linus Roache and Vincent Perez star as two Yugoslavian buddies who suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of the Bosnian conflict.
8-9PM BRAVO PROFILES (Bravo, TV-PG) David Duchovny, Julia Roberts, and Leonardo DiCaprio are some of the specimens examined in ”Celebrity,” Part 1 of Profiles’ theme week devoted to the entertainment business. (Airs through Oct. 9.)
10-11PM THE PRACTICE (ABC, TV-PG) No one plays a stuffed shirt like guest star Edward Hermann. He returns to his role as Anderson Pearson, Lindsay’s former law professor who’s now down off his high horse and in need of her help.