AS THE O.J. SHOW LUMBERS TOWARD ITS final episode, courtroom junkies may be wondering how to score a quick postverdict fix. For immediate relief, check out ABC's riveting trial drama Murder One (see review, page 18). If real-life litigators are your thing, watch Burden of Proof, a daily legal-affairs show starring CNN analysts Greta Van Susteren and Roger Cossack, scheduled to start as soon as the Simpson jury begins deliberating. Thinking further ahead, O.J. attorneys Barry Scheck and Peter Neufield, the pit bulls of the Dream Team, approached Paramount with a show concept based on the law school course they teach in New York City. The studio has already pitched the show to CBS; no word yet.

In the meantime, look forward to a tidal wave of trialmania as the jury begins deliberations. After final arguments, Rivera Live, the O.J.-obsessed CNBC program, will expand to 90 minutes for at least two nights so that Gerry Spence (who has also scored his own CNBC show in the O.J. wake) and a panel of prosecutors can retry the case (hopefully without all those time-consuming sidebars). On the day of the verdict, all the networks will preempt regular programming for saturation coverage (and soaring ad rates). Crime itself may not pay, but the TV rights are obviously worth a fortune.

USA (Wed., Sept. 27, 9 p.m. ET)

B+

In a mansion on a hill, the police find the mutilated bodies of a millionaire and his wife. Their 16-year-old daughter is rampaging around the crime scene, even attacking the cops. The girl {Full House's Candace Cameron, virtually unrecognizable in a punky Drew Barrymore look) soon slips into a catatonic state, which her psychiatrist (Mel Harris) sets about trying to crack. But sinister forces are stalking Harris, trying to scare her off the case. This is a taut mystery right up until its disappointingly pat ending.

Fox (Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. ET)

C

Four good-looking young people, based in Miami, work together as flight attendants for Regency, an airline so pitiful that its 747s crash into each other while taxiing on the tarmac. The stereotyped cast includes the skirt chaser (Charles Esten), the gay man (David Burke), the sassy in-your-face black girl (Rose Jackson) and the perky blond from Utah (Kristin Bauer). Christine Estabrook costars as their supervisor; Lane Davies, as a pilot; and Dondré T Whitfield, as a bartender. This show is a junk-culture nightmare, full of gags about American Gladiators and Def Comedy Jam. Fasten your seat belt. The only class available on this turbulent passage is steerage.

NBC (Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. ET)

B

Marriage is like a cult in this amusing sitcom. Its mesmerized members will do anything to convert the vulnerable. As the only unmarried guy in his circle, Jonathan Silverman (Weekend at Bernie's) is surrounded by paired-off proselytizers. In the pilot, his friends fix him up with a TIME editor (Olivia d'Abo), an outrageous name-dropper with a glass-shattering laugh.

The show has a sophisticated sense of humor that suits Silverman's talents. But he is surrounded by an anemic cast, including Jessica Hecht (Ross's ex-wife's lesbian lover on Friends) and Ming-Na Wen (Deb on ER). The odd man out is Ernest Borgnine as the chummy doorman. Call it a hunch, but I have a feeling this show may do well, especially because it is sandwiched between Friends and Seinfeld.

ABC (Tues., Oct. 3, 10 p.m. ET)

A

The season's only outstanding show, this drama tracks the case of a beautiful blond teenager who is found strangled, bound and naked in a drug-filled Hollywood penthouse. The gleaming cynosure is Daniel Benzali as a top L.A. lawyer. With his cold eyes and his shaved head, Benzali has screen voltage reminiscent of Yul Brynner's.

Among the early suspects are Stanley Tucci as a secretive philanthropist and Jason Gedrick as an arrogant, debauched movie star. The strong cast also includes John Fleck as Benzali's administrative assistant.

The real-life parallels to the O.J. trial are obvious. As Benzali's wife (Patricia Clarkson) gripes, "A case like this with all the theatrics and media hoopla...it's not about getting to the truth. It's show business." This fascinating criminal pageant is a natural synthesis of creator Steven Bochco's previous hits L.A. Law and NYPD Blue. Stylish and well-acted, this is the rare show in which commercials hit with a jolt, awakening you from the program's potent spell.

The series is told in the novelistic style, with episodes as numbered chapters. This approach demands an unusual commitment from viewers. Miss a week, and you could lose the thread of the unfolding mystery. That's a big gamble, especially when the competition is ER. (In another week Murder One will assume its regular time slot: Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET) But with a compelling show like Murder One, it's a risk worth taking.

NBC (Saturdays, 8 p.m. ET)

C+

In a mystery series with a military backdrop, David James Elliott plays a Navy lawyer in the office of the Judge Advocate General (hence the title). He has virtually unlimited powers to investigate criminal and legal matters involving the Navy. As a result, his presence on any base or ship is usually met with hostility, which makes for a lot of chin-to-chin confrontations.

Elliott looks like a cross between Rick Springfield and a young Chad Everett. The action sequences are well-executed, but once our pilots have bombed Bosnia in last week's debut, the prospects for combat situations dry up. By this week's second episode, a techno-terrorist (the egregiously hammy Ryan Hurst) is threatening to blow up a cruise ship with a computer-guided torpedo. Send in the lawyers! This is an old scow of a series, hefty and handsome but listing toward tedium.

ABC (Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. ET)

D

An uptight single mother (Marie Osmond) is beset with unsolicited advice on how to run her life from her earthy mom (Betty White) and her annoying kid (Ashley Johnson). One of TV's true greats, White is saddled with one of prime time's most grotesque clichés: the glandular grandma. The PIN code for this merry widow's bankcard is 13524, which is the order in which she ranks her husbands for satisfaction in the sack. Osmond gives the stiffest sitcom performance since Pain Dawber on Mork & Mindy. But the show's stale humor certainly doesn't help.

Fox (Sundays, 8:30 p.m. ET)

B

Like so many other characters in network sitcoms, Eric and Donny live in a sprawling Manhattan apartment and have glamorous careers (Eric is a novelist, and Donny is a fine-arts photographer). The difference is that these guys can afford the rent on the apartment only because they sublet a room to a corrosively bitter woman (Mindy Seeger). As for their artistic accomplishments, well, they've never actually done anything. They're stuck in the "germinating" stage. To support, themselves, Eric and Donny work in the mail room of a big corporation.

As played by Eric Schaeffer and Donal Lardner Ward, the team that wrote, directed and starred in the 1994 film My Life's in Turnaround, these slackers are deliriously quirky. When they are accidentally elevated into the executive ranks, Donny gets indignant with the boss: "We demand to be demoted back to the mail room, effective immediately." To which Eric adds, "And have this promotion struck from our record." Although Too Something putters along with a limiting concept, the two lugs are oddly likable.

CBS (Sundays, 8:30 p.m. ET)

B+

In the season's most promising comedy, Nancy Travis and Kevin Kilner play a pair of '90s workaholics who are strongly attracted to each other. He's a district attorney for the Los Angeles major-crimes unit. She's a self-described "brainy, successful Hollywood writer," newly promoted to executive producer for a hit cop show, Blue Justice. Consumed by their professions, these two just don't have time for a decent affair. They barely get through the obligatory banter before one of their beepers goes off.

Almost Perfect is almost stolen by David Clennon (who executed a similar swipe on thirty something as Machiavellian adman Miles Drentell). Here he plays one of the Blue Justice writers, an enigma with a twisted mind and a preoccupied manner. The writing is rich, a deft mix of romantic comedy and showbiz send-up.

>TUBE: The Crew barely takes oft: Murder One wins its case; a new crop of talk shows hits the airwaves

SCREEN: Denzel Washington glitters as a private eye in Devil in a Blu Dress; Robert Duvall is a wildcatter in The Stars Fell on Henrietta 22

SONG: The once and future Prince has his best release in years; Lisa Loeh tries to prove her staying power 25

PAGES: Biographers showcase P.T. Barnum and dig up dirt on the Leakey dynasty; Roderick Thorpe fictionalizes the Green River killings 30

BYTES: Play prosecutor with In the First Degree; alternative music finds a home at The Crash Site 43

>LOOK WHO'S TALKING

IF YOUTH IS WASTED ON THE YOUNG, SO, very often, are nationally syndicated talk shows. Not everyone in the latest batch of TV chat hosts is a kid anymore, but the shows seem more juvenile than ever. Here's a rundown:

Carnie She empathizes like Ricki; she hugs like Rolonda. She's Carnie Wilson, 27, daughter of Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson and one-third of the singing group Wilson Phillips. On her first show, she wailed, "I really do care! I really, really care!" We know! We know! On one show, about hurtful gossip, Carnie hustled up onto the stage to comfort a panelist. "I have been in the public eye my whole life," she confessed. "I am here, and it's going to be all right." (I'm feeling better already.) Carnie wades right into the emotional maelstrom, stroking the distraught guests. If she is going to get so close to active weepers, then she should rethink that satin wardrobe.

Danny! Who says there are no second acts in American lives? This show stars Danny Bonaduce, 36, the former child star of The Partridge Family who stumbled into drug and sex scandals. His métier: frank talk and game show antics. Unfortunately, the production is so cheap that every time the audience claps, it sounds like a stampede. Bonaduce is certainly not embarrassed to ask anything. He quizzed Beverly Heard, the teen who brought down Rep. Mel Reynolds, about lesbianism and threesomes. His refreshing lack of sanctimony sets him apart from the herd.

Gabrielle

Former Beverly Hills, 90210 actress Gabrielle Carteris, 34, brings a relaxed approach to such standard talk show fare as why women go for bad boys and surgical body sculpting. The show has bounce and vitality, helped along by daytime's rowdiest audience. Carteris's smooth manner—like a younger, unpretentious Sally Jessy Raphaël—gives this show the best chance of succeeding.

The George & Alana Show The ex-Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton are introduced as "a couple celebrating their 17th year of estrangement." (Actually it's 19, but who's counting.) It's an empty hour of happy talk and B-list celebs (Alan Thicke, David Hasselhoff). George, 56, and Alana, 48, treat each other with a practiced air of exasperation. Imagine, if you can, a less substantive Live with Regis & Kathie Lee.

Lauren Hutton and... The model and Central Park West star tries a one-on-one interview show with guests from showbiz (Kathleen Turner) to science (oceanographer Sylvia Earle). The wrinkle is the show's flashy style. Hutton, 51, and her guest sit across from each other at a table surrounded by mirrors and monitors. The camera shifts between people, their reflections and their black-and-white guest format.

Tempestt Tempestt Bledsoe, the former Cosby Show cutie, is all grown up at 22. Though she's the youngest host on the air, her show, which alternates between serious and frivolous topics, has a relatively mature, sedate tone. She brings enthusiasm to the job, but also a high-pitched voice with a rising inflection that makes every statement sound like a question.

Mark Walberg This obscure former comedian should be sent to a remedial course on talk show hosting. He has not mastered the fundamentals, like extending the microphone to audience members. As his panelists pour out their tales, Walberg, 32, keeps exclaiming, "Wow!" Judging by his woebegone guests, I suspect his talent bookers moonlight as parole officers.