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People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- April 23, 1990
- Vol. 33
- No. 16
Picks and Pans Main: Tube
NBC (Wed., April 18, 10 P.M. ET)
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld acts as spokesman for the humor magazine in a mock-scientific—actually a mock-everything—look at the phenomenon of celebrity. It begins funny with such gambits as a lab experiment that uses an overhead camera to record what happens to a roomful of tourists when Ricardo Montalban enters the environment. But before the hour is over, the jokes have become tiresome and even cruel. The barbed, satirical tone does make this a unique proposition, a reminder of how bland and inoffensive most tube wit is.
NBC (Thursdays, 9:30 P.M. ET)
In a funny new sitcom, two brothers run a fly-by-the-seat-of-its-pants commuter airline on Nantucket. Timothy (Almost Grown) Daly is the eagle scout, Steven (The Kennedys of Massachusetts) Weber the wild seed. The Cheers background of creators David Angell, David Lee and Peter Casey is evident in the rapid-fire humor—the quips go off like a string of firecrackers—and the cracked auxiliary ensemble.
Crystal (It's a Living) Bernard is once again playing a waitress, this time at the luncheonette counter in the tiny airport lobby. She's also the referee in the perpetual fraternal fracas.
There's one intrinsic problem. Daly and Weber are so physically similar that instead of playing off each other, they inadvertently compete for laughs. Happily, there's an abundance to spare.
CBS (Fridays, 9:30 P.M. ET)
Here's prime time's other new mismatched sibling sitcom. This one's a stinker. Two sisters in a small Oklahoma town are bringing up their niece (LaVerne Anderson). Vickilyn Reynolds is the pious sis, Loretta Devine the lusty one.
The show is brain-dead, badly written and extravagantly overplayed, especially by Dana Hill as the niece's pal. But it does have the season's most fascinating character. Leslie Jordan plays a tart Okie who calls himself Monsieur Jacques. Looking like Toulouse-Lautrec with a pompadour and sounding like Richard Simmons, this would-be French small fry is a true grotesque. When he pops onto the screen, you can't take your eyes off him.
Showtime (Sat., April 21, 10 P.M. ET)
Most pop-music stars live around L.A. anyway, but once a year all the rest of the chartbusters descend on the town for the Grammies. The night after this year's ceremony, Showtime took advantage of the annual convocation to film this all-star edition of its music series.
Hitting the stage at the China Club are Michael Bolton, Lou Reed, Sting, Rickie Lee Jones and amateurs like Michael J. Fox, Michael Keaton and Woody Harrelson. Usually these kinds of gatherings are disappointing, but this time the jams are tight, especially B.B. King singing "Everyday I Have the Blues," backed up by Bonnie Raitt on slide guitar and Bruce Hornsby tearing it up on a version of "The Mighty Quinn" that sounds like it was left over from Leon Russell's great Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour.
NBC (Saturdays, 10:30 P.M. ET)
In her first TV series, Judith Ivey is a Manhattan corporate type who returns to the backwater Texas Gulf Coast town she grew up in. This sitcom is poison for Ivey. It's harsh, clangorous and, most unforgivable, totally unamusing. (The only decent character is Timothy Scott's airhead mayor.) Instead of being colorful, the redneck setting is condescendingly handled. The trendy sitcom formula of subtle satire fails here. Even when Down Home is operating at full speed, it plays no better than the worst episode of Coach.
HBO (Sun., April 22, 10 P.M. ET)
John Hurt stars in a docudrama as a writer and parliamentary candidate reexamining the 1974 IRA bombings of two Birmingham pubs that killed 21 people. A half-dozen Irishmen, the so-called Birmingham Six, were sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with the bombing, and after extensive interviews Hurt reaches the conclusion that the wrong men were prosecuted.
This program created a great furor when it aired in Britain last month because it goes so far as to accuse by name four other men of being the culprits. It's a well-constructed conspiracy film, but rather hard to follow at times because the events aren't as infamously familiar here as they are in Britain, and the accents are often thick.
USA (Tues., April 24, 9 P.M. ET)
Four men are bilked big-time by a devious financier (Ed Asner). Led by a Yank math professor (Ed Begley Jr.) at Oxford, they execute an elaborate series of sting operations to reclaim their lucre. Brian Protheroe, Nicholas Jones, Francois Eric Gendron and Maryam d'Abo co-star in this two-part British production, which concludes at the same time the following night.
While classy looking and diverting, it's not as clever as the cast seems to think it is. Acting out a Jeffrey Archer novel, lady and gentlemen, doesn't warrant Shavian superciliousness.
>What do you do when you're an old TV series whose biggest stars (Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal) have gotten too big for a TV movie reunion? When you're 1977's Murder in Peyton Place (TBS, Mon., April 23, 2:05 A.M. ET), you kill off their characters and bring back everyone else (Ed Nelson, Dorothy Malone, Tim O'Connor) to look into their deaths. Peyton Place was Dallas's daddy, Dynasty's ancestor, the first and arguably the most popular nighttime soap: For most of its run, it aired twice a week and, at one point in 1965, the show actually appeared three evenings a week.
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