03/20/1995 at 01:00 AM EST
TELEVISION IS AN ANTIC BAZAAR OF opposites. Sometimes it seems the medium is hell-bent for squalor. The latest alarming trend is home-shopping programs cravenly disguised as entertainment, shows like MTV's The Goods or USA's Uptown Shopping. (We now interrupt this commercial to bring you a word from our sponsors.) Just when you're ready to pull the plug, TV turns around and delivers something fine: for instance, the current Charles Dickens festival. (Dickens is the patron saint of TV writers; the hallmarks of his sentimental style are still widely aped by today's prime-time scribes.) After The Old Curiosity Shop on the Disney Channel this week (see review), Masterpiece Theatre will devote six weeks to adaptations of Martin Chuzzlewit and Hard Times. Yes, indeed. Television: home of the classics (with rental space available to Beavis and Butt-head).