The new season begins in earnest tomorrow


On The Weekend Watch:

NEW SHOWS -- A number of new series get their first airings in the coming days. Tonight, for example, brings "The Flash" (from the comics) to CBS (at 8, Channel 11) and "American Dreamer" (Robert Urich) to NBC (at 9:30, Channel 2, moving to its regular place at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday). Friday brings Burt Reynolds in "Evening Shade" to CBS (at 8 p.m.) and Heather Locklear in "Going Places" to ABC (at 9:30 p.m., Channel 13). On Sunday, the five-night "The Civil War" debuts on PBS (8 p.m., channels 22 and 67), and "Get A Life" and "Against the Law" premiere on Fox (at 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. respectively, on Channel 45).

NEW OLD SHOWS -- Series finally returning with new shows for the fall season include: tonight, "The Cosby Show," "A Different World" and "Cheers" on NBC and "Father Dowling Mysteries" on ABC; Friday, "Full House" and "Family Matters" on ABC; Saturday, "Golden Girls," "Empty Nest" and "Carol & Co." on NBC, "Young Riders" on ABC and "48 Hours" on CBS (in a new time slot); Sunday, "In Living Color" and "Married, With Children," on Fox.

FROM THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR -- Miscues from the career of the late Lucille Ball are the principal lure of another semi-regular returning show, "Super Bloopers & Practical Jokes" 8 p.m. Friday on NBC (Channel 2). Of course, the show also performs its principal function -- to plug the network lineup -- with stupid jokes involving Jere Burns of "Dear John" and Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell of "Quantum Leap."

A SUNDAY SWITCH -- A new series, "Weekend Travel Update," takes up the noon Sunday slot on Channel 13 this weekend, bumping back to 8:30 a.m. the station's urban affairs magazine show, "On Time."

MAIN-EVENT MOVIES -- If this is the first formal week of the fall season, it must also mean we are in store for one of the most irritating features of network competition: dueling movies at 9 p.m. Sunday. This time it is two made-for-TV jobs and a big theatrical hit from a few years ago. In the new movies, CBS offers Suzanne Pleshette in "Leona Helmsley: The Queen of the Mean" (subtle title, right? and NBC features Veronica Hamel and Judd Hirsch in "She Said No," a drama in which Hirsch plays against his nice-guy image as an accused rapist who subsequently sues his victim for libel. The commercial film is on ABC from 1987, "The Running Man," with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a futuristic gladiator. (If memory serves, it was a confusing, violent mess which will not be helped by commercial breaks and editing.)

THINK SNOW -- Amid a blizzard of football games, there is aearly sign of the real winter sports season airing at 3 p.m. Saturday on Channel 2: the "Pan Am Winter Games," an hour of highlights of the first recent skiing event. So where is there snow? The games were held recently in Las Lenas, Argentina, where our summer is their winter.

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