The jury is still out on 'L.A. Law'


On The Weekend Watch:

THE LEGAL GAME -- Last week's much-ballyhooed episode of "L.A. Law" that climaxed with a shooting was a bust, ridiculous and overplayed. Maybe creator Steven Bochco's own script (with David Milch) can bring the series back to its old almost-believable appeal tonight (10 p.m., Channel 2). The focus is on Benny (Larry Drake), Becker (Corbin Bernson) and Brackman (Richard Dysart).

THE POLITICAL GAME -- NBC News commentator John Chancellor is the host on Friday of "Campaigning for the Presidency." The PBS symposium (at 9, Maryland Public Television) features eight former strategists for presidential election campaigns discussing what will be required to win in 1992, from both the Democrat and Republican perspectives.

THE SERIES GAME -- CBS is trotting out a new mid-season series on Friday which sounds like a cross between the recent Tom Hanks movie "Turner & Hooch" and the old Jackie Cooper series "The People's Choice." The new show is "Tequila and Bonetti" (at 9 p.m., Channel 11) and Jack Scalia is the former, a tough New York cop who comes to southern California to be teamed with an aggressive canine partner, a mastiff named Tequila. And just like basset Cleo in the 1955-58 "People's Choice," the animal talks -- but only to the home audience.

THE GAMES GAME -- A couple of sports programs are worthy of note in the coming days. On Friday on cable's HTS service (9 p.m.), for example, starved local fans get a rare tube appearance by the Baltimore Blast, with the Dallas Sidekicks from Dallas. On Saturday on NBC (1 p.m., Channel 2), the "National Hockey League All-Star Game" gives the rink game its only annual network coverage. And on Sunday on CBS, commentator John Madden fills the pregnant pause before the following week's Super Bowl coverage with his annual "All-Madden Team" show (5 p.m., Channel 11).

THE AWARDS GAME -- Held by many in Hollywood to provide a preview of likely contenders for the Academy Awards in the spring, as well as TV's Emmys in the fall, the 49th annual "Golden Globe Awards" can be seen at 10 p.m. Saturday on cable's TBS. "Bugsy" is up for eight trophies in the awards, coming live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

THE TELETHON GAME -- The 14th annual fund-raising effort for United Cerebral Palsy, "Star-a-Thon '92," begins a 20 1/2 -hour run at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on Channel 13. Local anchors are Richard Sher, Sandra Pinckney and Rhea Feikin.

THE DRUG GAME -- Towson State University graduate John Glover is one of the stars of "Drug Wars: The Cocaine Cartel," a four-hour miniseries on NBC Sunday (9 p.m., Channel 2), also staring Alex McArthur and Dennis Farina. Based on true events, the two-parter is also a sequel to last season's miniseries, "Drug Wars: The Camarena Story."

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