'SNL' gets a shot at Shannen Doherty


It's Saturday night, which means the best variety comes courtesy of cable -- although tonight's "Saturday Night Live" is a pop-culture must-see this week.

* "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" (8-9 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- The first two of CBS's Saturday series serve up noteworthy guest stars tonight. On "Dr. Quinn," the guest star is Barbara Babcock, who set aflame the early episodes of "Hill Street Blues" Grace Gardner. CBS.

* "Harts of the West" (9-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- And on "Harts," the guest star, playing an appealing man who drives a wedge between the series' starring couple (Beau Bridges, Harley Jane Kozak), is a somewhat grizzled Mark Harmon. The last time Mr. Harmon appeared on a TV series as the third corner of a romantic triangle was on "Moonlighting," where he came between Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis. CBS.

* "Saturday Night Live" (11:30 p.m.-1 a.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Shannen Doherty may be the first guest host of "Saturday Night Live" to show up for duty a week after getting married. In fact, that's so absurd, it probably can be presented as an absolute. And if the "SNL" writers don't poke fun at her image, her wedding and at "Beverly Hills, 90210," in particular, I'll give up on this show for a while. NBC.


* "Help! I'm in Your TV" (5:30-6 p.m., DIS) -- You wish.

* "Sports Illustrated For Kids Slam Dunk, Home Run, Touchdown TV Sports Quiz" (7:30-8 p.m., HBO) -- VCR alert: Tape this, because your kids will want to see it over and over again, until they memorize every fact, greet every hero and stump their friends with the arcane knowledge offered here, presented by their favorite sports heroes. Fun stuff.

* "Great Castles of Europe" (8-8:30 p.m., TLC) -- The first episode of this new Learning Channel series looks at the Chateau Chambord in France, and does a magnificent job. I'm a sucker for castles, even ones that serve hamburgers, but the images and information in this show are so compelling that even my young son became spellbound. If you're similarly inclined toward this subject, this new series is a "Castle" keep.

* "The Making of Gettysburg" (8-9 p.m., TNT) -- Pure promotion, since Ted Turner's company is behind the four-hour "Gettysburg" film that's about to be released. But, since this is about one of the biggest battles of the Civil War, I'll be civil.

* "Larry King Weekend" (9-10 p.m., CNN) -- King advances his talk-show empire to Saturday nights, and with an opening-night guest well worth listening to: Hillary Rodham Clinton, on the heels of her week testifying on the Hill.

* "Tales From the Crypt" (10-11:30 p.m., HBO) -- A triple-header season opener, stolen by Tim Curry in multiple (and equally ghoulish) roles in "Death of Some Salesmen."

David Bianculli is the author of "Teleliteracy: Taking Television Seriously."

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