Two bad movies make it a long night


Tonight's schedule includes two new television movies, each of which fails for a different reason.

* "I'll Fly Away" (8-9 p.m., WETA, Channel 26) -- Forrest (Sam Waterston) retreats to a forest for a weekend fishing trip. PBS.

* "Ghost Mom" (8-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Dave Thomas of "SCTV," and now of "Grace Under Fire," directed and co-wrote this comedy-drama fantasy, in which Jean Stapleton plays a meddling mom who remains meddling after she dies. Geraint Wyn Davies, who played a member of the undead on TV's "Forever Knight," plays a normal mortal here, the guy whose mother constantly hovers about. He plays the comic elements a bit too broadly, but Ms. Stapleton has fun with her part, and Shae D'Lyn, as an Irish housekeeper, walks off with top honors with a look and style similar to Nicole Kidman's. Even so, "Ghost Mom" is too uneven to be considered a success. Fox.

* "Dave's World" (8:30-9 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- The real Dave Barry, the writer on whom this series is loosely based, has a small role on tonight's show and jams with his TV counterpart, Harry Anderson, in a closing-credits rendition of "Wild Thing." CBS.

* "House of Secrets" (9-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- A modern Cajun reworking of "Diabolique," this television movie stars the suddenly ubiquitous Melissa Gilbert in a drama that wasn't made for The USA Network but may as well have been. It's that bad and clunky. Bruce Boxleitner, as her lout of a husband, gets to act bad and badly at the same time. Kate Vernon plays the other woman who plots with Ms. Gilbert's character to kill the husband, who won't stay dead, and Cicely Tyson cashes a quick paycheck as a woman who suspects voodoo. I ask NBC: Who do the voodoo that you do so poorly? NBC.

* "Murphy Brown" (9-9:30 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- It had to happen: Murphy (Candice Bergen) gets in the middle of a story involving a high-priced madam and her prostitution ring. CBS.

* "Northern Exposure" (10-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Joel's parents come to town, played by Joanna Merlin and David Margulies. Rob Morrow stars. CBS.


* "Other Women's Children" (9-11 p.m., LIF) -- What are the odds? Geraint Wyn Davies, the star of "Ghost Mom," stars in this competing 1993 television movie as well.

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