A night of new 'Friends' and old friends

More new TV series premiere tonight. "Seinfeld" and "Mad About You" return and the dueling medical series "E.R." and "Chicago Hope" square off in earnest. Another big TV night -- made even bigger by the latest episode of "Baseball."

* "Mad About You" (8 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Channel 2) -- The third-season premiere of this sitcom has Paul and Jamie (Paul Reiser, Helen Hunt) hitting the road, and the road doing everything short of hitting back. NBC.


* "My So-Called Life" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., Channel 13) -- Another good episode, this one explores the growing generation gap between Angela (Claire Danes) and her mother (Bess Armstrong) -- and a nice resolution to a conflict over this year's mother-daughter fashion show. ABC.

* "Baseball" (8 p.m.-10:30 p.m., Channels 22 and 67) -- Inning 5 is great viewing for at least two reasons. One is its extended analysis of Babe Ruth's alleged "called shot" in the 1932 World Series, and the other is its description of the rigorous practices, and inventive strategies, employed by managers of the Negro Leagues. PBS.


* "Friends" (8:30 p.m.-9 p.m., Channel 2) -- As a bridge between "Mad About You" and "Seinfeld," this show fits the bill, mostly because of a likable cast: Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston (from Fox's "The Edge"), David Schwimmer (who played the paranoid guy in apartment 4-B on "NYPD Blue") and Lisa Kudrow -- who also happens to play the ditzy waitress on "Mad About You." The pilot establishes the characters nicely, but that's about it. NBC.

* "Seinfeld" (9 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Channel 2) -- Not available for preview, but this is one show where I don't automatically take that as a bad sign. NBC.

* "Madman of the People" (9:30 p.m.-10 p.m., Channel 2) -- Dabney Coleman plays an acerbic columnist, as he did in "The Slap Maxwell Story," and treats everyone around him rudely, as he did in the classic "Buffalo Bill." But this time he's a bit softer, and he plays a dad whose daughter is not only his intellectual equal, but his boss. Cynthia Gibb, recently seen as the titular star of "Gypsy," plays his daughter and displays enough comic timing to deserve co-starring status. NBC.

* "E.R." (10 p.m.-11 p.m., Channel 2) -- Both of these medical shows are worth watching, but . . . NBC.

* "Chicago Hope" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., Channel 11) -- . . . Tonight's "Chicago Hope" episode has some truly exceptional scenes, and appears to be finding its way rather quickly. Mandy Patinkin stars. CBS.


* "The Haunting of Seacliff Inn" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., USA) -- Ally Sheedy and William Moses star as a married couple who buy a rundown -- and haunted -- home in hopes of turning it into a bed-and-breakfast. While they're wasting away in Amityville, the ghosts take control of the electricity, peek in on and add intensity to the lovemaking, and generally harass and entice the landlords until they've gotten their daily exorcise. By U.S. standards, not bad.