Two cable movies top tonight's lineup


On broadcast TV, the only good fresh offerings come at the final hour of prime time, when two of TV's best shows go up against each another, as usual. Also "as usual" on Friday nights: There's a lot of action on cable.

* "The X-Files" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., Channel 45) -- This repeat of "The X-Files" is notable, in retrospect, for two lingering subtexts. One is that the conclusion of this episode -- about people in a small town beginning to act violently for no apparent reason -- is sufficiently open-ended to suggest that the story line may be revisited. The other noteworthy aspect of this episode is that the primary guest star, the woman who goes crazy in the gas station, is played, and played very well, by Ashlyn Gere, in her first mainstream, as in non-porno, featured role. Fox.

* "Homicide: Life on the Street" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., Channel 11) -- Tonight, finally, the bar is open for business -- but that's only one plot in an episode with a lot more serious things on its agenda. NBC.

* "Picket Fences" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., Channel 13) -- Cristine Rose, as the ex-wife of Jimmy Brock (Tom Skerritt), makes another appearance -- and, as usual, causes a fuss. CBS.


* "Shadowlands" (8 p.m.-10:15 p.m., MAX) -- Debra Winger and Anthony Hopkins charm each other, and the audience, in this story of author C. S. Lewis and his late-in-life, unexpected infatuation with an American "fan." The romance is touching, the dialogue sharp and often very funny -- and the acting in this 1993 drama is unflaggingly excellent.

* "Dennis Miller Live" (10 p.m.-10:30 p.m., HBO) -- In promos for tonight's show, his second-season finale, Mr. Miller announces the name of guest Sharon Stone, then smiles and says, "You're gonna watch now, aren't you?" Hey -- I've been watching all along. But he's right: This conversation is not one to be missed.

* "Red Rock West" (2:05 a.m.-3:45 a.m., MAX) -- Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper and Lara Flynn Boyle star in this 1993 film noir drama from writer-director John Dahl. Like his subsequent effort, "The Last Seduction" with Linda Fiorentino, "Red Rock West" was shown first on cable before being released to theaters. Some good plot twists here, and Mr. Hopper's hit-man character is the best acting he's done lately without holding a sneaker.

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