Good stuff from stem to stern


Tonight: a few premieres and the return of the Caped Crusader.

"Boatworks" (5: 30 p.m.-6 p.m., MPT, Channels 22 and 67) -- Robert Urich is host for this new 13-part series from MPT focusing on the myriad types of boats that ply the world's waterways. Tonight's kick-off looks at a classic mahogany runabout on Lake Tahoe, lifesaving boats along the Jersey coast and canoe-like vessels used to harvest wild rice in Minnesota. Boat lovers should enjoy the show, while others may find it all a little too hobby-oriented, although the segment on rice boats offers an interesting look at a vanishing culture. PBS.

"Batman Returns" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Danny DeVito is too over-the-top disgusting as The Penguin, but Michelle Pfeiffer makes one slinky, seductive and downright sinister Catwoman. The plot's not much, as Penguin and Catwoman join evil millionaire Max Schreck (Christopher Walken) in a plot to take over the city, but whenever Pfeiffer's on the screen, who cares? Plus, Michael Keaton makes a fine Batman. NBC.

"Leaving L.A." (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Is the world ready for a show about a bunch of fun-loving, wiseacre L.A. coroners? Probably not. The cracks fly fast and furious in tonight's series premiere, as ex-cop Libby (Melina Kanakaredes) learns the ropes of her new job as coroner's investigator from ex-cop Reed (Christopher Meloni). Among the other staff: a technician who talks cute to the corpses, a clerk who gets psychic readings from the possessions of the dead and a chief medical examiner whose vegetables are a little too healthy (just what's in that compost?). Beware: quirky overload. ABC.

"Early Edition" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Kathy Najimy drops by as a psychic who, knowing the real thing when she sees it, tries to enlist Gary (Kyle Chandler) and his tomorrow's-news-today newspapers as a partner. He refuses, but when it turns out she may not be the talentless con artist she thinks she is, it's Gary who asks for help. CBS.


"SF Vortex" (6: 30 p.m.-7 p.m., Sci-Fi) -- A long time ago, on a network far, far away Actually, it was only 19 years ago, on ABC, that the exploits of Commander Adama and his crew, as they desperately searched for Earth, hit the airwaves as "Battlestar Galactica." Was it an accident the space adventurers showed up on TV hot on the heels of "Star Wars"? Not according to the film's producers, who sued ABC. So, was it a rip-off? "Galactica" stars Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict and Anne Lockhart and creator/producer Glen Larson try to provide some answers.

"Biography" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., repeats midnight-1 a.m., A&E;) -- "Biography" celebrates 10 years on the air by spending an hour detailing the life of series host Peter Graves, focusing mainly on his stint as head of the "Mission: Impossible" team and his stereotype-twisting star turn as the pilot in the movie "Airplane!"

Pub Date: 4/12/97

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