Fall TV preview Your guide to the '97-'98 season, including TV critic David Zurawik's look at the new shows.

Because of an editing error in the Sunday Arts section, the new television series "Good News" on UPN was designated as being recommended by Sun Television Critic David Zurawik. It is not recommended.

The Sun regrets the error.





"The Wonderful World of Disney." 7 p.m., ABC. The not-so-wonderful world of corporate synergy, with Disney using its television network to show Disney-owned films, like 'em or not. And to make matters worse, we have to put up with Disney Chairman Michael Eisner as host. (New show, premiere date Sept. 28)

"Jenny." 8:30 p.m., NBC. Jenny McCarthy and Heather Paige Kent leave Utica, N.Y., for the bright lights of Los Angeles, where they are supposed to be a Laverne and Shirley for the '90s. McCarthy and Kent make Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall look like the Redgrave sisters. (New show, premiere date Sept. 28)

"The Tom Show." 9 p.m., WB. Tom Arnold as the ex-husband of a famous network anchorwoman who must come crawling back to a little television station in St. Paul where he once worked after she dumps him. He's a single dad. There's not a single laugh in the pilot. (New show, premiere date Sept. 7)

"Alright Already." 9:30 p.m., WB. Carol Leifer, who wrote for "Seinfeld," tries to create a female version of "Seinfeld" with herself in the lead. Some amusing moments, but Leifer's no Seinfeld, and the parent-bashing gets old real, real fast. (New show, premiere date Sept. 7)


"Timecop." 8 p.m., ABC. Time cops are cops who police the time continuum, mostly for criminals who are trying to change the course of history. T.W. King plays the timecop in this drama based on the feature film of the same title. Not available for preview. (New show, premiere date Sept. 30)

* "Ally McBeal." 9 p.m., Fox. David E. Kelley, of "Picket Fences" fame, created this drama that takes us literally inside the head of a young female lawyer (Calista Flockhart). The pilot's uneven, but it has flashes of brilliance and a knockout soundtrack (Vonda Shepard). Maybe the most important thing to know is that Courtney Thorne-Smith co-stars in this series that follows "Melrose Place," Thorne-Smith's former home in TV Land. (New show, premiere date Sept. 8)

* "Good News." 9 p.m., UPN. A sitcom about a young preacher taking over a new congregation in the inner city. In terms of ethnic images, it's back to the days of "Sanford & Son" with this one. (New show, premiere date Aug. 25)


* "George and Leo." 9:30 p.m., CBS. Bob Newhart and Judd Hirsch as an odd couple of father-in-laws. The pilot is a wobbly one without much chemistry between the two, but who wants to sell these two short? Worth at least one tune-in. (New show, premiere date Sept. 15)

* "Brooklyn South." 10 p.m., CBS. This is the one not to miss. "Hill Street Blues" plus "NYPD Blue" equals "Brooklyn South." Great writing, superb direction and socially relevant subject matter from Steven Bochco, the undisputed king of cop drama. It's Brooklyn as the American frontier, with cops as the cavalry. (New show, premiere date Sept. 15)


"Dawson's Creek." 8 p.m., WB. Drama with 15-year-olds thinking about sex, talking about sex and having sex. (New show, premiere date TBA, December)

* "Over The Top." 8:30 p.m., ABC. Annie Potts and Tim Curry star in this sitcom about a couple of exes who find themselves back together when he loses his job and turns up at the small Manhattan hotel she owns. Not available for preview. (New show, premiere date Oct. 21)

* "Michael Hayes." 9 p.m., CBS. If you loved David Caruso as an angst-ridden detective in "NYPD Blue" (and who didn't?), you will at least like him here as an angst-ridden prosecuting attorney in New York. Along with "Brooklyn South," the hottest new pilot in the pack. But what a vicious time period opposite "Home Improvement" and "Frasier." (New show, premiere date Sept. 15)


"Three." 9 p.m., WB. Drama about a jewel thief, a martial arts master and an electronics wizard. Not available for preview. (New show, premiere date TBA, December)

"Hitz." 9 p.m., UPN. Andrew (Dice) Clay returns in this sitcom as a sleazy record company executive. A new low for UPN. (New show, premiere date Aug. 26)

"Head Over Heels." 9:30 p.m., UPN. One brother's a "ladies' man," while the other's a nerd. They run a dating service in Miami that's owned by their mother. Mom likes to talk about the great sex she's having with her trainer. The only thing that makes this sitcom less repulsive and idiotic than "Hitz" is Clay's misogyny. (New show, premiere date Aug. 26)

"Hiller and Diller." 9:30 p.m., ABC. Kevin Nealon and Richard Lewis play a comedy writing team in this sitcom from the famous comedy writing team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel ("City Slickers"). Some very funny moments. Promising, but no sure thing. (New show, premiere date Sept. 23)

"Dellaventura." 10 p.m., CBS. Danny Aiello as a free-lance, East Coast version of "Walker, Texas Ranger." You got a bad guy giving you trouble, you call Dellaventura, and, boom, the bad guy's sleeping with the fishes. This series will be sleeping with the fishes soon. (New show, premiere date Sept. 23)



"Dharma & Greg." 8:30 p.m., ABC. Another odd couple. She's the wacky, free-spirited daughter of hippies. He's the straight-laced lawyer son of uptight, affluent WASPs. Best thing about this sitcom is its lead-in: "Spin City." (New show, premiere date Sept. 24)

"The Tony Danza Show." 8 p.m., NBC. Tony's a single dad with two daughters in this one. Time for Tony to come up with a new premise. Will drag down the whole night for the network. (New show, premiere date Sept. 24)

"Built To Last." 8:30 p.m., NBC. Loud sitcom about a young man who gives up corporate dreams to run his family's business. Why do the networks think black, family sitcoms have to be loud? No names, no laughs, no future. Headed down the drain with Danza. (New show, premiere date Sept. 24)

"Public Eye With Bryant Gumbel." 9 p.m., CBS. The new CBS newsmagazine with the big-ticket host. Correspondents include MTV's Alison Stewart and NPR's Derek McGinty. (New show, premiere date Oct. 1)

"Working." 9:30 p.m., NBC. And making it a perfectly awful night of new sitcoms on NBC, I give you "Working." Fred Savage comes of age as a young corporate executive in this mindless workplace sitcom. Even a lead-in from "3rd Rock" won't save it. (New show, premiere date Oct. 8)



"Nothing Sacred." 8 p.m., ABC. The one new series on ABC that has piqued any interest. In this case, it is from some members of the Roman Catholic Church who consider this drama about a priest worth banning. Believe me, it's not that good. (New show, premiere date Sept. 18)

"Union Square." 8:30 p.m., NBC. Sitcom about a New York City diner called Union Square where wannabe actors, actresses and writers gather, nosh and commiserate. Wants to be "Cheers" without the beers. Constant references to body parts and bodily functions make "Cheers" seem like the House of Lords by comparison. But, oh, what a time period between "Friends" and "Seinfeld." (New show, premiere date Sept. 25)

"Between Brothers." 8:30 p.m., Fox. Another buddy comedy from Fox. This one follows the lives of "four, single, fun-loving guys." Aren't they all "fun-loving guys" on Fox? (New show, premiere DTC date Sept. 11)

"Cracker." 9 p.m., ABC. If you never saw the British original on A&E; with Robbie Coltrane, you might like this drama about a police psychologist played by Robert Pastorelli. If you were a fan of the original, this low-rent knockoff will make you ill. (New show, premiere date Sept. 20)

* "413 Hope Street." 9 p.m., Fox. Damon Wayans produced this drama about an inner-city community center. Richard Roundtree Shaft") is the director, and his performance alone would be reason enough to watch. Best effort ever from Fox in quality drama. (New show, premiere date Sept. 11)

* "Veronica's Closet." 9:30 p.m., NBC. Talk about time periods. This sitcom starring Kirstie Alley runs between "Seinfeld" and "ER," making it the one show the ad agencies guarantee will be a hit. Alley is an ex-model who runs a successful lingerie company and a disastrous love life. Your feelings toward Alley will dictate what you think about this show. (New show, premiere date Sept. 25)



* "Players." 8 p.m., NBC. Ice-T ("New Jack City") is one of three cons who work off their prison time running stings and pulling scams on crooks for the FBI. From Dick Wolf ("Law & Order"), so it's much better than you might think. Ice-T has a future on TV. (New show, premiere date Oct. 17)

"The Visitor." 8 p.m., Fox. A World War II pilot is abducted by aliens and returns 40 years later only to be hunted by government officials. Chris Corbett ("Northern Exposure") is the alien in this cross between "Phenomenon" and "The Fugitive." Considerable promise. (New show, premiere date Sept. 19)

* "Meego." 8:30 p.m., CBS. Bronson Pinchot as an alien who crash-lands with a suburban family and winds up being the nanny to three kids. Think Cousin Balki does Mary Poppins as ALF. OK, nothing will ever be as cool or meaningful as ALF, but I love happy, alien, kids' shows - the goofier the better. Na-noo, na-noo. I rate it a solid three drazzblatts. (New show, premiere date Sept. 19)

"You Wish." 8 p.m., ABC. ABC wishes it could find a way back to the glory years of TGIF. Not with this sorry excuse for a sitcom about a mom who finds a genie in a second-hand rug. (New show, premiere date Sept. 26)

"Teen Angel." 8:30 p.m., ABC. A 15-year-old's friend dies and then comes back to earth as his guardian angel. Not available for preview. (New show, premiere date Sept. 26)


* "The Gregory Hines Show." 9 p.m., CBS. This is the sleeper of all new sitcoms this fall. Gregory Hines is terrific as a single dad to a 12-year-old boy. Don't miss it. (New show, premiere date Sept. 15)


"C16-FBI." 8 p.m., ABC. Eric Roberts stars in this drama about an elite unit of the FBI. Roberts isn't enough. (New show, premiere date Sept. 27)

"Total Security." 9 p.m., ABC. Jim Belushi stars in this drama about about an elite team of security experts. John Belushi wouldn't be enough to save this series. (New show, premiere date Sept. 27)

"Sleepwalkers." 9 p.m., NBC. Bruce Greenwood stars in this "thrillogy" drama about researchers who study sleep and dreams at the Morpheus Institute (where else?). Yawn. (New show, premiere date Nov. 1)

Pub Date: 9/14/97

For the record