Weird Tv Science New Season Offerings Sometimes Look Like They've Had Their Genes Spliced

Posted: August 24, 1990

Once upon a time, television shows came in two categories: comedy and drama.

Of course, in the '90s, things are a lot more complicated. The network laboratories have spent the last year brewing various hybrids and mutant strains of the standard comedies and dramas.

To help you find what you like in the mass of new programming planned for fall, we put on our white lab coats and identified some new categories. The technical name for these categories is "trends." Since there are mostly re- runs on TV this weekend, you can take all the time you need to study up on the fall schedule. Here are the most common trends you'll see.

PO' FOLKS MOVE TO

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Two shows on the fall schedule feature regular folks who have trouble adjusting to great wealth - an unlikely premise.

"The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" (NBC, Mondays 8 p.m.) features local rapper Will Smith, a.k.a. the Fresh Prince, as a West Philly boy who gets sent to live with his rich relatives.

"Class of Beverly Hills" (Fox, Thursdays 9 p.m.) is about an "average Midwestern family" that finds itself . . . well, down the street from the Fresh Prince's place.

These are easy stories for Los Angeles-based TV producers, most of whom grew up in New Jersey and probably think their own adjustment to the plush West Coast lifestyle was so endlessly fascinating that everybody would like to see a TV show about it.

'THOSE CRAZY (INSERT

ETHNIC/RACIAL GROUP OF

YOUR CHOICE HERE)!'

"Lenny" (CBS, Wednesdays 8 p.m.) is about Lenny Callahan, an occasionally unemployed Boston Irishman whose wife dotes on him and whose dad is, of course, pugnacious. But with a heart of gold.

"The Fannelli Boys" (NBC, Wednesdays, 9 p.m.) is about four young men who move home to mama's place in Brooklyn. The working members of the family are represented by a priest and an undertaker. And yes, they eat spaghetti every night.

"True Colors" (Fox, Sundays 7 p.m.) is about a black dentist who marries a white kindergarten teacher. Nancy Walker, who's built a career playing the Jewish Mother-in-Law, will co-star as the White Mother-in-Law.

ADOLESCENTS WHO NEED A

TASTE OF THE REAL WORLD

"Ferris Bueller" (NBC, Mondays 8:30 p.m.) is a 16-year-old computer wizard who has an endless supply of cash and wreaks havoc at high school without once being nabbed for detention. There's no explanation of how he works these wonders.

"Parker Lewis Can't Lose" (Fox, Sundays 7:30 p.m.) is Fox's version of the same show.

At "Hull High" (NBC, Sundays 7 p.m.) the hip students sport $50 haircuts and thousand-dollar wardrobes. The nerds have $50 haircuts but wear short- sleeve shirts.

YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN A

SONG WILL BREAK OUT

"Cop Rock" (ABC, Wednesdays, 10 p.m.) will be one of the fall's most controversial shows. It's a gritty police drama, produced by Steven Bochco, creator of "Hill Street Blues." Now imagine Sgt. Jablonski bursting into ''The September Song," instead of saying "Let's do it to them before they do it to you." Weird.

The musical interludes in "Hull High" (NBC, Sundays 7 p.m.) are less jarring. In the pilot, a student's fantasy turns into an MTV extravaganza with dancing girls and his comely English teacher singing about figures of speech. ''Figure" being the key word here.

HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?

Having blazed new trails into grossness with "Married . . . with Children," Fox goes one step beyond with "Babes" (Fox, Thursdays 8:30 p.m.), about three fat sisters who live together and make fat jokes. Stop, you're killing me.

CBS (Mondays 8 p.m.), not wanting of be accused of taste or anything, launches its new season with the words "You suck!" - from the mouth of a six-year-old - on "Uncle Buck."

SO MUCH FOR ZERO

POPULATION GROWTH

You thought "Twin Peaks" was complicated? The extended families in "Son and Daughters" (CBS, Thurdays 9 p.m.) and "Parenthood" (NBC, Saturdays 8 p.m.) feature, between them, oh, 500 small children, and maybe . . . 150 surly

adolescents. Good luck keeping track.

'THE COURTSHIP OF

EDDIE'S FATHER' PART II

On the other hand, if you average in all the TV families with only one parent, maybe families are actually getting smaller.

"Baby Talk" (ABC, Tuesdays 8:30) is about a single mother with one baby.

"Working It Out" (NBC, Saturdays 8:30 p.m.) features a single mom dating a single dad.

"American Dreamer" (NBC, Saturdays 10:30) has a widower raising two kids; ''Family Man" (CBS, Saturdays, 8 p.m.) has a widower raising four kids (touche!)

EMBARASS YOURSELF ON VIDEO

"America's Funniest Home Videos," what have you wrought?

Well, specifically, "America's Funniest People" (ABC, Sundays, 8:30). Likewise,"Haywire" (Fox, Saturdays, 8:30), is Fox's companion piece to ''Totally Hidden Video."

In both, people with no shame (and most likely, no talent) stand in front of the video camera and tell jokes. Or do John Wayne imitations. As if you don't get enough of that stuff from the various buffoons you know without turning on the TV.

Imagine the possibilities of "Going Places" (ABC, Fridays, 9:30): It's a sitcom about four young people who work for a TV program that videotapes people doing stupid things.

TV MOVIE SUBJECTS YOU WOULDN'T

WANT TO MEET IN A DARK ALLEY

Why you won't be seeing "The Albert Schweitzer Story" any time soon: nice people make for dull movies.

With this in mind, CBS will air "The Queen of Mean," the Leona Helmsley story, on Sept. 23. Also in the works at CBS: "The Charles Stuart Story," about the Boston husband who claimed his pregnant wife was fatally shot during a robbery attempt.

"Lucky/Chances" is an NBC miniseries based on two Jackie Collins' novels about a mob family. NBC also plans "Love You to Death," a four-hour mini- series based on Cinnamon Brown, a 14-year-old who confessed to murdering her stepmother so her dad could collect $1 million in insurance.

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