October 10, 1997 in Features

‘Family Matters’ Offers Poignant Lesson

John Martin New York Times Syndicate

I’m still having trouble thinking of “Family Matters” showing up on CBS Friday nights at 8.

The producers are probably having a little trouble getting used to the series not winning its time slot the first two weeks of the season. That’s something it did its first eight seasons on ABC.

But let’s give “Family Matters” its due. Assuming it survives the season, it will become the 15th longest-running comedy in TV history.

We’ve seen a young cast mature into adulthood, and star Jaleel White has shown that he is as versatile as his character, Steve Urkel, is nerdy.

Kids still giggle at Steve and Carl’s (Reginald VelJohnson) weekly antics. And parents appreciate not having to worry about this being family-safe entertainment.

And for all the foolishness that’s come down over the years, this series manages to slip in a lesson from time to time.

Tonight, Urkel arrives at a fraternity party to discover that Laura has had one drink too many. When he does the right thing and takes her home, he gets a passionate kiss of a lifetime.

Unfortunately, the next day, Laura claims she can’t remember it.

Meanwhile, Carl and Harriette (JoMarie Payton-Noble) make elaborate but conflicting anniversary plans.


“Baseball,” NBC at 5: The Braves and Marlins meet in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.

“Sabrina, The Teenage Witch,” ABC at 8: Hilda and Zelda enlist the help of Witch Yenta (guest-star Teri Garr) to find a match for Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) after her boyfriend Harvey (Nate Richert) starts dating other girls. Yenta sets her up with a witch (Jason James Richter), who casts a spell on Harvey.

“The Visitor,” FOX at 8: When Adam (John Corbin) gets a message from space he cannot interpret, he turns to a scientist (Robert Knepper) who has found a way to decode the signals.

“Boy Meets World,” ABC at 8:30: Cory (Ben Savage) makes roommates Eric, Jack and Shawn (Will Friedle, Matthew Lawrence, Rider Strong) the subject of his student video. The camera never lies, and the truth is that Jack and Shawn aren’t getting along.

“Meego,” CBS at 8:30: Meego (Bronson Pinchot) shrinks Trip’s history teacher and basketball coach (Michael Milhoan) and takes over class, posing as King George III. The nice thing about writing for a totally goofy series is that just about anything goes.

How long before this series goes?

“You Wish,” ABC at 9: Remember when “Mork & Mindy” began to fade and they brought in Jonathan Winters to play Mork and Mindy’s son? Three weeks into this one, and Jerry Van Dyke shows up as Genie’s 50,000-year-old Grampa Max.

I think you have to be 10 years old to go for this.

“Nash Bridges,” CBS at 10: What keeps a lot of people coming back to this series (aside from the fact that NBC has yet to launch its new Friday night lineup) is that it’s rarely predictable.

This time, a psychopathic killer (Christopher Cazenove) thinks he’s Arthur Conan Doyle’s Dr. Moriarity. Convinced that Nash (Don Johnson) is Sherlock Holmes, he sets a deadly trap.

Cable Calls

“2 Days in the Valley” (1996), MAX at 8: This entertaining film, written and directed by John Herzfeld, takes a trunkload of actors and weaves them into a gritty, seamless yarn. It’s as if the point of the movie is that the far-flung plot actually works.

One by one we meet a hit man, a cop, a prostitute, an Olympic athlete, a British art dealer, a suicidal filmmaker (Paul Mazursky) and on and on.

Danny Aiello, Jeff Daniels, Teri Hatcher, Eric Stoltz, Marsha Mason, James Spader, Peter Horton and Keith Carradine star.

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