Features

‘Sabrina’ Bewitches Her Way Into Hearts

Funny thing about comedies based on unconventional characters. We seem to love ‘em or hate ‘em.

Even though “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Mork and Mindy” are two of television’s all-time favorites, viewers this season flat-out rejected series about a genie (“You Wish”) and a visiting space alien (“Meego”)

There must be something about witches, though. In the ‘60s, we had “Bewitched.”

Now a new generation has “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.” The ABC comedy, now in its second season, may never be dubbed a classic. But it’s a steady performer that showcases the irresistible charm of Melissa Joan Hart in the title role.

“Sabrina” has been doing double duty on Friday nights with episodes at 8 and 9. Tonight at 8, Sabrina and her classmates go on a field trip to Salem, Mass., site of the infamous witch trials. In a class re-enactment, Sabrina starts out defending Jenny (Michelle Beaudoin) but ends up defending herself on charges of sorcery.

In a second repeat at 9, the teen witch baby-sits for her witch cousin (Hart’s real-life kid sister, Emily) and is turned into a doll and locked in a toy box.

It’s good, clean family fun. And I think it’s going to be around for a long time.

Highlights

“The Visitor,” FOX at 8: The series leaves the air with Adam (John Corbett) being beamed back aboard the alien ship, where fellow abductees hold him accountable for going AWOL.

“Dateline NBC,” NBC at 9: Jane Pauley interviews Bill Cosby.

“Step By Step,” CBS at 9:30: Dana (Staci Keanan) decides to solve her privacy issues with Carol (Suzanne Somers) by persuading Rich (Jason Marsden) to marry her. But Carol and Frank (Patrick Duffy) step in to make sure the lovebirds never make it down the aisle.

“Nash Bridges,” CBS at 10: Geraldo Rivera guest-stars, interviewing Nash and Joe (Don Johnson, Cheech Marin) for his talk show. But the night before the chat, Nash is slipped a “mickey” during an undercover assignment.

San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown makes an appearance.

“Homicide: Life on the Street,” NBC at 10: Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows Allen guest-star as an elderly couple who become key witnesses in a strange case. A man who attempts suicide by jumping off a building is killed instead by a stray bullet on the way down.

Cable Calls

“Winter X Games,” ESPN at 5:30: The four-day extreme sports festival gets under way from Crested Butte Mountain resort in Colorado. The 2-hour opening-night telecast includes the sixman boarder X snowboarding competition, women’s slopestyle snowboarding, and women’s ice climbing.

Talk Time

“Tonight,” NBC at 11:35: Actress Pamela Lee and singer Garth Brooks. Repeat.

“Late Show With David Letterman,” CBS at 11:35: Actor Ben Stiller and actress-comedian Sandra Bernhard.

“Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher,” ABC at 12:05 a.m.: Pam Grier and Daisy Fuentes.

“The Late Late Show With Tom Snyder,” CBS at 12:35 a.m.: To be announced.

“Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” NBC at 12:35 a.m.: Actor-comedian Louis Anderson, actress Famke Janssen and author Ken Follett. Repeat.



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