March 28, 1998 in Features

This ‘Chance’ Worth Taking A Look At

Faye Zuckerman New York Times Syndicate

A romantic comedy on CBS Sunday at 9 puts a little spring fever in the air. Titled “Chance of a Lifetime,” the TV movie pairs John Ritter and Katey Sagal, who both use their comedic talents to deliver easygoing escapist fare.

Sagal plays a rotund magazine editor suffering from self-esteem issues. One of her free-lance writers, Tom Maguire (Ritter), a swinging bachelor with problems making a commitment, is fired in the opening scene.

Their lives collide again at a fund-raising party for the fired writer.

During the bash, he slips a disc in his back, and Sagal’s Irene Duncan agrees to marry him so that he can use her health-insurance benefits. Once married, he can have the surgery he desperately needs.

Maguire has the confidence, and she has the brains. Together they eventually fall in love.

Before the inevitable ending, Jean Stapleton, as Duncan’s pushy mom, and Lynn Thigpen, as a nosy insurance agent, add to the comedy.

“Chance” is a desirable departure from depressing victim dramas of late. Enjoy it.

Ritter and Sagal are especially great when sparring.


“The Pretender,” NBC tonight at 9: In an intense episode, Jarod takes on the identity of a SWAT officer to solve a murder. Sydney (Patrick Bauchau) searches for the love of his life.

“News Saturday Night,” ABC tonight at 10: This hour examines the latest and greatest in the world of medical science. Among the topics: biological sex signals; the connection between weight and genetics; and the latest in cardiac care and sports medicine.

“The Wonderful World Of Disney: Safety Patrol” (1998), ABC Sunday at 7: Bug Hall (“The Little Rascals”) once again shows us his talents for slapstick as an 11-year-old who brings pratfalls wherever he goes. As Scout Bozell, Hall wants to join the safety patrol, only the patrol at his new school is a gang of juvenile delinquents.

Joining in the physical action is Leslie Nielsen in a hilarious cameo appearance. It’s sophomoric, but kids will find it hard to resist, especially Ed McMahon’s charming performance as Scout’s grandpa.

Weird Al Yankovic appears as the entertainment during a school social.

“Asteroid” (1997), NBC Sunday at 7: Back for another airing is this tale about two killer asteroids that collide with Earth and cause mass destruction.

As you may remember, the celestial bodies smash into Kansas City and Dallas. The main characters are a brilliant astronomer (Annabella Sciorra); a smart and caring government official (Michael Biehn); a suburban family headed by a firefighter (Don Franklin); and two likable young doctors (Jensen Daggett, Michael Weatherly) who end up at the right place to save lives.

The first time around, the network advertising was far more exciting than the real thing. Not much has changed.

“Moyers on Addiction: Close to Home,” KSPS Sunday at 8: The next three nights Bill Moyers will present an intensive and insightful series on addiction, examining such issues as treatment, prevention, politics and biology.

Part 1 offers profiles of recovering addicts. This documentary is not easy to watch, as a former police officer, a marketing specialist, former drug dealer and columnist offer candid and frightening portraits of life on the edge.

“The X-Files,” FOX Sunday at 9: Mulder enlists the help of a former agent (Darren McGavin) in understanding a 1952 murder somehow connected to his father and anti-Communist lawyer Roy Cohn (David Moreland). For Mulder, the hour is a scary story of self-exploration.

Cable Calls

“Evidence of Blood” (1998), TMC tonight at 9: Your best bet this weekend is this keep-you-on-your-toes mystery set in a small town. It’s fastpaced, well written and full of fresh material.

David Strathairn plays a famous murder writer who returns to his Southern home town to attend the funeral of his best friend.

He realizes that his friend was investigating a murder. Soon he’s on the case, which involves his late friend’s girlfriend (Mary McDonnell).

You won’t be disappointed here.

“Boxing,” HBO tonight at 7: WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis takes on Shannon Briggs live from Atlantic City, N.J..

“Joined at Birth,” DISC Sunday at 9: Conjoined twins are interviewed, and experts discuss the phenomenon of what was once called Siamese twins. Former surgeon general Dr. C. Everett Koop talks about separating such twins.

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