Fred Dryer came back to prime time for “The Return of Hunter,” a 1995 NBC movie that the network repeats at 9.
We’d almost forgotten this detective series that rarely stood out among its contemporaries. But it worked for NBC as a steady ratings performer, mainly on Saturday nights, during a seven-season run.
Dryer played laid-back detective Rick Hunter. You were never quite sure if the character was supposed to be overworked and stoic, or if Dryer was merely lifeless by nature.
A 12-year star with the NFL New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams, Dryer turned briefly to TV sports commentary after his playing days ended. In 1984 he debuted as Hunter, a no-nonsense cop fashioned conspicuously after Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” Callahan - including the oversized magnum revolver. (Hunter called the gun “Simon,” and writers loved to have bad guys challenge the cop with “Says who?,” so that Hunter could reply, “Simon says.”)
In this movie, he sets out to solve the murder of his girlfriend by her ex-husband (Barry Bostwick). Miguel Ferrer, Brian Keith and Lisa Eilbacher co-star.
Missing is a partner and an interesting plot to add texture. Hunter’s longtime sidekick, Det. Sgt. Dee Dee McCall, was played by Stepfanie Kramer. She left the show in 1990.
Charles Hallahan reprises his role as Hunter’s boss, Capt. Charles Devane.
Since “Hunter,” we haven’t seen much of Dryer, who turns 50 on July 6. For all but his old fans, “The Return of Hunter” probably answers the question why he never returned in a second series.
“Sliders,” FOX at 8: This first-run leap finds the slider comrades landing in a San Francisco stuck in the Prohibition era and run by rival mob families. Rembrandt “Crying Man” Brown (Cleavant Derricks) encounters a look-alike who is the city’s top G-Man.
The costume caper again shows that the series “anything goes” premise is a free pass to lighthearted adventure. “Sliders” has been renewed and will be on FOX’s fall schedule.
“Boy Meets World,” ABC at 8:30: Shawn (Rider Strong) misinterprets his guidance counselor’s advice and decides to run away from home. Repeat.
“Due South,” CBS at 9: Fraser (Paul Gross) foils a bank robbery attempt by pulling Ray (David Marciano) into a time-locked vault. As the thieves try to get in, the two cops worry about getting out. The sprinkler system has gone off and the water is getting higher and higher. Repeat.
“The X-Files,” FOX at 9: Agents Mulder and Scully (David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson) arrive in another of those creepy little towns to investigate a creepy little mystery.
As usual, a curious situation is filled with supernatural implications. But this repeat from last May stands out because of a rather nauseating visit to a chicken rendering plant.
“Desk Set” (1957), AMC at 5:15: You get a marvelous look at late ‘50s business culture and some swell laughs in this fun romantic comedy. Spencer Tracy plays an efficiency expert hired to computerize a television network’s research department.
Katharine Hepburn is the head researcher who fears he plans to replace her with a machine.
Gig Young co-stars.
Her immediate revulsion to his high-tech arrogance eventually melts and all’s well at film’s end.
“Marilyn and Me” (1991), LIF at 9: Not too many people have taken seriously Robert Slatzer’s account of his romance with Marilyn Monroe.
He was one of the lesser-known among many men who passed through her life in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s.
This movie, which premiered on ABC, doesn’t add much to the Monroe legend. Susan Griffiths plays the sex symbol, and Jesse Dobson portrays Slatzer.
If you want a better-acted interpretation, HBO repeats “Norma Jean and Marilyn” this weekend.
“Tonight,” NBC at 11:35: Singer Patti Rothberg.
“Late Show With David Letterman,” CBS at 11:35: Actress Julia Roberts and boxer “Hurricane” Peter McNeeley. Repeat.
“Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” NBC at 12:35 a.m.: Musical guest Johnny Bravo.
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