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This season, Anthony La Paglia replaced Benzali and offered a hero who was prickly and arrogant in a more engaging way.The Waltons’ Ralph Waite has been a marvelous skunk of a baddie, and Missy Crider’s work as a hapless murder defendant who also happened to be, as one character puts it, ”a major hottie,” gave One a fresh jolt of energy.5 THE SIMPSONS (Fox) Unappreciated now because the media celebrated Bart-mania years ago, The Simpsons continues to be the most reliable satire on network TV.The season opener, in which Homer and family left Springfield to work and live in a happy-faced, fascist corporate community was such a dead-on critique of the Disney empire, I swear I heard Rupert Murdoch chuckling.1 NYPD BLUE [PROGRAM of the YEAR] (ABC) TV’s most varied, humane, and exciting drama took more chances this year than a hit show needs to, and became a deeper, richer series for the effort.
4 THE JEFF FOXWORTHY SHOW (NBC) The redneck routines that brought Foxworthy fame were pleasant, innocuous bits, but in retooling the comic’s flop ABC sitcom, the NBC version turns his material into marathons of joke-free vulgarity.
Dave Foley, as the radio station’s put-upon news director, is probably the subtlest actor in sitcoms, whereas Phil Hartman and Andy Dick thrive on reckless excess.
And it’s apology time: A while back, I tagged Joe Rogan as a Tony Danza wannabe; Rogan’s smart work this season as dim fix-it guy Joe made my remarks seem churlish.
5 BAYWATCH NIGHTS (syndicated) All-powerful producer and bathing-suit wearer David Hasselhoff has turned Nights into X-Files with Plan 9 From Outer Space F/X.
The results are dumb, sure, but also lacking in Baywatch’s blithe goofiness.