Share this article

print logo


Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) didn't murder anyone. Last May's best cliffhanger was resolved on "NYPD Blue" Tuesday when we learned that Andy just followed his partner, Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits), to a secret meeting, where a sleazy hood was killed by a law enforcement officer who went bad.

It didn't come as much of a surprise. It would have been pretty difficult to keep the show going if one of its heroes became a murderer.

We'll have to wait until Nov. 2 before another of last season's cliffhangers -- how and why Mulder faked his death -- is resolved on the season premiere of "The X-Files."

And it will take several more weeks before the winners and losers of the new season are evident.

The new season is in only its second week, but already the networks are declaring winners based on skimpy evidence.

CBS sent out a release noting how well the season premiere of "Dellaventura" starring Danny Aiello did last week compared to its Tuesday movies of a year ago. In reality, all the early tune-in demonstrated was that viewers were willing to catch an Aiello series no matter how bad its reviews were. In the long run, it will have to draw viewers away from "NYPD Blue" to be a success.

With the baseball playoffs on NBC and Fox disrupting most of the October schedule, the networks would be foolish to overreact to early signs of the season. It can take months before any significant trends emerge to answer the key questions of the season.

Without further ado, it's time to list 25 of this season's top questions.

1. Can "Friends" overcome all the jealousy and negative publicity it has generated, or will this series crash as quickly as most of the movies that its cast has made? Tonight's amusing episode, in which Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) finds a cat that she believes is the reincarnation of her mother, and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) attempt to sell their entertainment center, indicates the series still has life in it.

2. Was the disappointing season opener of "Seinfeld" a sign that NBC needn't have paid all those millions to keep this series going?

3. How long will it be before we hear a Marv Albert joke on NBC's "Men Behaving Badly," and will the revamping of that series succeed?

4. If a quality and thoughtful show like ABC's "The Practice" can't beat "Dellaventura" in a head-to-head battle, can we blame the networks for putting out more derivative drivel? And can ABC find a better place for "The Practice" than Saturday night?

5. How long will it be before CBS moves "The Gregory Hines Show" away from Friday and gives it a chance to succeed?

6. Will ABC ever allow Ellen Morgan to kiss a woman on "Ellen," and will Ellen DeGeneres' real-life lover, Anne Heche, ever guest-star?

7. Will CBS' "Meego" be the first cancellation of the season? Or NBC's "Built to Last"?

8. Will ABC's "Nothing Sacred" survive the loss of advertisers and last until its Christmas episode?

9. Will NBC ever get on board and agree to have its programs labeled in the new content system?

10. If it doesn't cut it as a regular series, will ABC at least agree to make several "Cracker" movies with Robert Pastorelli?

11. Which Fox series will survive to the millennium -- the revised "Millennium" or "The Visitor"?

12. Will CBS abandon its Friday night comedies for movies before ABC abandons its Saturday dramas for movies?

13. How long will NBC give "Men Behaving Badly" before trying a truly desperate act: moving "The Tony Danza Show" to Sundays? And just how does Danza keep getting new series on the air every season?

14. Will NBC's Must-She TV on Monday and Fox's "Ally McBeal" continue to steer viewers away from "Monday Night Football"?

15. Can "Murphy Brown" really get laughs out of a continuing story line about a very serious subject like breast cancer?

16. Will someone explain how Richard Lewis keeps showing up in lame sitcoms like ABC's "Hiller and Diller"?

17. Will CBS stay with Bryant Gumbel's new Wednesday show long enough for it to get an audience in the toughest slot on television, or will it quickly move to 8 p.m. Fridays in place of CBS' sitcoms?

18. How long will it be before ABC realizes that "Home Improvement" doesn't have any more power and has run its course?

19. How many babies will be named Dharma because of the success of ABC's adorable "Dharma & Greg"?

20. Is NBC's "Veronica's Closet" the most overrated show of the season or what?

21. Off the poor ratings for the very strong premiere of "Ellen," does that mean the public has tired of lesbian jokes already, or did the show just suffer because many of its fans were watching the Country Music Awards on CBS?

22. Will fans of the adorable Fred Savage on "The Wonder Years" be disappointed when they realize how he has become such an ordinary-looking adult in NBC's "Working"? It premieres next Wednesday opposite "Ellen."

23. Was the primary purpose of the live season premiere of "ER" to make viewers appreciate how emotional regular episodes of the series are after they are sweetened with music and scenes away from the hospital are added?

24. If David Caruso's new series, "Michael Hayes," flops, does that mean his next stop will be to star in some bad USA Network movies?

25. Why in the world was there a network bidding war for Jenny McCarthy when all her writers could come up with is a routine show like "Jenny"? Well, some questions are just unanswerable.

There are no comments - be the first to comment