That Darned Talking Cat!
By Matthew Greenberg
Friday, January 2, 1998
A word to the wise: All the hipsters are watching "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch." Why? Salem, of course. This talking cat (as voiced by comedian and ESPN contributor Nick Bakay) is the funniest talking cat on television. While star Melissa Joan Hart graciously carries this unpretentious teenage comedy, it's the talking cat that gets to deliver some of the sharpest lines – the ones that make grown-ups not loathe sitting through this with their children. Two episodes air Friday at 8 and 9 p.m. on ABC.
Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) chats it up with the funniest talking cat on television. (ABC)
And now for the rest . . .
Friday's Network Shows
- Edgy "Homicide: Life on the Street" airs at 10 p.m. on NBC. This episode, titled "Closet Cases," features actor Peter Gallagher.
- "The King of Comedy" airs on WGN at 8 p.m. In this overlooked gem in the canons of star Robert De Niro and director Martin Scorcese, a demented fan of talk shows plots to get his big break on the small screen. A dark comedy, the film features an eye-opening performance from Jerry Lewis as the beleagured object of De Niro's fanatacism.
- In keeping with the talk show theme, we should tell you that if you missed last week's installments of "Space Ghost: Coast to Coast," you missed musical stars Chuck D., Ice-T and Pat Boone. (No, that's not a misprint.) Yes, veteran '60s cartoon superhero Space Ghost interviews real-life celebrities in possibly the hippest talk show on TV right now. Two 15-minute episodes air at 11:30 and 11:45 p.m. on the Cartoon Network.
Saturday's Network Shows
- NCAA: It's the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl" from Atlanta on ESPN at 3 p.m. Auburn takes on Clemson.
- NCAA: The FedEx Orange Bowl airs at 8 p.m. on CBS. Nebraska takes on Peyton Manning and Tennessee.
- Figure Skating: It's the sport of the '90s done Fox-style: "Battle of the Sexes on Ice II" airs at 8 p.m.
- CBS gets you ready for the upcoming Winter Olympics with "Golden Moments of the Winter Games," featuring profiles of great personal stories and events of past snowey Olympiads. It's at 7:30 p.m.
- Akira Kurosawa's 1954 film "The Seven Samurai" begat 1960's "The Magnificent Seven," which now gives birth to a new six-part TV series, "The Magnificent Seven," on CBS. The first episode airs tonight at 8.
- Any hipsters still at home Saturday night can tune in to a "Celebration of America's Music," ABC's tribute to the biggest names of jazz. Bill Cosby hosts at 9. (Read the TV Week profile.)
- Tyrone Power. Eva Gardner. Errol Flynn. A film based on a book by Hemingway. "The Sun Also Rises." AMC at 9 p.m.
- It's townies vs. life in the sleeper 1979 coming-of-age film "Breaking Away" about four Indiana teens trying to figure out adulthood. Watch for Paul Dooley's hilarious turn as a slow-burning, exasperated father. It's on Bravo at 9 p.m.
- Animal Planet (another offshoot of the Discovery Channel's growing empire) premieres a show about the process of using animals as "actors" in Hollywood productions. "Wild on the Set" airs at 10 p.m.
Sunday's Network Shows
- NFL: The march to the Super Bowl continues as the New England Patriots visit the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pregame festivities start at noon on NBC.
- NFL: Then, flip over to Fox for the day's second playoff game, the Minnesota Vikings vs. the San Francisco 49ers. Pregame starts at 3:30 p.m.
- Another of the rash of three-named child stars breaks out of the pack tonight: Zachery Ty Bryan (from "Home Improvement") stars in the "Wonderful World of Disney" special "Principal Takes a Holiday," at 7 on ABC. "Saturday Night Live" alum Kevin Nealon co-stars.
- When it's "The Simpsons," it's not just any old clips-show. Tonight's episode features flashbacks to many of the shows finest song-and-dance numbers. "Who needs the Kwik-e-Mart?. . ." It's at 8 on Fox.
- Add another one to the annals of Fox's historic attempts at sit-coms: "Ask Harriet" premieres tonight at 8:30. It's about a macho sportswriter who takes over a newspaper advice column under a female pseudonym but is then forced to masquerade as the woman in real life.
- It's the new-look Family Channel! The cable outfit airs three classic film comedies today: Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter star in the Coen Bros. surreal "Raising Arizona" at 3 p.m. Then it's Molly Ringwald in the teen fave "Sixteen Candles" at 5 p.m. And to top it all off, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield star in the oft-quoted classic "Caddyshack" at 7 p.m. "So I says to the Lama . . ."
- A&E's classic (and classy) series "Biography" begins another week with a profile of legendary comedian Bob Hope, covering his career as young vaudevillian to comedic giant of the golden age of film to his role as military entertainer. It's at 8 p.m.
- NFL: Is Pewter Power for real? The upstart Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the champion Green Bay Packers on the frozen tundra as the playoffs continue. The early game starts on Fox at 12:30 p.m.
- NFL: Then NBC picks up the late game; a battle between two perennial playoff contenders. It's the Denver Broncos vs. the Kansas City Chiefs (or is that the Chefs?) pregame starts at 3:30 p.m.