Not even the Fonz can make 'Third Watch' watchable

Friday, April 23, 2004

What do you get when the Fonz teams up with an Angel? A new episode of "Third Watch" (9 p.m., NBC) that has all of the indicators of sweeps stunt casting. Henry Winkler guest-stars as a slick lawyer representing Bosco's (Jason Wiles) brother, while Kate Jackson portrays Winkler's wrapped-too-tight wife, who can't make a move without consulting her hubby.

"Third Watch" goes overboard in stereotyping Jackson's character, portraying her as a rich, brittle matron who insists on home-schooling their seemingly perfect child. As you've come to expect from such dramas, a perfect facade is a dead giveaway for domestic horrors. We get to watch Yokas (Molly Price) recoil in predictably righteous outrage as she discovers the yuppie couple's dark secrets.

As I hope I've made clear, I've never been a fan of "Third Watch," a character-driven police drama filled with characters that seem unreal, unlikable, or both.

For a black-and-white foreign language film of this vintage, "La Dolce Vita" remains remarkably contemporary. For reasons I can't fathom, this film is still unavailable on DVD. So if you're looking for crisp print of this classic, you should pounce on this cable airing.

Tonight's other highlights

Late night

Courtney Love appears on "Late Show with David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Arsenio Hall and Rocco DiSpirito on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC) ... Bob Cribbie appears on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:05 p.m., ABC).

Snoop Dogg, Paul Bettany and Mr. Geography chat on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Ian McKellen and David Stern are booked on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).