Sitcoms February Sweeps Rule No. 1: If you can’t get big-name guest stars, at least get campy ones. Blossom (NBC, Feb. 21, 8:30-9 p.m.) dusts off a quartet of showbiz relics for a surfing contest-ancient teen idol Fabian emcees the event, and the judges are wizened comedian Phyllis Diller, Good Times dyn-o- saur Jimmie ”J.J.” Walker, and former Frito-Lay’s adman Avery Schreiber (the snack-chip forefather of Jay Leno, Chevy Chase, and Dan Quayle). Then, in the Feb. 28 episode of Blossom, Joey (Joey Lawrence) consults his imaginary childhood friend, ex-A Team member Mr. T, when he thinks one of his friends may be taking steroids. Who are they going to get for the May sweeps-McLean Stevenson? Two guys who might be acquainted with Mr. T, pro wrestling’s Bushwhackers, turn up on Family Matters (ABC, Feb. 18, 8-8:30 p.m.). The laughter starts when Urkel (Jaleel White) accidentally puts ”snooze juice” in the water bottles of the ‘Whackers’ opponents and must step into the ring.
Sci-Fi Steven Spielberg’s underwater opus seaQuest DSV (NBC, Feb. 27, 8-9 p.m.) has barely managed to stay afloat in the ratings, but the producers are trying to steal a little of that old Star Trek magic by bringing on William Shatner for a one-shot role as Milos Tezlof, an exiled tyrant who attempts to commandeer the sub and use its high-tech gadgets to cure his autistic son. Shatner’s wig looks good, but his Eastern European accent may not be quite so convincing.
Miniseries For those who can’t wait until this fall’s eight-hour CBS epic Scarlett for a post-Civil War soap opera, john jakes’ heaven and hell: North and South, Part III (ABC, Feb. 27-28, March 2, 9-11 p.m.) should provide a fix of embittered ex-rebels and cleavage- revealing belles. The cast is pretty low-rent, given that Patrick Swayze, Kirstie Alley, James Stewart, and Elizabeth Taylor appeared in the first two parts. Lesley-Anne Down, Philip Casnoff, Genie Francis, and Jonathan Frakes reprise their roles, but aside from Peter O’Toole (who also did King Ralph, mind you) and Rip Torn, Heaven and Hell boasts only more Blossom-size stars such as Mariette Hartley, Billy Dee Williams, and Cathy Lee Crosby.
Movies Disproving the charge that all fact-based TV movies are lurid, two networks put their noblest foot forward with uplifting tales of macho men struggling to regain their perambulatory skills. Moment of Truth: To Walk Again (NBC, Feb. 16, 9-11 p.m.) stars The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd’s Blair Brown and The White Shadow’s Ken Howard as parents who fight to get their paraplegic, brain- damaged Marine son rehabilitated. And rise & Walk: the Dennis Byrd Story (Fox, Feb. 28, 8-10 p.m.) concerns the better-known case of the New York Jets defensive lineman (played by A Midnight Clear’s Peter Berg) who shattered a vertebra in a freak accident on the field, then miraculously recovered in six months. Physical therapists, set your VCRs now.
His 1988 crack-up persuaded Gary Busey to advocate wearing a helmet, but it didn’t curb his passion for motorcycles, as evidenced in his introduction to our favorite movies: The Wild One (TNT, Feb. 23, 8-10 p.m.), the 1954 Marlon Brando biker vehicle that paved the way for Rebel Without a Cause and Easy Rider. Cinemax pays tribute to another Hollywood wild man by celebrating Harvey Keitel day (Feb. 23, 2:30 p.m.-4 a.m.). The films selected-The Inquiry, The Duellists, Falling in Love, Taxi Driver, Bad Lieutenant, Two Evil Eyes, and The Two Jakes-don’t include some of Keitel’s best work (Mean Streets, Bugsy, Reservoir Dogs), but just be glad they didn’t pick Mother, Jugs & Speed.