Take a look at the slew of new shows on the networks this fall and you'd almost think you've accidentally picked up a list of theatrical films - no fewer than four new series are taken directly from successful movies.

CBS has "Uncle Buck." NBC has "Ferris Bueller" and "Parenthood." Fox has "Parker Lewis Can't Lose," a thinly veiled ripoff of "Ferris Bueller." (And ABC had "Baby Talk" - from "Look Who's Talking" - until production problems pushed the show back to midseason-replacement status.)And among returning shows, there's "Bagdad Cafe" and "In the Heat of the Night."

There are lots of reasons for this movies-to-TV trend: The shows are "pre-sold" to the viewing audience; they tend to stand out in a sea of new offerings because of their familiar titles and plots (a very important point, considering there are 34 new shows premiering this fall); television loves to copy other people's good ideas; television doesn't have that many good ideas of its own.

But whatever the reason - and despite the fact that most TV shows based on movies fail - expect the trend to continue. And keeping up with that trend, here's a "theatrical" look at the new fall shows of 1990, rating the shows from four-stars to turkeys:


HULL HIGH - * - Imagine the high school in "Fame" with underachieving, sex-obsessed students - and sex-obsessed teachers. The musical numbers are fun, however.

Screening time: 6 p.m., Ch. 2 (NBC)

Premiere date: Aug. 20. (Next showing: Sept. 15)

Box Office forecast: Pretty poor. NBC is hoping to draw young viewers who aren't interested in "60 Minutes," but those hopes appear dim.

TRUE COLORS - * * 1/2 - Pretty funny sitcom in the Fox tradition (i.e., it's rather outrageous and somewhat offensive). White woman with one daughter marries black man with two sons. Nancy Walker stars as the grandmother in her best role since "Rhoda."

Screening time: 6 p.m., Ch. 13 (Fox)

Premiere date: Sept. 2FALLContinued from Page 1

Box Office forecast: A hit in the making, along the lines of "Married . . . With Children."

PARKER LEWIS CAN'T LOSE - * - Most poorly named show of the year. (Oh, yes he can!) This really is a ripoff of "Ferris Bueller," wasting the very talented Corin "Corky" Nemec in the title role as a supposedly cool high schooler who's main attribute comes across as obnoxiousness.

Screening time: 6:30 p.m., Ch. 13 (Fox)

Premiere date: Sept. 2

Box Office forecast: This show would never stand on its own, but may do OK in the hammock between "True Colors" and "In Living Color."LIFESTORIES - * * * - Very well-done series that's hard to describe. The only continuing character is the narrator, who helps us through a personalized examination of some health problem each week.

Screening time: 7 p.m., Ch. 2 (NBC)

Premiere date: Aug. 20 (Next showing: Sept. 12)

Box Office outlook: A sure bomb. Even though it's a quality show, people aren't going to want to watch some guy die of cancer on Sunday evening. It could even finish fifth in its time slot some weeks, behind ABC, CBS, Fox and NFL football on cable.

AMERICA'S FUNNIEST PEOPLE - * - In the tradition of "America's Funniest Home Videos," these are Americans doing supposedly humorous, often stupid things to get on TV.

Screening time: 7:30 p.m., Ch. 4 (ABC)

Premiere date: TBA

Box Office forecast: A sure hit, although it won't be as big a hit as "AFHV."

GET A LIFE - * * - Rather offbeat sitcom about a 30-year-old paperboy (Chris Elliott of "Late Night with David Letterman") who lives at home with Mom and Dad and isn't interested in growing up and being responsible. Has its moments, but Elliott can be extremely annoying.

Screening time: 7:30 p.m., Ch. 13 (Fox)

Premiere date: Sept. 23

Box Office forecast: Like "Parker Lewis," it may do OK simply because of the shows before and after it.

GOOD GRIEF - not available for preview - Half-hour sitcom about a pair of brothers running a funeral home. One is wild and crazy (Howie Mandel) and the other is straightlaced (Joel Brooks).

Screening time: 8:30 p.m., Ch. 13 (Fox)

Premiere date: TBA

Box Office forecast: Looks like a perfect fit in the Fox lineup, but it will depend on the continuing strength of "Married . . . With Children."

AGAINST THE LAW - * * - Miles O'Keefe stars as a very strange attorney who'll do anything to win a case. A different spin on the same-old-lawyer-series, but too far out there to be particularly believable.

Screening time: 9 p.m., Ch. 13 (Fox)

Premiere date: Sept. 23

Box Office forecast: The best thing you can say for it is that viewers who have watch Fox until 9 p.m. may stick around, rather than tune into the middle of a movie on ABC, CBS or NBC.


FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR - * * * 1/2 - Very funny, youth-oriented sitcom starring rapper Will Smith (of D.J. Jazzy and the Fresh Prince) as a poor kid from Philadelphia sent to live with rich relatives in California. Smith is wonderful; he's a natural with real flair for TV comedy.

Screening time: 7 p.m., Ch. 2 (NBC)

Premiere date: Sept. 10

Box Office forecast: The biggest new hit of the fall season. Kids will love the show and the Fresh Prince, and parents will laugh along. A big boost to NBC's fortunes on Monday night.

UNCLE BUCK - turkey - Grotesque uncle (Kevin Meany) raises three sitcom kids. The worst new show this fall. Not only is it vulgar and tasteless, but it simply isn't funny. A gross (pun intended) miscalculation by CBS.

Screening time: 7 p.m., Ch. 5 (CBS)

Premiere date: Sept. 17

Box Office forecast - It may do better than it deserves, but audiences will prefer "Fresh Prince." It will drag down CBS' Monday night and disappear before Christmas.

FERRIS BUELLER - * - Very weak sequel to the movie. Whereas Mathew Broderick's Ferris had a wonderful charm in the film, Charlie Schlatter's Ferris is smug and obnoxious. The writing is so bad it's almost a live-action cartoon.

Screening time: 7:30 p.m., Ch. 2 (NBC)

Premiere date: Aug. 23 (Next showing: Sept. 10)

Box Office forecast: It may survive, based on the leadin from "Fresh Prince," but will lose a big chunk of that audience. That may cause its early death.

THE TRIALS OF ROSIE O'NEILL - * * * 1/2 - Very strong drama in the tradition of "Cagney and Lacy," which isn't surprising because the former Cagney, Sharon Gless, stars as a 40ish woman who is dumped by her husband, quits her Beverly Hills law practice and goes to work as a public defender. "C&L" creator/producer Barney Rosenzweig is also in charge here.

Screening time: 9 p.m., Ch. 5 (CBS)

Premiere date: Sept. 17

Box Office forecast: Won't be a big hit, but will appeal to the female audience that watches "Murphy Brown" and "Designing Women." Ratings will improve after "Monday Night Football" ends for the season.


LAW & ORDER - * * * - Well done crime drama with a twist - the first half of the show follows a pair of police detectives as the track down the suspects, the second half follows a pair of district attorneys as the prosecute the suspects. Strong cast, headed by Michael Moriarity.

Screening time: 9 p.m., Ch. 2 (NBC)

Premiere date: Sept. 13

Box Office forecast: Will draw the same viewers who watched "Midnight Caller" in this time slot last season, but probably won't appeal as strongly to loyal "thirtysomething" viewers. Its future may depend on how well CBS does with its Tuesday Night Movie - many of which will be theatrical films.


LENNY - * * - Sort of a male version of "Roseanne," Lenny Clarke is a blue-collar guy with wife, kids and parents. Not bad, but could be a lot better. Let's hope the very funny Clarke gets more input into the scripts.

Screening time: 7 p.m., Ch. 5 (CBS)

Premiere date: TBA

Box Office forecast: It's in a very tough time slot, against "The Wonder Years" and "Unsolved Mysteries." This is one of CBS' great hopes, so it may well get plenty of time to succeed here, or in a different time slot.

THE FANELLI BOYS - * * * - Four Italian-American sons, ranging in age from 19 to 40ish, move back in with Mama after experiencing setbacks in life. Strong cast, including Ann Guilbert (Millie Helper on the old "Dick Van Dyke Show") as Mama, and good writing, from the folks who used to bring us "The Golden Girls."

Screening time: 8 p.m., Ch. 2 (NBC)

Premiere date: Sept. 8

Box Office forecast: Should be a minor hit, and will probably win the time period

MARRIED PEOPLE - * * 1/2 - Pretty funny, mostly inoffensive look at three different married couples living in a New York brownstone - the 60ish couple downstairs, the 30-something yuppies on the second floor, and the teenage newlyweds in the attic apartment.

Screening time: 8:30 p.m., Ch. 4 (ABC)

Premiere date: Sept. 18

Box Office forecast: Again, won't be a big hit but should fit in nicely after "Doogie Howser, M.D."

COP ROCK - * * - A hard show to evaluate. It's a combination of "Hill Street Blues" and "West Side Story," complete with musical numbers. The non-singing police segments are very rough, very strong, and the music segments are fair to quite good. But together, the whole thing is sort of ludicrous.SEASONContinued from Page 3

Screening time: 9 p.m., Ch. 4 (ABC)

Premiere date: TBA

Box Office forecast: Tough to call. People will either love or hate it, but it may be too different for America to swallow. Personally, I think it will be gone by Christmas.

WIOU - * * * 1/2 - This show does for local television news what "St. Elsewhere" did for hospitals and "Hill Street Blues" did for cops. It's an ensemble drama with a rather offbeat sense of humor, and generally quite well executed.

Screening time: 9 p.m., Ch. 5 (CBS)

Premiere date: Sometime in October.

Box Office outlook: Won't be a big hit, that's for sure. It's another of CBS' great hopes, and by appealing to the right demographics could be around for a while. It's performance depends largely on how "Cop Rock" does.


THE FLASH - * * * - Surprisingly good action hour based on the comic strip character. The special effects are incredible for a television show. Will appeal to adult males as well as the kids.

Screening time: 7 p.m., Ch. 5 (CBS)

Premiere date: TBA

Box Office outlook: Bleak. Not only is it taking on "Cosby," but the kid audience it was going after will probably end up watching "The Simpsons." But CBS has made such a financial commitment to this series expect it to end up on a different night if it fails here.

BABES - * * * - One of the funniest new sitcoms of the year, it stars three overweight actresses (Wendy Jo Sperber is the best know) as three overweight sisters. May be a bit crude for some tastes, however. (This is Fox, after all.)

Screening time: 7:30 p.m., Ch. 13 (Fox)

Premiere date: TBA

Box Office outlook: Could well do better than its leadin. Not only will it hold "The Simpsons" audience, but it will draw channel hoppers who watch "Cosby" but will gladly switch away from the weak "A Different World."

SONS & DAUGHTERS - * * 1/2 - Hour-long comedy/drama about a large, extended family. Good cast, headed by Lucie Arnaz, Don Murray and Rick Rossevitch. Sort of sentimental and sappy, but looks like a good family show.

Screening time: 8 p.m., Ch. 5 (CBS)

Premiere date: TBA

Box Office forecast: Very bleak. That "Cheers" buzz saw is roaring away, and there just may not be an audience for sentimental, sappy shows anymore.

GABRIEL'S FIRE - * * * 1/2 - Excellent drama, starring the outstanding James Earl Jones as an ex-con, freed after serving 20 years for murder, who goes to work as an investigator for the white woman lawyer who got him out.

Screening time: 8 p.m., Ch. 4 (ABC)

Premiere date: Sept. 12, same episode rerun Sept. 13

Box Office forecast: Fair. It's definitely an alternative to "Cheers," and if the writing can stay up to the level of the pilot it may break the trend of failure by dramas starring black actors.

CLASS OF BEVERLY HILLS - * 1/2 - Hour-long drama about a midwest family that moves the swank California community, centering on the two kids - a boy and girl both in high school. Sort of uneven and not quite sure what it wants to be.

Screening time: 8 p.m., Ch. 13 (Fox)

Premiere date: Oct. 4

Box office outlook: Bleak. Maybe - just maybe - the younger crowd will like it, but will probably be cut to pieces by the "Cheers" buzz saw.


EVENING SHADE - unavailable for preview - Incredibly talented cast (including Burt Reynolds, Hal Holbrook, Elizabeth Ashley, Ossie Davis and Marilu Henner) and outstanding writing by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason ("Designing Women") make this as close as you can get to a sure-thing as far as quality goes without having seen the pilot yet. Reynolds is an ex-NFL player who returns to the small Arkansas town of Evening Shade, along with his wife (Henner) and children to coach the high school football team.

Screening time: 7 p.m., Ch. 5 (CBS)

Premiere date: Sept. 21

Box Office outlook: Mixed. Quality doesn't always translate into success, and this show may be on too early - it will appeal to adults. It could well end up being moved to Mondays, assuming "Uncle Buck" is euthanized.

OVER MY DEAD BODY - * 1/2 - Edward Woodward ("The Equalizer") is sort of a wimpy mystery writer who teams with a female newspaper obituary writer (Jessica Lundy) to solve mysteries. The producers keep denying it, but this is definitely "Murder, He Wrote."

Screening time: 8 p.m., Ch. 5 (CBS)

Premiere date: Sometime in October.

Box Office outlook: This is designed to appeal to an older audience, and it could well succeed - its opposition includes "Night Court" and "Perfect Strangers."

D.E.A. - * - Strange mix of Drug Enforcement Agency action, personal drama and pseudo-documentary, this show just doesn't work.

Screening time: 8 p.m., Ch. 13 (Fox)

Premiere date: Sept. 7

Box Office outlook: Poor. This is a new night for Fox, and "America's Most Wanted" isn't the greatest leadin.

GOING PLACES - * - Another in a series of silly, brainless sitcoms from Miller-Boyett productions. (They now have four in a row on Fridays - "Full House," "Family Matters," "Perfect Strangers" and this. Four young people (including Heather Locklear) are writers for a show that looks suspiciously like "America's Funniest Home Videos" and share the same house. Pretty stupid.

Screening time: 8:30 p.m., Ch. 4 (ABC)

Premiere date: TBA

Box Office outlook: Oh, it will probably do OK - it's a perfect fit among ABC's mindless Friday night comedies.


PARENTHOOD - * * * * - The only four-star pilot on the fall schedule, this television show is much better than the movie on which it's based. The casting is excellent (Ed Begley Jr. for Steve Martin, William Windom for Jason Robards, Maryedith Burrell for Dianne Weist) so you don't miss any of the film actors. It's funny, relatively realistic in a rather odd way, touching and lighter in tone than the theatrical version.

Screening time: 7 p.m., Ch. 2 (NBC)

Premiere date: Aug. 20 (Next showing: Sept. 6)

Box Office forecast - A limited hit but no blockbuster. It's on too early and on the wrong night.

FAMILY MAN - * 1/2 - Another Miller-Boyett comedy (see "Going Places"). Gregory Harrison ("Trapper John, M.D.") is a fire chief and widowed father of four who gets help his father-in-law, played by Al Molinaro ("Happy Days").

Screening time: 7 p.m., Ch. 5 (CBS)

Premiere date: TBA

Box Office forecast: If CBS is lucky, this show will finish second in its time period.

HAYWIRE - 1/2 - This is Fox's version of "America's Funniest People." And it isn't even as good as that crummy show.

Screening time: 7:30 p.m., Ch. 13 (Fox)

Premiere date:

WORKING IT OUT - * * * - Jane Curtin stars as a divorced mother with a young daughter; Stephen Collins is a divorced father of grown children. They'll spend the series "working out" their relationship. The pilot is only pretty good and the show has great possibilities, largely because five-time Emmy winner Bill Persky ("Dick Van Dyke," "Kate & Allie") is writing, producing and directing.

Screening time: 7:30 p.m., Ch. 2 (NBC)

Premiere date: Aug. 22 (Next showing: Sept. 8)

Box Office forecast: A secondary hit - but, like "Parenthood," it might be on too early.

E.A.R.T.H. FORCE - turkey - Extremely stupid, it's sort of a environmental "Mission: Impossible." It's got a great, pro-environment message, but that's lost beneath ridiculous plotting and weak acting. (Gil Gerard of "Buck Rogers" fame is the big name here.

Screening time: 8 p.m., Ch. 5 (CBS)

Premiere date: TBA

Box Office forecast: Dismal. It will be gone quickly, probably replaced by the on-hold series "Paradise."

AMERICAN CHRONICLES - * * 1/2 - Imagine a half-hour documentary produced by the people behind "Twin Peaks." That's exactly what this is. It's well-produced and rather interesting, but rather bizarre as well.

Screening time: 8:30 p.m., Ch. 13 (Fox)

Premiere date: Sept. 8

Box Office outlook: Poor. This is a weak night for Fox anyway, and this may be too weird for the public's taste.

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AMERICAN DREAMER - * * - Robert Urich returns to comedy (remember him on "Soap?") as a widowed father, ex-TV newsman, newspaper columnist. Carol Kane ("Taxi") is his ditzy assistant. Pilot wasn't great, but it could work its way into being a good show.

Screening Time: 9:30 p.m., Ch. 2 (NBC)

Premiere Date: Sept. 20

Box Office Outlook: Pretty good - if "Carol & Co." can continue to provide a strong leadin.

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