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In thieving attitude and atmosphere from The Larry Sanders Show, Arli$$ renders its unfunniness not merely sad but infuriating. RHODES (NBC) Even if this show about a hep-cat teacher didn’t star the charmless, barber-deprived Tom Rhodes, its ceaseless procession of ignorant yet cool students makes the show’s ”education is good” message merely depressing.3 DARK SKIES (NBC) The second-worst copycat, this time an insufferably pretentious X-Files variation.

Less a dig at big business than a fulmination against all media culture, Profit was the funniest scary drama of the year.

David Duchovny’s Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson’s Dana Scully now give off a united glow that says to the world, ”We’re right, you’re wrong, back off.” There’s no denying that The X-Files is more uneven these days (that episode where Mulder was remembering past lives was more heartburn commercial than X-File), but this is one series in which such erratic-ness is less a sign of creative exhaustion than of an admirably heedless faith in flaky flukiness.

3 THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW (HBO) Garry Shandling is TV’s purest artist, quietly yet aggressively laboring over an unmatched portrait of show-business egotism.

5 BAYWATCH NIGHTS (syndicated) All-powerful producer and bathing-suit wearer David Hasselhoff has turned Nights into X-Files with Plan 9 From Outer Space F/X.

The results are dumb, sure, but also lacking in Baywatch’s blithe goofiness.

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