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Thursday, October 22, 1992 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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John Voorhees

You'll Find `Bitter Pill' Tomorrow Night Is Easy To Take

While "jobs" may be the buzzword for this election, the subject of health care is every bit as important to most Americans and likely to be a top priority no matter who gets to the Oval Office - or the governor's office, for that matter.

KOMO-TV has come up with a well-written, informative and intelligent look at the various approaches to the subject with "A Bitter Pill," an hour documentary at 9 p.m. tomorrow. Hosted by Kathi Goertzen and Dan Lewis, it personalizes these approaches with interviews to illustrate the points, whether it be why health costs have become so exorbitant or the differences between the Canadian health-care plan and how the states of Oregon and Hawaii are attempting to deal with it.

Since we're all going to be asked to express opinions on the subject in the months ahead, "A Bitter Pill" is practically required viewing. Thanks to Goertzen, Lewis and their production crew, that's practically painless.

Election addenda: CNN has two more programs designed for those who have yet to make up their minds - an hour special on Ross Perot at 6 p.m. Saturday and a profile of President Bush at 7 p.m. Sunday.

And for a lighter touch don't miss "Democracy in Action" at 10 p.m. Friday on KCTS-TV. Two Russian filmmakers, Andrey Knishev and Alexander Akopov (who do satire in their homeland), set out under the auspices of KCTS-TV to look at Americans in this election year. The results are very funny, sometimes painful, always entertaining. This film will also be seen in Russia - and what Russian viewers will make of it beats me. But it's a wonderful portrait of the U.S. as seen through the lens of someone else's camera.

Return: NBC's "L.A. Law" begins its seventh season at 10 tonight on KING-TV with a new character (A Martinez from "Santa Barbara" as a hunky widower with a baby) and new producer-writers (John Tinker and John Masius, who guided "St. Elsewhere" to success). Their first episode bodes well for the series, deftly mixing the drama of Los Angeles riots of last spring, which affect several of the characters, with the kind of outrageous humor (an entertainment-park employee is fired from his job as Homer Simpson!) for which "L.A. Law" has been famous. (The inside joke is that the character in the drama is played by Dan Castellaneta, who provides the voice for Homer on the Fox series.)

Amanda Donohoe is no longer in the series, nor is Susan Dey, but there are enough things going on in this season's premiere episode to keep you from noticing. While many "L.A. Law" fans have switched to ABC's "Civil Wars," which gets better all the time, don't sell "L.A. Law" short. This episode made me want to keep on watching for at least the next few weeks.

Ahoy!: The world of the tall ships never fails to capture the excitement of a time gone by - and if you don't believe me, watch "Tall Ship: High Sea Adventure," on ABC's "World of Discovery" series at 7 p.m. Sunday on KOMO-TV. It's a record of a Danish training ship's journey to New York City and back and every frame is fascinating. Its focus is on how a group of 80 young Danes, aged 16 to 20, go from landlubbers to potentially seasoned sailors, cope with stormy seas, high rigging, seasickness and a way of life completely different from what they knew.

But while we're urged to admire the youngsters - who deserve it - save your greatest admiration for photographer James Lipscomb who (aided by his son, John, and photographer Rex Ziak) produced and wrote the film. Don't miss it.

Video notes: The subject is AIDS on Jane Whitney's talk show at 9 tonight on KTZZ-TV. . . . k.d. lang is the guest on Whoopi Goldberg's show tonight at midnight on KSTW-TV. . . . NBC has a two-hour special on the Cuban missile crisis, "One Minute to Midnight," at 9 p.m. tomorrow on KING-TV. . . . The Disney Channel also has a documentary about the "Cuba: Missile Crisis" at 10 p.m. Sunday. . . . Gordon Curvey's "Music Inner City" series, at 1:30 a.m. Saturdays on KTZZ-TV, has been nominated by Billboard as one of the top rap/R&B/dance music video shows in the U.S. in the regional show category. . . . KCTS-TV shows a moving film about AIDS, "Mending Hearts," at 11 p.m. Saturday. . . . If it's not preempted by a World Series game, CBS will present a three-hour docudrama, "The Women of Windsor," unavailable (thank heaven) for previewing, at 8 p.m. Sunday on KIRO-TV. . . . NBC is countering with the violent but well-made "In the Line of Duty: Street War," at 9 p.m. on KING-TV, starring Mario Van Peebles and Ray Sharkey, a film that was originally scheduled for last spring but pulled by NBC which felt nervous about showing it during the time of the Los Angeles riots.

Copyright (c) 1992 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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