ARLI$$ was promoted in its first season as a sports-world LARRY SANDERS SHOW, and ever since, this fine series (which lasted an impressive seven seasons) has been kicked around and wrongly criticized. SANDERS is rightfully respected for its acid show biz comedy, but ARLI$$ takes a different approach, with a solid regular cast of selfish but not mean-spirited characters. Creator Robert Wuhl as sports agent Arliss Michaels is a standout -- a cynic with a heart of marshmellow. The tone swings wildly but from slapstick humor to genuine pathos, and yet consistently scores, as Wuhl and company explore serious topics unflinchingly in this satiric context. (As in the Wuhl-starring film COBB, a frequent topic is heroes with feet of clay.) This is a fine selection of first-rate episodes, but it's a pity this Hall of Fame-worthy comedy has been such a whipping boy so as to convince HBO only a "best of" is deserved, and not full season collections. I'm not a diehard sports fan, but the insider show biz stories, the quirky but appealing regulars and surprisingly sensitive treatment of contemporary problems has turned me into a stone ARLI$$ fan. You wuz robbed, Mr. Wuhl.