Saturday, August 04, 2007

Too Good For ABC?

Not that it would be too difficult to outclass the network that gives us ACCORDING TO JIM and NATIONAL BINGO NIGHT.

Keep in mind that MASTERS OF SCIENCE FICTION, a six-episode anthology series that has been sitting on ABC's shelf for more than a year, is finally debuting tonight. Saturday. At 9pm Central. Can you think of a better way to kill a show? Oh, and ABC is airing only four of the six shows produced. Hopefully, all will eventually show up on DVD, but I wouldn't bet even $5 on it. Here's an example of what's coming up over the next four Saturdays:

First up on Saturday is "A Clean Escape," with a teleplay by Sam Egan and direction from Rydell. Oh, and by the way, it just so happens that it stars Judy Davis and Sam Waterston (Oscar nominees both) in the futuristic John Kessel tale about a dying doctor (Davis) who goes to great lengths to uncover why a patient of hers (Waterston) can't remember the past 25 years of his life. It's smart and twisty and intense and superbly performed, with Rydell's directorial work lifting the piece to a whole other level. The second, "The Awakening" (with Michael Petroni both scripting and directing from a Fast short story, airing August 11) features Terry O'Quinn ("Lost") and Elisabeth Rohm in a superb hour that blends wartime drama with paranormal undertones to great unsettling effect.

Anne Heche and Malcolm McDowell co-star in the third episode, "Jerry Was a Man," airing August 18 and adapted by writer-director Tolkin from the Heinlein tale. The Harlan Ellison contribution -- boasting the acting talents of a couple of greats named John Hurt and Brian Dennehy -- closes out a provocative, rich, lavishly produced, sharply performed quartet that ABC has seen fit to disdainfully conceal rather than proudly celebrate. But let them trim so much as a minute from the end of "Dancing With the Stars" and we'd never hear the end of it as the audience rose up in spastic rage.

Sounds impressive, doesn't it? Too impressive for the WIFE SWAP network, it appears.

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