Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Clean Escape

The opening episode of MASTERS OF SCIENCE FICTION, "A Clean Escape," was certainly something of a throwback. This two-hander stars middle-aged Oscar nominees Judy Davis and Sam Waterston, was written by Sam Egan (an Emmy nominee for QUINCY, M.E.), and directed by Mark Rydell (an Oscar nominee for ON GOLDEN POND). I can imagine ABC execs tearing their hair out trying to figure out how to sell this show to the precious 18-to-34s, not understanding that art has no boundaries and doesn't need shaky-cam effects, a hip-hop score, and sexy young performers to touch them. Not that it matters, 'cause there ain't no 18-to-34s home watching ABC on Saturday night anyway. Neither was I, for that matter.

It's hard to believe ABC has room on its schedule for FAT MARCH (WTF?) and not for MASTERS OF SCIENCE FICTION, the premiere of which was a smart, somewhat predictable, intelligently directed and performed post-apocalypse drama. After seeing Waterston on LAW & ORDER for so long, I'd almost forgotten what a great actor he is, and he and Davis were perfectly cast in this tale of a psychiatrist (Davis) trying to break through to a man (Waterston) who can't remember anything beyond forty minutes ago. Outside of some crummy CGI effects and a bland score (par for the TV course), "A Clean Escape" is an absorbing story well-told by veterans who know their craft. Click here to see a clip.

Next week, the great Terry O'Quinn (LOST) and Elizabeth Rohm (coincidentally, also from LAW & ORDER) star in "The Awakening," written and directed by Michael Petroni (THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS).

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