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Picks and Pans Review: The Children of Times Square

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ABC (Mon., Mar. 3, 9 p.m. ET)


The Children of Times Square looks like some sick attempt to update Oliver Twist. Two young Olivers—a runaway rich kid from the suburbs and a good-hearted poor kid from the city—are recruited into Fagin’s den of thieves by an Artful Dodger. But this Fagin—Howard (Ragtime) Rollins—doesn’t have the kids pick pockets; he has them sell cocaine on Times Square. Which is made to seem preferable to the other childhood pastimes portrayed here: addiction, heterosexual and homosexual prostitution, theft and murder. If Charles Dickens were alive now, he probably would write novels about the evils that prey on children today, the same things the networks make movies about every week: kidnapping, molestation and all the ills above. But surely he’d also write a novel about how the networks exploit children to scare their parents into watching these shows.