Alex: The Life of a Child
Alex, about the death of a child, and Causes, about Vietnam vets dying from Agent Orange, weren’t like all the other disease-of-the-week movies. These shows earned the tears they drew with honest emotion and not a second’s exploitation.
All Is Forgiven
A wonderful Bess Armstrong-Carol Kane sitcom about soaps. So it’s canceled. So NBC isn’t perfect.
Edge of Darkness
This hidden British gem about nuclear waste and bad guys, syndicated sporadically, was the year’s most thrilling show. Masterpiece Theatre should have imported this rouser instead of that snoozer Lord Mountbatten.
Home Shopping Network
We may be sick of cubic zirconias, but HSN latched onto an idea whose time had come (and soon, we hope, will go): mixing two American passions—shopping and TV.
It’s Garry Shandling’s Show
Shandling’s hilarious tribute to Burns and Allen and Benny is the freshest and best show of the new season. The encouraging news is that this bit of innovation comes from cable.
Lawyer-bashing as a new and fun sport.
Two cousins prove what Lucy’s show couldn’t, that slapstick is still funny.
Peter the Great
For once, a spectacle that lived up to the name, with great performances from Jan Niklas and Hanna Schygulla.
In the story of Renee Richards née Richard Raskind, Vanessa Redgrave played both sides of the net with a lot of humanity (if not quite so much credibility).
The President, Johnny Carson, Henry Kissinger, Dustin Hoffman and the rest of the world’s most powerful get pilloried as puppets. Mean English genius.