May 30, 1994 12:00 PM

CBS (Tues., May 31, 9 p.m. ET)


CBS News takes the wraps off a promising new venture, Before Your Eyes. This sporadic series of documentaries chronicles at some length stories too messy, too sprawling and altogether too personal to ever be encapsulated on the evening news. Call it 4800 Hours.

The show’s pilot follows the Coalters, a blue-collar family in Michigan, just days after the second of their three children, 14-year-old Kristin, runs off with a 49-year-old long-haul trucker accused of sexually abusing his own young daughter. Cameramen exhaustively record the Coalters’ desperate efforts to locate and retrieve their girl, tracking events to some very unexpected resolutions.

Though the material doesn’t quite merit its two-hour length, it is set to a very effective soundtrack of country and pop songs. This piece of video vérité—so unvarnished it carries splinters—provides an in-depth look at small-town life and a family’s anguish.

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