August 18, 1997 12:00 PM

HBO (Sun., Aug. 17, 10 p.m. ET)

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Anyone who has ever commuted on the New York City subways can vouch for the authenticity of the 10 tales from underground (culled from 1,000 anecdotes sent in by the public) that have been dramatized in this gritty, whimsical and sometimes surreal collection. The best vignette, by John Guare (Six Degrees of Separation), is about a legless, wheelchair-bound panhandler (Dennis Leary) whose misfortunes multiply after he accidentally runs over the shiny new red shoes of an outraged rider (Christine Lahti). Among other memorable encounters: Gregory Hines, as a bored commuter waiting for his train who suddenly realizes that a distraught woman (Anne Heche) is about to leap onto the tracks, and Rosie Perez and Michael McGlone (The Brothers McMullen), who carry on a nearly wordless, yearlong affair as straphangers who rub up against each other every morning. Hold tight.

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