CBS (Sun., May 23, 9 p.m. ET)
There’s talk of forgiving and moving on in the last stages of this TV movie. But its director, Michael Landon Jr., seems more intent on making sure the world knows that his famous father (who died of cancer in 1991) was a hypocrite. No matter how well-founded the son’s grievances, his film memoir feels vindictive as well as heavy-handed.
Though his shows (Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven) preach family values, TV star Michael Landon (an unconvincing John Schneider) walks out on his second family and starts a third. “I don’t deserve this,” complains discarded wife No. 2 (Cheryl Ladd). “No, honey, but I deserve this,” says Landon, explaining his switch to a younger, more exciting woman. Disillusioned, his son Mike (played in adolescence by Trevor O’Brien and as a young man by Joel Berti) spends years as a self-pitying, substance-abusing screwup. The story ends on a note of reconciliation, but the dominant chord is one of resentment.
Bottom Line: Honesty is fine, but this smacks of getting even with Dad