September 18, 2000 12:00 PM

Fox Family Channel (Sun., Sept. 17, 8 p.m. ET)

Show of the week

He left these shores just over two months ago, and already we have a two-hour movie about Elién, the Cuban boy who survived an ocean crossing and his mother’s drowning, learned the pleasures of chocolate milk while living with Miami relatives and sparked an ideological war that ended with his reunion with Papa. If he had stayed longer, perhaps he’d get an instant miniseries.

As it is, this is a useless, feeble docudrama. All the participants in the complicated tale, from Uncle Lazaro to Attorney General Janet Reno, are given equal weight and equal sympathy. Castro himself (played in a brief scene by Michael Sorich) seems kindly when he asks Juan Miguel Gonzalez (Esai Morales) whether he wants his boy back. (Was Juan really given the option to let Elian stay?) The show is aimed at families, but kids shouldn’t necessarily be given the impression that world events are shaped by nice people. Like Elian’s milk, history has been made sweet and bland. T.G. Bottom Line: Little boy lost

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