March 28, 1997 in Features

‘Mysteries’ Looks At Cloning Of The Dead

John Martin New York Times Syndicate
 

It seems that only yesterday cloning was the stuff of science-fiction movies. Today, it is a reality, and with it comes serious ethical concerns.

NBC’s “Unsolved Mysteries” at 8 looks at one of the unsettling possibilities: cloning the dead.

Interviews with molecular biologist Dr. Lee Silver and ethics professor Dr. Ronald Munson explore the potential benefits of taking a cell from a dead person and using the DNA to produce an identical human. Many, however, find the idea horrific.

The possible applications are truly frightening. A dying child or loved one could be cloned. Governments might clone dying leaders.

Do we want a future of superleaders? What about the plot of Ira Levin’s novel “The Boys From Brazil,” in which Nazis cloned 94 boys with tissue from the dead Fuehrer?

The report looks at what governments are doing to limit cloning and how a multimillion dollar research effort could soon lead to perfecting cloning techniques.

Highlights

“JAG,” CBS at 8: Harm and Mac (David James Elliott, Catherine Bell) defend a homeless Vietnam vet (Bruce Weitz, “Hill Street Blues”) accused of using excessive force in killing three men he stopped during a holdup. But there’s a twist to the story that, while it stretches credibility, makes for an intriguing hour.

“Dateline NBC,” NBC at 9: Stone Phillips interviews country star Tanya Tucker.

“Millennium,” FOX at 9: Frank suffers an unexplained memory loss that leaves him with disturbing questions, including a vague sense that the incident is related to someone’s death. The puzzle leads to a deranged doctor and an experimental drug.

“Step By Step,” ABC at 9:30: Al (Christine Lakin) is offered marijuana at a rock concert. Her decision is clouded by what she finds out about her mother’s (Suzanne Somers) wilder, younger days.

“Nash Bridges,” CBS at 10: There’s a certain charm in Don Johnson’s crime series, but the standoff with a gunman in tonight’s opening scenes is so removed from reality that it’s laughable. Nash encounters a sexy cop from Chicago (Melinda Clarke) who is in San Francisco on the trail of a fugitive murderer (Tony Genaro).

“Crisis Center,” NBC at 10: Kathleen Wilhoite (“ER”) guest-stars as a housekeeper who arrives at the center saying she has been mugged and wounded after witnessing the murder of a prostitute.

Also, Dr. Peter Barrow (Kurt Deutsch) joins the staff for a six-month stint and immediately alienates everyone. Kathy (Kellie Martin), however, finds herself attracted to the “brash but charismatic” neuropsychiatrist.

Cable Calls

“Basketball,” ESPN at 4: Hoop dreams in Cincinnati. The “Final Four” meet in the semifinals of the NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball championship.

“Champions on Ice,” USA at 8: Recently crowned national champs Todd Eldredge and Tara Lipinski headline an exhibition taped March 3 in Asheville, N.C.

“Carried Away” (1996), MAX at 8: Dennis Hopper stars in this rather blunt drama as a 47-year-old rural teacher who has a forbidden affair with a 17-year-old student (Amy Locane). Hopper is marvelous in these tortured roles, and he’s the bright spot in this engaging but somewhat obscure tale.

Amy Irving plays the woman he has been dating for years. Gary Busey is the girl’s father.

“The Easter Promise,” FAM at 10: This animated special, airing in the “700 Club” spot, tells the story of Christ’s last days through the eyes of a young boy.

Talk Time

“Tonight,” NBC at 11:35: Actor-comedian Chris Farley, actress Shannen Doherty, and musical group The Presidents of the United States of America. Repeat.

“Late Show With David Letterman,” CBS at 11:35: Actress Teri Garr and musical group The Cardigans.

“Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher,” ABC at 12:35 a.m.: Keenan Ivory Wayans, Jerry O’Connell and former Georgia congressman-actor Ben Jones. “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” NBC at 12:35 a.m.: Actor-comedian Dana Carvey and director-actor Garry Marshall.

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