Features


Chases Abound In ‘Dead By Midnight’

SATURDAY, NOV. 22, 1997

John Glover is rapidly becoming one of TV’s more familiar psychopaths.

Last week in “Medusa’s Child,” he dazzled audiences with his performance as a crazy scientist who created a deadly nuclear device.

In “Dead By Midnight” (ABC, Sunday at 9) he’s back. This time he’s Armand Drake, a mad man in charge of a top-secret government project to design half-human/half-robot beings.

The test model, John Larkin (Timothy Hutton), an administrative assistant who died in a car wreck, starts to override his bits and bytes with too many human characteristics. He’s having independent thoughts and memories beyond the preprogrammed ones.

Larkin eventually escapes from the lab where he was created. He remembers he has a daughter and, in the manner of “The Fugitive,” escapes authorities to search for her.

“Midnight” starts out on a fresh note with a feeling of mystery and unanswered questions. Larkin seems to be living an ideal life - a wife, kids and a good job. Yet, something is amiss in his dreams.

As soon as it’s revealed that he’s a lab experiment, the movie is off on the usual by-the-numbers cat-and-mouse stuff. You’ve seen the chase scenes before on nearly every hourlong crime drama.

Larkin is designed as a ‘90s “Six-Million Dollar Man.” His superstrength and superior thinking skills come in handy at the right moments so he can make a fast escape.

With an open-ended finish like the one here, one can’t help but smell a series pilot.

Highlights

“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” CBS tonight at 8: This two-parter about a diphtheria outbreak concludes tonight. It packs a few punches with Dr. Quinn coping with a personal tragedy. It’s a tear-jerker.

“Adventures with the Duchess,” ABC tonight at 8: Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, travels across the United States and the Bahamas on various quests, including a dive in shark-invested waters.

“Saturday Night Live,” NBC tonight at 11:30: New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani laughs it up as guest host.

“The Wonderful World of Disney,” ABC Sunday at 7: Tim Allen ho-ho-hos his way through 1994’s “The Santa Clause,” a fanciful tale of a divorced dad who fills in for Santa.

“Touched by an Angel,” CBS Sunday at 8: The show heads for Broadway and delivers an entertaining hour about the dog-eat-dog world of the Great White Way. Carol Burnett lends her multiple talents as an acting teacher who tries to persuade her actress-hopeful daughter (played by Burnett’s real-life daughter, Carrie Hamilton) to give up her dream of making it on the stage.

Rita Moreno adds strength as a competitive actress and someone from the teacher’s (Burnett) past.

“What the Deaf Man Heard” (1997), CBS Sunday at 9: The simplicity of this tale makes it a gem. The premise is straightforward: What if a tiny boy is abandoned on a bus, and the end of the line is a small Georgia town?

The child grows up in the community using silence as a survival technique. Matthew Modine plays the abandoned child as an adult, who continues to pretend to be deaf.

You’ll applaud this piece for all its great character development. Of note is James Earl Jones as a moonshiner.

Tom Skerritt and Judith Ivey play two locals who take care of the abandoned boy.

It’s worth hopping on a bus and making a visit to Barrington, Ga. The folks are friendly and, well, a little different.

“Liberty! The American Revolution,” KSPS Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 8: America’s struggle for independence is covered in this thorough documentary featuring readings from actors playing historical characters (Philip Bosco is Benjamin Franklin). It’s as stunning and engaging as a Ken Burns documentary.

“X-Files,” FOX Sunday at 9: Reports of a monster with glowing red eyes has Mulder and Scully stumped. This episode will keep you guessing.

Cable Calls

“Boxing,” HBO tonight at 7: George Foreman takes on Shannon Briggs live from Atlantic City.

“Four Days in November,” TNT tonight at 8: The 1964 documentary about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is filled with commentary, news footage, recreations and insights into the tragedy.

“National Geographic Explorer,” TBS Sunday at 4: A natural whodunit comes to the forefront in fascinating “Man-Eaters of India.” The two-hour-long documentary examines the cases of some 75 people (mostly young children) who were snatched and ravaged by some kind of humanattacking animal.

The primary suspect is the endangered Indian wolf.

“Raging Planet,” DISC Sunday at 9: In the first of three new installments of the documentary series about natural disasters and phenomena, lightning takes center stage. Rare footage of different types of electrical storms is paired with segments on survivors of lightning strikes. NASA spokespeople discuss precautions taken to protect space endeavors from the electrical disasters.

“Paul McCartney’s Standing Stone,” A&E; Sunday at 7: The former Beatle shines in an entertaining classical-music show featuring the 92-piece London Symphony Orchestra and 200 voices. It’s being billed as a “symphonic poem” inspired by Celtic monoliths such as Stonehenge.

Movie Marquee

“Legends of the Fall” (1994), NBC Sunday at 8: This turn-of-the-century rural drama is a hypnotic love story peppered with sibling rivalry. Brad Pitt, Henry Thomas and Aidan Quinn play brothers competing for the affection of the same woman (Julia Ormond). Over the years, the family copes with death and dying. It’s a dark movie with lots of baggage.



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