Arrow-right Camera

Features

‘Nothing Sacred’ Well-Intentioned Drama

Thu., Oct. 16, 1997

I don’t understand why Catholic groups have organized a boycott of ABC’s “Nothing Sacred” (ABC at 8), a show that tries sincerely to portray the life of a young priest (Kevin Anderson). He is trying to do good despite doubts about his future in the priesthood and the church in general.

Maybe it’s the title (and I don’t think it’s a very effective one) that bugs these people the most, because I suspect some have never watched the show.

What is most disconcerting is that if the series is canceled because of low ratings, boycott organizers will take credit for having it yanked off the air - even if the real reason is that the show faces stiff competition from NBC’s Thursday comedy lineup.

I’m wondering, however, what it will mean should CBS’ wholesome and uplifting “Promised Land,” also at 8, survive. If the “Nothing Sacred” critics approve of “Promised Land,” I think they should consider that “Promised Land’s” Russell Greene (Gerald McRaney), like “Nothing Sacred’s” Father Ray, is faced with frequent moral dilemmas.

They both agonize over hard choices. Each is capable of making poor decisions.

The Catholics upset about “Nothing Sacred” are threatened by a television drama that suggests there are priests whose faith is weak.

I can appreciate that there are those who feel that television is an assault on all that is good and that they should fight indecency at every step.

But in prime time, Father Ray is about as decent a person as you can find. He’s just not perfect.

That’s what makes him real. And that’s what some Catholics can’t seem to stand.

Tonight, Father Ray enjoys a day off. Meanwhile, Father Leo feels like he’s not needed after a few bad days.

Highlights

“Friends,” NBC at 8: This could be titled, “The One with the Legal Stuff.”

Joey (Matt LeBlanc) tries to pacify the building maintenance man (Michael G. Hagerty) who wants to have Monica and Rachel (Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston) evicted on the grounds of their illegal sublet. Also, Ross (David Schwimmer) helps Chandler (Matthew Perry) get out of his health club membership.

“Cracker,” ABC at 9: When an infant is kidnapped from a hospital, police are certain the abductor is a man. But “Fitz” (Robert Pastorelli) is convinced they should be looking for a woman.

At home, the crime solver discovers a caper that’s been going on right under his nose.

“Mystery!” KSPS at 8: In “Eye Witness,” Hetty and Geoffrey (Patricia Routledge, Dominic Monaghan) search for a hearing-impaired person who was present when a murder took place.

“Diagnosis Murder,” CBS at 9: The murder of a pro basketball player is the excuse for a guest lineup that includes NBA stars Malik Sealy, Charles O’Bannon, Ed O’Bannon, Brent Barry and Pooh Richardson. Ken Howard (“The White Shadow”) also guest-stars.

“48 Hours,” CBS at 10: The hour looks at hazardous occupations. On FOX, this would be called “The World’s Most Deadly Jobs.” And I have a feeling it will be just about as lightweight.

Cable Calls

“Football,” TNT at 5: San Diego (3-3) visits Kansas City (4-2).

“Finding the Cures for Breast and Ovarian Cancers,” LIFE at 8: Jaclyn Smith and Pierce Brosnan host this hour intended to increase awareness on new developments in the detection and treatment of breast and ovarian cancer. Seven women with cancer are followed through their treatment.

Halle Berry, Helen Hunt, Angela Lansbury, Olivia Newton-John and Rosie O’Donnell make special appearances.

Talk Time

“Tonight,” NBC at 11:35: Actor Keanu Reeves, actor-comedian Rowan Atkinson and musical guest Aaron Neville.

“Late Show With David Letterman,” CBS at 11:35: Mike Wallace (“60 Minutes”), Christine Lahti (“Chicago Hope”) and LL Cool J (“In the House”).

“Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher,” ABC at 12:05 a.m.: Joan Collins and comedienne Lea DeLaria.



Click here to comment on this story »