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Look For Race-Car Action On ‘Fast Track’

Faye Zuckerman New York Times Syndicate

Showtime is all revved up and ready to go with its fast-action race-car series “Fast Track,” premiering as a two-hour-long movie Sunday at 8.

Weekly episodes will start airing Aug. 16 at 10.

Consider this series a hipper “Diagnosis Murder” with middle-aged Keith Carradine as an inquiring doctor. His character, Richard Beckett, is a former professional race-car driver turned Formula 1 doctor. (He likes to prove his points by jumping into race cars and going fast around hairpin turns).

Beckett is being wooed by a sleazy racetrack owner (Duncan Regehr) to take charge of the track’s medical facility. Beckett, however, wants to do more than dispense aspirin and fix a few broken legs.

He smells a cover-up regarding a recent crash at the track. (The race car flipped up and off the track and was impaled on a telephone pole. The footage is paralyzing.)

Mixed in with the racing action are lots of suspicious characters, such as a 24-year-old lawyer who can’t keep her hands off Beckett. There’s a likable bartender (Tristan Rogers) and an assortment of odd mechanics willing to help Beckett with his investigations.

This speedway drama is brought to you by Larry Gelbart (“MASH”) and Gary Markowitz (“Eerie, Indiana”), both of whom create endearing characters, sardonic moments and enough story to keep even nonracing fans amused.

This “Fast Track” is accessible. And when cars aren’t being crashed, it’ll crack you up.


“Comedy Club Superstars,” ABC tonight at 9: Back for another airing is this barrel of laughs. You can catch examples of early stand-up performances by such funny folks as Richard Lewis, Rita Rudner and Tim Allen. A comics’ roundtable discussion (and also insightful commentary from Paul Reiser and Jerry Seinfeld) delivers an inside view of the craft.

“Beyond Belief,” FOX Sunday at 7: Back with a brand new episode is this fact-or-fiction show in which host James Brolin tells at the end of the hour which of the segments are real. Among the reports: an elderly couple that poisons the homeless; a murdering husband; a girl locked in a vault; and a rose garden with extraordinary powers. They all sound fabricated to me.

“The Sleepwalker Killing” (1997), NBC Sunday at 9: Zzzzzzz. Oh. Sorry. Drifted off there even thinking of this turgid fact-based movie about a young man (Charles Esten) who murders his mother-in-law in a late-night attack. Lawyers mount a defense based on the theory he was sleepwalking. Repeat.

“Is There Life Out There?” (1994), CBS Sunday at 9: You may remember this family-in-turmoil tale.

Reba McEntire played a homemaker determined to get a college education. Her desire causes predictable family resentment in a tale that never rises above the grade of C.

Parents’ Pick

“Disney’s Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra,” DISN tonight at 7 and 10:55: Some 82 musicians, ages 8 to 12, wow audiences with their musical talent. Tia and Tamera Mowry (and brother Tahj) host the concert, which features a performance by Michael Bolton.

Cable Calls

“Kingpin” (1996), SHOW tonight at 8: The world of professional bowling receives a ribbing in this raucous comedy. Woody Harrelson plays a has-been who wants to get even with his archrival (Bill Murray).

An Amish bowler (Randy Quaid) just might fulfill Harrelson’s needs in this talky tale that gets a few strikes.

“Courage Under Fire” (1996), HBO tonight at 9: This intelligent drama will leave you wondering about the meaning of courage. That’s what Denzel Washington’s character must determine about a pilot (Meg Ryan) who lost her life in the Gulf War.

Was she courageous enough to deserve the Medal of Honor?

Through flashbacks, you can view the decision-making process.

“Pacific Blue,” USA Sunday at 8; and “Silk Stalkings,” Sunday at 9: Offering relief from summer repeats are the season premieres of these two crime shows.

“Blue” returns for a third season with a look at gambling addiction. “Stalkings” kicks off season seven with an eerie tale about a voodoo priest.

Movie Marquee

“One of Her Own” (1994), ABC Sunday at 9: The premise will send a shiver up and down your spine: When a rookie policewoman is raped by a fellow officer, her attacker’s male cohorts and department supervisors close ranks to enforce “the code” that says that cops protect their own at all costs.

Lori Loughlin (“Full House”) plays Toni Stroud, who is assaulted by veteran officer Charlie Lloyd (Greg Evigan).

Initially she stays silent, fearing that reporting the incident will damage her career. But she comes forward when another woman charges that Lloyd raped her.

Loughlin is credibly cast against type, but Evigan (“My Two Dads”) is even better as the despicable Lloyd. He’ll make your skin crawl.

But what’s missing is character development among the handful of officers who stand up for the bad cop. It’s hard to believe that, given the creep that Lloyd is, the code would apply.

It makes you wonder how “actual” it all is. Repeat.

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