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Archive for Monday, September 4, 2006

NBC serves up refried nostalgia

September 4, 2006

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The nostalgia mill continues to churn. "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Diff'rent Strokes" (7 p.m., NBC) offers dramatic reenactments of the heyday of the popular comedy that brought the NBC network back from the brink of oblivion in the late 1970s, and whose bright young stars descended into personal unhappiness, abuse and legal troubles. Original "Strokes" actors Todd Bridges and Gary Coleman appear in on-camera interviews.

This grim material has been pre-chewed, pre-digested and regurgitated in so many "True Hollywood Story"-style formats that one can watch this recreation only for awkward laughs. In fact, the only redeeming part of "Strokes" is Saul Rubinek's turn as the brusque super-producer Fred Silverman.

¢ Along similar lines, "True Hollywood Story" (7 p.m., E!) profiles actor Michael J. Fox, recalling his early hits "Family Ties" and the "Back to the Future" movie franchise, his "Spin City" comeback and his fight with Parkinson's disease. Colleagues and co-stars, including Barbara Walters, Denis Leary, Woody Harrelson and Lea Thompson, discuss their feelings about Fox.

¢ Elisabeth Rohm ("Law & Order") stars in "The Amber Alert Story" (8 p.m., Lifetime), based on the true story of the 1996 abduction of Amber Hagerman. Rohm portrays the girl's mother, who embarked on a personal crusade to change the way law enforcement responds to child abductions.

¢ Comic Dane Cook offers observations about life, lying and even crying on the special "Dane Cook Vicious Circle" (8 p.m., HBO). Performed in a massive sports arena, Cook performs before a loud audience that shouts and shrieks at his every utterance as if he were a sports superhero, pop star or religious idol. Although Cook's routine is occasionally funny, "Vicious" emphasizes the slavish conformity and adulation of the crowd. It's more about conformity and volume than comedy.

¢ The cult comedy "Arrested Development" has found a new home. Repeats air on the G4 network at 10:30 p.m., beginning this evening.

¢ Nicholas Brendon and Charisma Carpenter ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") star in the 2006 TV original movie "Relative Chaos" (7 p.m., Family), about a family that takes friendly competitions to absurd levels.

¢ Jay Manuel ("America's Next Top Model") hosts "Style Her Famous" (9 p.m., Style), a show in which ordinary folks get makeovers based on the look of rich Hollywood stars. In tonight's "Famous," a divorced woman wants to look like Angelina Jolie so she can return to the dating scene. Good luck, lady.

Tonight's other lights

¢ Mechanical breakdowns on "Prison Break" (6 p.m., Fox).

¢ Sarah's story begins to emerge on "Vanished" (7 p.m., Fox).

¢ Brenda and Fritz collaborate to save the life of a protected witness on the second-season finale of "The Closer" (7 p.m., TNT).

¢ A gang targets Horatio on "CSI: Miami" (8 p.m., CBS).

¢ Kelsey Grammer guest stars on "Medium" (8 p.m., NBC).

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