Archive for Saturday, August 30, 2008

Grace’ puts spin on Cinderella tale

August 30, 2008


The 2008 cable romance "For the Love of Grace" (8 p.m. today, Hallmark) puts a reverse spin on the old and moldy Cinderella formula. In this case, a strong woman needs to be rescued from herself.

Grace (Chandra West) has it all. She's a hyper-organized lifestyle writer working on three books at a time, never seen without her PDA by her side. Across town, Steve (Mark Consuelos) is a handsome and rugged firefighter whose only drawback is he cares too much. Did I mention he is a grieving widower? And that he loves to cook? Grace's longtime fiance won't set the date because he's always trying to nail down that one big deal that will allow them to move to the rich side of town, away from all of their friends and the nice "earthy" people Grace grew up with. Gee, I wonder where this could be going.

¢ The Sci Fi movie franchise appears to be on vacation. Don't go looking for those ultra-cheap, made-in-Bulgaria shockers with low budgets and no names. The network that brought you "Mansquito" airs "Jurassic Park" (8 p.m. today, Sci Fi), director Steven Spielberg's ultra-expensive, special-effects-driven sequel generator. Of all the nerve!

If you want to see CGI dinosaurs on the loose in the modern world, check out the British series "Primeval" (8 p.m., BBC America). Tonight: dodos return, carrying venomous vermin.

¢ Encore Westerns presents a digitally remastered edition of the 1962 epic "How the West Was Won" (7 p.m. today, Encore Westerns), a film so long it required three directors and so big it was presented in the wide-screen three-panel Cinerama format. The cast was equally outsized, starring a who's who of Hollywood, including John Wayne, Henry Fonda, James Stewart, Gregory Peck, Richard Widmark, Eli Wallach, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden and Walter Brennan. Debbie Reynolds sings a few songs, and, if that's not enough, it's narrated by Spencer Tracy.

¢ Turner Classic Movies wraps up its monthlong "Summer Under the Stars" film festival with two days dedicated to the movies of Katharine Hepburn (today) and Spencer Tracy (Sunday), two stars linked both on and off the big screen. Catch them together in "Pat and Mike" (5:15 p.m. today, TCM), "Woman of the Year" (7 p.m. Saturday), "Without Love" (1:30 p.m. Sunday) and "Adam's Rib" (3:30 p.m. Sunday).

¢ Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) makes an effort to invade the all-male bastion of after-hours bull sessions on "Mad Men" (9 p.m. Sunday, AMC). The first five episodes of this season's "Mad Men" can be seen in marathon fashion, beginning at 4 p.m. on AMC.

While its fans are faithful, this much-admired series has yet to attract a large audience. Part soap opera and part anthropological study of the gender roles and office mores of a bygone age, "Mad Men" often seems deliberately joyless. It offers sobering proof that good writing, interesting characters and meticulous art direction are not enough to produce a hit show - especially when an audience is held at an emotional arm's length.

¢ There's not much gossip on "Clean House" (8 p.m., Sunday, Style), but there's always plenty of stuff. Too much stuff. The focus on "Clean House" is decluttering. It recognizes and drives home the fact that buying too much can be a kind of mental illness. That's brave on a medium dedicated to always selling you more and more of the latest and indispensable.


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