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Archive for Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tune In: Entertaining miniseries has its heart in the right place

February 13, 2011

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I know I’m dating myself, but I miss grand and ambitious miniseries based on some pulpy paperback, star-studded sagas that span decades and generations. Whatever happened to sweeps? Efforts like “The Winds of War” weren’t epic or even that good, but they offered an entertaining take on popular historical fiction. And a breathtaking change in costumes.

With the networks playing sweeps month safe, miniseries fans should not miss the three-part “Masterpiece Classic” (8 p.m., Sunday, PBS, check local listings) “Any Human Heart.” Based on the 2002 novel by William Boyd, “Heart” follows writer, art collector and ambitious lover Logan Mountstuart throughout much of the 20th century. Over the course of three weeks, he’ll be played by Jim Broadbent, Matthew Macfadyen and Sam Claflin in different stages of life.

First seen at Oxford in the 1920s, Mountstuart tries desperately to find love, or at least sex, and embarks on a career as a writer that has him rubbing elbows with Ernest Hemingway, Ian Fleming and others. He’s published well and published badly, develops writer’s block, becomes a journalist and witnesses the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. He marries and divorces an Earl’s daughter, has children with at least two women and all before the end of the first episode! Don’t go looking for great insights into history or literature. Simply enjoy the ride as Mountstuart experiences the tumult of History at the speed of life.

Sunday’s highlights

• The Himalayas beckon on “Nature” (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings).

• Get a head start on the Oscars with the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) (7 p.m., BBC America).

• Seen recently in two commercials during the Super Bowl, Eminem is the most nominated artist to enter the “53rd Annual Grammy Awards” (7 p.m., CBS).

• “Nick News with Linda Ellerbee” (8 p.m., Nickelodeon) looks back at Dr. Martin Luther King’s lesser-known movements and messages.

• Barb considers a career move on “Big Love” (8 p.m., HBO).

• Beverly worries about Sean’s wandering eyes on “Episodes” (8:30 p.m., Showtime)

• Nora’s secret revealed on “Brothers and Sisters” (9 p.m., ABC).

• A filmmaker’s murder galvanizes the police on “Brick City” (9 p.m., Sundance).

Cult choice

Long before he was Grissom of “CSI” fame William Petersen starred in the 1986 thriller “Manhunter” (7:15 p.m., IFC, Sunday), directed by Michael Mann, adapted from “Red Dragon” by Thomas Harris the first of the Hannibal Lector novels.

Sunday series

On two episodes of “Harry’s Law” (NBC), a change of venue (8 p.m.), an elderly client (9 p.m.) ... Marge has a change of hue on “The Simpsons” (7 p.m., Fox) ... Martial Arts on “Bob’s Burgers” (7:30 p.m., Fox) ... One day at a time on “Family Guy” (8 p.m., Fox) ... A family portrait sparks a battle on “Desperate Housewives” (8 p.m., ABC)

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