Picks and Pans Review: Monday, January 9

updated 01/09/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/09/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

ABC (9-11 p.m. ET)

A disappointing drama about the once-forbidden TV subject of incest. The subject is worthy, affecting perhaps one out of every ten families, experts say. But the TV movie is so melodramatic that it trips over its good intentions. Fourteen-year-old Roxana (Testament) Zal is excellent as the 13-year-old who reveals the sordid story of her father's (off-screen) relations with her. Dancing nervously on her first date or speaking to a counselor, Zal effectively conveys Amelia's confusion and anger. Ted (Cheers) Danson has his moments as the father, but he's frequently adrift in the drama. In one horrendous scene that is almost kitsch, the disgraced father gets turned on while watching a Shirley Temple movie. Glenn (The Big Chill) Close is all technique and little warmth as the mother. But the real culprit is the script by William (Too Far to Go) Hanley. The parents do not confront each other until almost the end, and when they do, they're quickly aided by unctuous social workers and therapists. In an admirable attempt to show that incestuous families may be helped, Hanley has spent too much time talking to therapists and not enough time creating characters who can make this problem compelling.

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