Picks and Pans Review: North and South: Book Ii
updated 05/05/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/05/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Wake me when the war is over. The only thing good about last fall's North and South (Book I) was the trash: buxom belles bedded down with the bad guys. But that 12-hour saga ended just as the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter. Now, in the next 12 hours of North and South, you get the serious stuff: battles, brother against brother, and Hal (call me Honest Abe) Holbrook pontificating: "I have sounded the trumpet, and I can never call a retreat." You hear everyone delivering a variation on the sentiment, "I never wanted this war." You hear every cliché from every movie ever made about the Civil War. The only relief from this lite history lesson comes when Terri Garber jumps into the sack and into the smuggling business with Phillip Casnoff as the evil Elkanah Bent. Or when she tries to take her Yankee brother-in-law prisoner but sister Genie Francis holds her at bay with a pitchfork. Only Garber gets the good scenes, the fun ones—and only she knows how to play them: with a wink. Everyone else—Lloyd Bridges, David Ogden Stiers, James Read, Patrick Swayze, Kirstie Alley, Mary Crosby, Lesley-Anne Down and Erica Gimpel—make tin soldiers and porcelain dolls look life-size. (Since only half of the six-night mini was available for review, I didn't get to see Wayne Newton come to the rescue, or Linda Evans.) Sure, the battle scenes are impressive. But it takes heavy artillery to roust a person from the tedium-induced trance of North and South: The Bottomless Saga.