08/17/1987 at 01:00 AM EDT
Showtime (Sun., Aug. 16, 9 p.m. ET)
Like Family, Eight Is Enough, Cosby and half of TV, the two-part drama Home Fires tries to capture a little time in the life of the biggest common denominator of all, the family. But consider this clan. Mom is crackers—or, in TV parlance, she lost her vertical hold and was sent to the repair shop after she attacked her daughter with a potato knife; the poor demented soul thought she was being stalked by a mass murderer. Stepmom is being stalked by an amorous art student who took her to bed once. Dad, a lawyer, has to expose a colleague who bribed a witness into lying and then comes home to chase a masked burglar out of his den. The teen son sneaks nudie magazines into the house while the teen daughter sneaks in pot. The toddler son finger-paints pictures of graveyards; he's obsessed with death. If this is the typical American family, then let's just give up, turn off the lights and leave now; I'll meet you all in Australia. There are, to be fair, a few sweet moments and endearing performances from Guy (Lucas) Boyd as Dad and Amy (Bobo the Dog Boy) Steel as Stepmom. But most times these characters speak in tongues: psychobabble ("You have no self-knowledge at all") or clichés ("I don't think I can live without you"). The stories they tell are ludicrous and left dangling at the end—perhaps because the producers are hoping to make a sequel. Fine. I won't be here to see it. I'll be in Melbourne.