Picks and Pans Review: Fallen Angels

updated 08/16/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/16/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Showtime (Sun., Aug. 15, 10 p.m. ET)

Overall Grade: B

This six-part series is made up of half-hour mysteries, all homages to the film noir style of the '40s. Dark and hard-boiled, it is full of grifters, corrupt cops, dangerous dames and violent ends.

The project, which began airing on alternate Sundays at the beginning of August, has attracted big-ticket talent both in front of the camera—James Woods, Isabella Rossellini, Gary Old-man, among others—and behind it—Phil Joanou and Steven Soderbergh are among the directors.

This week's installment, "I'll Be Waiting," directed by Tom Hanks, is based on a Raymond Chandler story. It stars Bruno Kirby as a hotel dick fascinated by a beautiful, imperiled guest (Marg Helgenberger). Hanks employs clever shots, but his piece is less strikingly lit than other segments.

While the series is an interesting exercise in style, the stories, grim and lacking in surprise, tend to be more portentous than eventful. The best of the lot are September's "The Frightening Frammis," promisingly helmed by first-time director Tom Cruise, and the series finale, "Since I Don't Have You," set in 1948, in which Gary Busey plays a legman for both millionaire aviator Howard Hughes and gangster Mickey Cohen.

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