Picks and Pans Review: A League of Their Own
CBS (Saturdays, 9 p.m. ET)
This series came to TV with high hopes. After all, it is based on director Penny Marshall's hit movie of last summer about two sisters competing in a women's baseball league during World War II. Marshall shepherded the TV project as executive producer and directed the pilot. The writers of the movie, Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz, also wrote a few of the episodes. There's a lot of talent involved, but the show's a bust.
It lacks the sentimental, sororal spirit at the center of the film. Mostly what it's missing, though, is humor, which is a not unimportant element when you're putting on a sitcom.
As far as the acting goes, it ranges from the weak (Carey Lowell in the Geena Davis role as lanky catcher Dottie) to the game but doomed (Sam McMurray, following Tom Hanks as manager Jimmy Dugan) to the good (Christine Elise as Dottie's competitive sister, Kit). In fact, Elise's performance as the scrappy pitcher is the only improvement over the big-screen version. (Lori Petty played Kit in the movie.) Judging by her tortured motion, however, I'd wager that if the camera ever followed the trajectory of one of Elise's pitches after it left her hand, we'd see it land about four feet from the mound. That's fitting. Most of the gags are weak and off-target too.
This is strictly bush League. (One trivia note: The second episode was directed by Ted Bessell. Veteran TV viewers may remember him as Marlo Thomas's flustered boyfriend, Donald, on That Girl.)
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