02/18/1991 at 01:00 AM EST
TNT (Sun., Feb. 17, 8 P.M. ET)
Ah, now this is what a miniseries should be: a lavish pageant, full of grandiloquent actors, fabulous costumes and magnificent architecture, all put in service to intrigue, power, romance and hints of the ever-popular kinky royal sex.
Catherine (Julia Ormond) is born to a minor German prince. She is 16 when she and her mother (Marthe Keller) are brought to St. Petersburg by the Empress Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave). Catherine marries the feebleminded Peter (Reece Dinsdale), heir to the Russian throne, and the mini, which concludes Monday night, follows Catherine until she deposes Peter and is crowned Czarina in 1762.
Christopher Plummer, Franco Nero, Mark Frankel and Maximilian Schell also star in this gilt-bedecked extravaganza, filmed in and around Leningrad. While the writing tends to be stiff, the spectacle is overwhelming.