Picks and Pans Review: Timeline

updated 02/27/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/27/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

PBS (Wed., Feb. 22, 8:30 P.M. ET)

C

It's not bad enough that TV news may very well have made a mess of modern democracy. Now some TV folks want to mess up the rest of recorded history. This new series wonders how TV would have covered the Crusades, the Black Death and other funfests of olde (à la You Are There). Timeline reports on these events with a real anchor, Steve Bell, and lots of correspondents all wearing medieval mufti. The production is impressive. But Timeline spends too much effort imitating—and not, unfortunately, parodying—TV news and too little effort clarifying history. It is as lively and compelling as a Sunday-school coloring book.

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