Picks and Pans Review: Nothing Sacred
Since gradualism is not a grabber, TV drama series typically start by plunging the protagonist into crises. That's easy when he's a cop or a doctor, to whom life-and-death situations come naturally. But Father Ray (Kevin Anderson) of Nothing Sacred has a quieter calling: Catholic priest. How to get him off and running? The Sept. 18 premiere turns to the two reliable sources of Church melodrama: the vow of celibacy and the dark mystery of the confessional. An old flame (well-played by Wendy Gazelle) pops into Father Ray's life when her stepson enters the parish school, and the priest is believably drawn to her. Meantime a young woman confesses to Father Ray that she is considering an abortion, secretly records his noncommittal response and sends the tape to the bishop, apparently to prove the priest's deviation from Catholic doctrine. The situation is far-fetched and its resolution even less credible.
Father Ray also fights to keep the parish soup kitchen open in the face of opposition from what he loudly calls "yuppie scum," while the regular supporting characters quickly establish salient traits: Father Leo (Brad Sullivan), experienced, gently cynical; Father Eric (Scott Michael Campbell), pious, wet behind the ears; and Sister Maureen (Ann Dowd), insistently feminist. We like Father Ray's honesty and social conscience, but can he settle down and practice his vocation without questioning it every five minutes? Watch and pray.