Picks and Pans Review: Ms. Scrooge

updated 12/08/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/08/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

USA (Wed., Dec. 10, 9 p.m. ET)

C+

That's Ebenita, not Ebenezer. And she disdains holiday cheer as "garbage," not "humbug." The chief virtue of this Dickens update should have been Cicely Tyson's presence in the title role, but her disappointing performance is based on the dubious notion that a nasal voice bespeaks a tight fist. Katherine Helmond is too cheerful as Marley's ghost (first name Maude), and the visiting spirits are a faceless lot. But there is one shining moment: The miser's clergyman nephew (Michael Beach) de livers a folksy but profound homily that captures the meaning of Christmas better than any dozen carols.

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