Picks and Pans Review: More Tales of the City

UPDATED 06/08/1998 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/08/1998 at 01:00 AM EDT

Showtime

(Sun.-Mon., June 7-8, 9 p.m. ET)

Here's a sequel that really is "long-awaited." Tales of the City was a hit miniseries on public TV in 1994, but PBS pulled funding from the follow-up. (Coincidentally or not, the move came after conservative groups objected to the gay sexual content of the original.) More Tales was in limbo until Showtime teamed with British and Canadian production companies to revive the project.

Though we're glad the six-hour More Tales will finally air, watching it sometimes seems to take as long as awaiting it. The '70s San Franciscans of the miniseries (taken from novels by Armistead Maupin) muddle through complications and coincidences whose low probability and slow development are undeniably reminiscent of daytime soap opera. One character even has amnesia. But until it turns macabre near the end, More Tales maintains the humanistic tone set by Mrs. Madrigal (Olympia Dukakis), the nurturing landlady with a tangled past who embraces all her tenants as "children" in the family of man.

Bottom Line: If you loved the first, even More won't be enough

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