Earthquake in New York
CBS (Sun., Nov. 14, and Tues., Nov. 16, 9 p.m. ET)
Only in New York. The same week that PBS builds the city up in New York: A Documentary Film
, CBS tears it down in this old-fashioned disaster epic.
does its quake damage by the numbers. First, it spends about 40 minutes introducing the characters: the fire chief (Tom Skerritt), who's fighting with the mayor (Charles S. Dutton); the mayor's public-defender daughter (Lisa Nicole Carson), who just helped a smarmy guy (JR Bourne) beat a murder rap; a mom (Sharon Lawrence) who feels guilty about a car accident that left her son with a limp; a struggling ballerina (Jennifer Garner
from Time of Your Life
) riding with an immigrant cabbie (Frederick Weller). Then Manhattan's ready to rumble. See the Guggenheim Museum crack up! See the Statue of Liberty crash down!
Skerritt and Dutton maintain their dignity amid the emergency-management clichés. But Bourne's true colors are too obvious, Weller's Russian folk wisdom is too cloying, and Lawrence's climactic heroics register 8.2 on the absurdity scale.
Bottom Line: Too many fault lines