Picks and Pans Review: The 70s

updated 05/01/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/01/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Sun.-Mon., April 30-May 1, 9 p.m. ET)

"Don't know much about history," Sam Cooke sang. Though his "Wonderful World" is from 1960, it would be a fitting theme for The '70s, a miniseries crowded with stereotypes and clouded by chronological confusion. (To cite but one example: The script places the Watergate break-in after the 1972 Democratic Convention.) NBC touts the drama as "MTV meets the History Channel" and wants you to know the soundtrack CD is for sale.

Like last year's The '60s, this saga marches several young characters through virtually every major event and trend of a decade—starting with the 1970 killings at their alma mater, Kent State University. Byron (Brad Rowe) goes from Republican dirty trickster to Alaska pipeline worker to future environmental lawyer. His sister Christie (Amy Smart) is a model, go-go dancer, cultist and aspiring therapist, in that order. His sometime girlfriend Eileen (Vinessa Shaw) is a slowly emerging feminist. His friend Dexter (Guy Torry) is a black-power activist and theater owner who becomes a drug counselor and winds up deprogramming cult-crazed Christie. Except for the archival news footage, the four-hour drama is a credibility-free zone.

Bottom Line: Synthetic as '70s polyester

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