Monday, January 21, 2002
Addicts of the Lifetime network's special brand of guilty pleasure should clear their calendars. The first half of tonight's drama "Video Voyeur: The Susan Wilson Story" (8 p.m., Lifetime, TV-14, L, S) has all of the hallmarks of a "woman-in-peril" classic.
As unbelievable as it sounds, the gorgeous, model-thin Angie Harmon is quite convincing as the sweet, naive, down-home Louisiana girl, Susan Wilson. She and her husband, Gary (Dale Midkiff), get a chance to buy their dream house, thanks to new neighbor Steve Glover (Jamey Sheridan), one of Gary's best friends and a church elder. Steve goes out of his way to introduce the Wilsons to the neighborhood and get them both involved in church activities. At first, he seems like the nicest guy.
"Video Voyeur" may be based on an actual news story, but it unfolds like 1,000 TV dramas. In TV movies, the friendly Christian guy always turns out to be a sicko. Sheridan does a great job here as the gregarious Glover, who bombards the Wilsons with hospitality and unwelcome neighborly gestures. It's only a matter of time before his seedy secret comes to light.
Unfortunately, "Voyeur" slows to a crawl as soon as the Wilsons learn how Glover has violated their privacy. The film lurches from the unrealistic to the preachy, as Susan turns her victimization into a cause. But for the first hour or so, "Voyeur" pushes all of the right buttons, presenting a great, creepy melodrama. Not for the kids.
ï¿½ All four of UPN's Monday-night comedies will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day with stories about tolerance, respect and remembrance. On "The Hughleys" (7 p.m., UPN, TV-PG), Darryl's quip ruffles feathers and threatens to sabotage his son's efforts to honor King. Flex learns of his special connection to the civil rights leader on "One on One" (7:30 p.m., UPN, TV-PG). Nikki and the professor teach Kim a history lesson on "The Parkers" (8 p.m., UPN, TV-PG). On "Girlfriends" (8:30 p.m., UPN, TV-14), Joan confronts her starchy legal colleagues over the issue of observing the holiday.
ï¿½ Over on "7th Heaven" (7 p.m., WB, TV-G), Ruthie comes to the defense of a female Muslim student who has been taunted by angry boys. The Disney Channel repeats the 1999 drama "Selma, Lord, Selma" (8:45 p.m., TV-PG), depicting the 1965 Civil Rights march through the eyes of two young girls.
ï¿½ "Masterpiece Theatre" presents "The Murder of Steven Lawrence" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings, TV-14, L, V), a documentary-style re-creation of the murder of a black teen-ager by neo-Nazi thugs in London in 1993.
ï¿½ Tom Sizemore stars in the repeat 2002 drama "Sins of the Father" (7 p.m., FX) as the son of a Klansman (Richard Jenkins) who slowly recognizes his father's role in a murderous Church bombing in Birmingham in 1963. Ving Rhames co-stars.
ï¿½ Barring any big news stories, "Nightline" (10:35 p.m., ABC) will devote the next five nights to the war in the Congo that has claimed 2.5 million lives during the last three years. Some have already called this conflict, involving seven nations, the "first African world war."