'Blast' needs chemical reaction

Fans who only know Brendan Fraser from the forgettable "Mummy" film franchise should not miss "Blast From the Past," (7 p.m., Fox), a peculiar 1999 spoof of Cold War paranoia.

Fraser stars as Adam Webber, the naive son of two California squares (Sissy Spacek and Christopher Walken) who have raised him in a bomb shelter since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when they mistakenly believed that World War III had begun. Isolated from the rest of the world, the family remains in a kind of time capsule, where the music, dance styles and social mores of the early 1960s remain frozen.

Polite and deferential to a fault, Webber becomes a curiosity when he emerges in contemporary Los Angeles, portrayed here as an urban nightmare of gangs, graffiti and garbage. After a promising start, "Blast" suffers with the arrival of Eve Rustikoff (Alicia Silverstone) a brash modern-day Californian. Few movie leads have shared less chemistry. Critic Leonard Maltin wrote, "Silverstone's character is fuzzily defined at best." And he was being generous. But Silverstone aside, "Blast" is an original and under-appreciated comedy that shows off Fraser at his most charming.

� Fans of "The Powerpuff Girls," (7 p.m., Cartoon Network) have two reasons to celebrate. Their much-hyped new movie is now in theaters all over the country. And the Cartoon Network is finally airing original episodes of the Emmy-winning series. Production of new "Powerpuff Girl" cartoons was slowed to a crawl during the movie's production. "We thought we could do both," explained network senior vice president Mike Lazzo, "but we learned we could only do one thing really well at a time, and that turned out to be the movie." Production of new episodes has only gotten up to speed "over the past six months," said Lazzo. In tonight's "Powerpuff" installment, Bubbles tries to save an innocent squirrel by giving it a dash of Chemical X, turning him into a super rodent.

Tonight's other highlights

� Scheduled on "48 Hours," (7 p.m., CBS): a couple with seven children adopt 20 more; a town adopts 60 children from bad neighborhoods; parents teach their children to like Bach.

� Ron Perlman stars in the 2000 thriller "Operation Sandman: Warriors in Hell," (7 p.m., UPN) about the effects of sleep deprivation.

� Angela Lansbury returns to her roles as Jessica Fletcher in the 1997 television drama "Murder, She Wrote: South By Southwest," (8 p.m., CBS).

Series notes

All are repeats ... Tom Bergeron hosts "America's Funniest Home Videos," (7 p.m., ABC) ... Junk e-mail on "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," (7 p.m., WB) � Molly clicks with a cool student on "Maybe it's Me," (7:30 p.m., WB).

Drew Carey hosts back-to-back episodes of "Whose Line is it Anyway?" (8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., ABC).


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