Unhappiness is another season of 'Sex'

Why does "Sex and the City" (8 p.m. Sunday, HBO) make me feel like Charlie Brown? As countless "Peanuts" fans know, every fall the bald-headed Everyboy tries to place kick a football and counts on Lucy to hold it safely for him. And she disappoints him time after time. Well, every season I resolve to give "Sex and the City" another chance. I want to see just what so many critics and viewers find funny, witty and urbane about the saucy series. And every year, I am appalled.

I'm no prude. I'm not shocked by the language or the promiscuity. It's the writing I can't stand. I find the dialogue obvious and adolescent, and Carrie's voice-over observations painfully trite. Tonight, she actually utters the words "Jewish" and "poo-ish" in the same sentence. If that's clever wordplay, then my junior high buddies and I should have been inducted into the Algonquin Roundtable.

The sixth and final season opens on a Wall Street theme, with Carrie fretting over a first date; Miranda falling for the father of her child; Charlotte mulling over marriage with a man of another faith; and Samantha welcoming a yuppie broker to her funky neighborhood. Help yourself. I'll be outside trying to untangle my kite from a tree.

  • Whose life is this anyway? That's the theme of "Second Nature" (7 p.m. Sunday, TNT), a stylish if slightly plodding thriller. Paul Kane (Alec Baldwin) awakes in a hospital bed with his face covered in bandages. He's haunted by memories of trying to save his family from a plane crash. A fetching psychiatrist (Louise Lombard) informs him that none of his loved ones survived. Then Kane slowly pieces together his past life as a hit man, working for shadowy big shot Kelton Reed (Powers Boothe), who saved his life during combat.

Baldwin acquits himself rather well in the film's few action scenes, and does a good job as a damaged soul with far too many secrets. But while Kane's head injury might explain his addled personality, the rest of the characters have no such excuse. They're simply dull.

Tonight's highlights

  • Cast members of "The Munsters," "Webster" and other comedies recall their days on the set on "Child Stars: Then and Now" (7 p.m., NBC). Postponed from an earlier date.
  • Anthony Hopkins stars in director Steven Spielberg's 1997 historical drama "Amistad" (7 p.m., ABC).
  • The cast of "The Brothers Garcia" travels to Mexico in the made-for-cable comedy "Mysteries of the Maya" (7 p.m., Nickelodeon).
  • Matt Damon stars in the 2002 thriller "The Bourne Identity" (7 p.m., Starz).

Sunday's highlights

  • Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (6 p.m., CBS): wrongful death suits; repeat reports on India's elite university and pollution from industrial hog factories.
  • Glenn Close stars in the 1996 live-action remake of "101 Dalmatians" (6 p.m., ABC).
  • "Prince William at 21" (6 p.m., Discovery) looks at the pressures and publicity surrounding Charles and Diana's firstborn. In addition to the usual Windsor family malarkey, this British-made documentary provides much historical perspective about the youth and education of past royals. What it fails to explain is why Americans should care.
  • Scheduled on "Dateline" (7 p.m., NBC): die-hard surfers risk all to ride a mythical, dangerous wave.
  • Treat Williams, Marcia Gay Harden and Olympia Dukakis star in the two-part 2002 drama "Guilty Hearts" (8 p.m., CBS, concludes Wednesday).
  • A murder uncovers the shady operators of halfway house on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (8 p.m., NBC).
  • An accused homicidal drunk driver makes an unusual claim on "Crime & Punishment" (9 p.m., NBC).
  • Snoop Dogg has his own show, called "Doggy Fizzle Televizzle" (9 p.m., MTV).


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