Blacklist tale isn't simply black and white

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

"American Masters" (8 p.m., PBS) enters its 18th season with "Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan and the Blacklist: None Without Sin." The documentary takes an in-depth look at the friendship and collaboration between the influential director and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright that was destroyed when Kazan, a former member of the Communist Party, decided to provide a Congressional committee with the names of fellow party members. The controversy about Kazan's testimony was recently revisited when the director of "A Streetcar Name Desire," "On the Waterfront" and "A Face in the Crowd" received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1999 Academy Award ceremonies.

While "Blacklist" provides some background on the early Cold War era of fear, Congressional bullies and opportunistic witch hunters, it wisely devotes most of its two hours to how both men incorporated their personal turmoil and political anguish into their art. Stung by Kazan's testimony, Miller went on to write "The Crucible." Set during the 17th century Salem witch trials, the drama was clearly a metaphor for the hysteria of the McCarthy era.

OK, I admit it. I am a candidate for "Clean House" (9 p.m., Style), a new series hosted by Niecy Nash and a panel of experts who tell you how de-clutterize your life. I'm going to start tidying up right now! I'll begin by throwing out the review tape of this show.

Tonight's other highlights

Series notes

SAT woes on "That '70s Show" (7 p.m., Fox) ... Claire goes joy-riding on "My Wife and Kids" (7 p.m., ABC) ... On back-to-back episodes of "Enterprise" (UPN), T'Pol in heat (7 p.m.), Earth in balance (8 p.m.).

The newbies take on the grizzled vets on "Paradise Hotel" (8 p.m., Fox) ... Faith vs. Angelus on "Angel" (8 p.m., WB) ... The board of trustees is revealed on "The Family" (9 p.m., ABC).

Late night

Gen. Tommy Franks and Rodney Crowell appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Terry Bradshaw on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).