What's on TV

SHOWS WORTH NOTING FOR JUNE 23-29

The following are not necessarily recommended by the Monitor. All times Eastern, check local listings.

Sunday 6/24

One of the Hollywood Ten (Starz! 8-10 p.m.): Dull title, ripping film. Jeff Goldblum stars as writer-director Herbert Biberman, who was blacklisted in Hollywood and turned his misfortune to creative dissent with "Salt of the Earth," a ground-breaking film that may be said to be the forerunner of the independent film movement. Greta Scacchi portays Biberman's wife, Gale Sondergaard.

Monday 6/25

State of Grace (Fox Family, 9-10 p.m.): This modest, charming comedy may be the very best new programming this summer. Reminiscent of "The Wonder Years," the story concerns two 12-year-old girls, one a middle class Jewish girl (Hannah), and the other an upper-class Christian (Grace) who become best friends. Grown-up Hannah (voiced by Frances McDormand) recalls their friendship, and the stories are poignant and funny and fit for the whole family. Terrific acting and writing, and smart directing, make this a grace-full family choice.

Wednesday 6/27

Gormenghast (PBS, 9-11 p.m., continues Thursday, check local listings): Based on the novel by Mervyn Peake, the fantasy takes place in a never-never land, a dusty, dark, and dire place where the aristocracy lives to fulfill empty traditions and everyone else suffers in silence. Everyone, that is, but one kitchen boy, Steerpike, who plots the end of the Groan dynasty. Villains abound in this piece - all except the young lord who eventually inherits the Gormenghast-ly kingdom. Fantasy and horror fans will get a kick out of this stupendously atmospheric and ironic tale. Contains mature subject matter.

Friday 6/29

On the Edge (Showtime, 8- 9:30 p.m.): A futuristic trilogy, each piece a little awkward in the telling, but involving anyway. "Happy Birthday," directed by Helen Mirren (who also appears in it) is about a bleak future in which a brilliant young medical student is suddenly suspended from school. Her reaction to her fate proves her worth. "The Other Side," directed by Mary Stuart Masterson, is a touching story about a terminally ill scientist who tries to create a robot duplicate of himself. "Reaching Normal," directed by Anne Heche, concerns a married woman who suddenly finds a stranger invading her thoughts. Her reaction to him is surprising and thought-provoking. A star-studded cast.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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