Flashdance (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is a triumph of Hollywood "high concept" over content as sexy, formidably limber Jennifer Beals works in a Pittsburgh steel mill by day, dances in a beer joint at night--never mind that her act has a Vegas sheen--and dreams of breaking into a prestigious dance company, all the while pursued by her handsome boss (Michael Nouri). Ludicrous.
Walter Hill's Streets of Fire (Channel 11 Sunday at 9 p.m.) is a far more effective fantasy, a rock 'n' roll/gang-warfare fable, stunningly designed and photographed. Michael Pare stars. (Another of Hill's best, Hard Times, a Depression-era story starring Charles Bronson as a bare-knuckle fighter, airs Friday on Channel 11 at 9 p.m.)
In The Parent Trap II, the "Disney Sunday Movie" (ABC at 7 p.m.), Hayley Mills is back as those matchmaking twins, but this time the table's turned on them as they're caught up in a matchmaking scheme devised by a second generation of mischief makers.
Stan Lathan's film of James Baldwin's semiautobiographical Go Tell It on the Mountain (Channel 50 Monday at 8 p.m.) is stagy but potent in its performances, especially that of Paul Winfield as a puritanical, tormented husband and father.
Perry Mason: The Case of the Lost Love (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.), the fourth new TV movie in which Raymond Burr reprises his series role as Erle Stanley Gardner's wizardly trial attorney, finds Mason defending the husband (Gene Barry) of his old flame (Jean Simmons).
The new TV movie Love Among Thieves (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.) catches up Audrey Hepburn and Robert Wagner in a romantic adventure involving stolen Faberge Easter eggs and a kidnaping in South America.
Channel 13 is devoting its 8 p.m. movie slot this week to a reprise of The Thorn Birds, while the miniseries Chiefs airs Monday through Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Channel 5.
There's a terrific temptation to subtitle Places in the Heart (NBC Tuesday at 9 p.m.) "Norma Rae Plants Cotton" since Sally Field once again plays a scrappy rural woman learning how to stand up for herself and her family. Even though overly familiar, Robert Benton's saga of small-town Texas life in the '30s is deeply felt, beautifully shot (by Nestor Almendros) and acted. The film brought Field a second Oscar.
Stanley Kubrick's landmark allegory 2001: A Space Odyssey (Channel 5 Friday at 7:30 p.m.), for all its stupendous visuals and challenge to the intellect, becomes abstract to the point of evasiveness at the finish. Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood are cast as astronauts bound for Jupiter in search of human intelligence when they become locked in mortal combat with Hal, their rebellious computer. (Kubrick, who wrote the film with Arthur C. Clarke, has helpfully explained that upon entering Jupiter's orbit Dullea enters another dimension, dies and is reborn, tracing man's "ascent from ape to angel.").
Outfitted with a wig that Louis XIV might envy and employing her finest "Mommie Dearest" manner, Faye Dunaway is the delicious villainess of the light, airy Supergirl (ABC Saturday at 9 p.m.), which introduced lovely Helen Slater in the title role as Superman's young cousin. "I'm considering nothing less than world domination," states Dunaway, a carny fortune-teller with impressive ambitions--when into her sauce remoulade plops a glowing, pulsating metal sphere, which turns out to be just the device that could fufill those ambitions. . . .
George C. Scott and Don Ameche star in the new TV movie Pals (CBS Saturday at 9 p.m.), a comedy about two old Army buddies who stumble upon $3 million in drug-related cash. Sylvia Sidney co-stars as Scott's mother.
Selected evening cable fare: Soft Skin (Bravo Sunday at 8:30); Colonel Redl (Z Monday at 9); F/X (Showtime Tuesday at 8); A Week's Vacation (Z Wednesday at 7); Parting Glances (Movie Channel Wednesday at 9, Bravo Friday at 8); Gung Ho (Showtime Wednesday at 9); The Empire Strikes Back (Movie Channel Friday at 6:30); Fright Night (HBO Friday at 8); Below the Belt (AE Friday at 9); The Wicker Man (USA Friday at 9); Atlantic City (Movie Channel Saturday at 9).