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OF, BY AND FOR THE CHILDREN

'ABC Afterschool' Specials Go to The Mall and Find a Fair Share of Angst

March 15, 1992|LAUREN LIPTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

If you were going to do the first-ever ABC Afterschool Special miniseries and were looking for the perfect setting for a trio of interwoven episodes, where would that location be? School? Nah. How about a suburban mall, where much of teen-age hanging out is accomplished?

"Summer Stories: The Mall" attempts to capture some of the universal things that might happen to any group of friends--with a bit of drama, too. The miniseries centers around a group of high-school students; each installment deals with a different character. In part one, "Freedom," a woman ponders whether to meet her biological mother for the first time, during the summer between high school and college. Parts two and three, which deal with stepfamilies and teen sexuality, air April 2 and 16.

"ABC Afterschool Special--Summer Stories: The Mall, Part 1" Thursday 3-4 p.m. ABC. For 12- to 17-year-olds.

MORE KIDS' SHOWS

The true tale behind Students Against Drunk Driving unfolds in "Contract For Life: The S.A.D.D. Story," an HBO Family Playhouse (Sunday tk tk and Tuesday tk tk HBO) presentation about the consequences of two high-school athletes killed by drunk drivers. For ages 11 and up.

Repeat episodes of Madeline's Rescue and Madeline and the Gypsies (Sunday 11 a.m.-noon Family Channel) star the animated French heroine. For 2- to 11-year-olds.

National Geographic Explorer (Sunday 6-8 p.m. TBS) looks at the ties that bind humans and apes with three segments: "Secret World of the Chimpanzee," "The Ape Trade" and "The Urban Gorilla." For ages 10 and up.

A Survival Kit for Parents (Sunday 10-11 p.m. KCAL)--parents of teenagers, that is--looks at ways to deal with issues such as substance abuse, mood swings and dating. For parents.

"An Astronaut's View of Earth," on Nova (Tuesday 7:30-8:30 p.m. KCET), provides footage that very nearly captures, according to one astronaut, "the look and actual feeling of seeing Earth from space." David Byrne provides musical accompaniment. For all ages.

Through the weekend, MTV provides its annual coverage of the debauchery of Spring Break '92 from Daytona Beach, Fla. For 13- to 18-year-olds.

The Brokaw Report: Families in Crisis (Friday 8-9 p.m. NBC), the first of a series of special reports anchored by Tom Brokaw, examines challenges facing families today by interviewing working parents, inner-city single mothers and children of divorce. For parents.

Repeats of early episodes from the series Bradshaw on Homecoming (Saturday 9:30 a.m.-3:20 p.m. KCET) explore ways that dysfunctional families can harm children, and provide ways that adults can soothe their own "wounded inner child." For parents.

Footage of important milestones in a child's early months highlight Discovering the First Year of Life (Saturday 11 a.m.-noon Family Channel), a repeat documentary hosted by "American Baby's" Judith Nolte. For ages 16 and up.

A young Kristy McNichol stars in The Pinballs (Saturday 3-4 p.m. Nickelodeon), about a trio of foster kids who learn about friendship. For 8- to- 12-year-olds.

Three teen-agers battle a treasure hunter, an angry Viking spirit and the wilderness to discover the secrets behind a valuable artifact in Lost in the Barrens II: The Curse of the Viking Grave (Saturday 7-9 p.m. Disney Channel). For ages 8 and up.

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