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TV REVIEW : 'Angel' Plows Through Soap Opera Misery

THE NEW SEASON. One of a series.

August 26, 1993|HOWARD ROSENBERG

Prime time could do a lot worse than a soap opera renaissance. But CBS newcomer "Angel Falls" won't remind anyone of seductive "Dallas" or "Dynasty." Premiering at 10 tonight on Channels 2 and 8, it isn't artful enough even to be amiable corn.

Although it wastes no time plowing into misery and setting the table for sexual action, its plodding characters and the laborious pace of their story are a good bet to leaden your lids.

The setting is the rural Montana town of Angel Falls, where Rae Dawn Snow (Chelsea Field) and her teen-age son, Sonny (Jeremy London), have returned after the death of her father. Through her window, the revved-up town tramp Rae Dawn spots her old high school sweetheart, Eli Harrison (Brian Kerwin). His eyes lock onto her eyes, and soon she's standing before him in her flimsy robe, with one thing about to lead to another.

Meanwhile, Eli's neglected wife, Genna (Kim Cattrall), and his hunky new farmhand, Toby (Robert Rusler), have amorous eyes for each other, and soon the affection-starved Genna is visiting the bunkhouse in her thin nightgown.

It's a given, too, that Sonny and the Harrisons' daughter, Molly (Cassidy Rae), are becoming an item. And Sonny's granite basketball coach, Luke Larson (James Brolin), is having no fun at all dealing with his clinically depressed wife, Hadley (Peggy Lipton), whose unstable behavior irritates Luke's hoity-toity mother, Irene (Jean Simmons).

The elements of attractive melodrama are present. But "Angel Falls" is too slow and tedious to be sexy, and unlike some of its soapy prime-time predecessors, its characters are initially too bland and devoid of humor to earn anyone's attention, to say nothing of loyalty. If the premiere is an indication, Angel Falls may be a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to spend Thursday evenings there.

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