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TUNED IN

No Way to Rescue Those 'Trapped'

July 24, 2001|STEVEN LINAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The would-be thriller "Trapped" (9 p.m., USA Network) strands unlucky people in a high-rise hotel engulfed by flames.

Think of it as "The Towering Inferno" without an all-star cast. Or admirable acting. Or solid special effects. Or, well, you get the idea.

Parker Stevenson stars as Oliver Sloan, a shady fellow who has sunk his money into the renovation of a Las Vegas casino and hotel.

His real troubles begin when a fire breaks out on the 24th floor, endangering a lot of really dull individuals, including a corporate raider, a couple from Iowa, a carousing boxer, the building's engineer (Meat Loaf), a hotel maid and an opportunistic TV reporter (William McNamara) who just happens to have a camera, which he uses to transmit a live feed of the events as they unfold.

The characters scream. They cough. They choke. They panic. They bicker. They bore us.

"Trapped" is an apt title for this overly familiar film because that's precisely how you'll feel long before it's over.

Hot stuff? No way.

Surf Report

SERIES

Steve Martin is an executive producer of "The Downer Channel" (8:30 p.m. NBC), a sketch-comedy show that tackles life's little annoyances.

A prominent admiral (Terry O'Quinn) is accused of murdering civilians during the Vietnam War in the first of a two-part repeat on "JAG" (9 p.m. CBS).

Ten amateur sleuths--five men and five women--set out to solve a fictitious slaying in the eight-week series "Murder in Small Town X" (9 p.m. Fox).

"P.O.V." (10 p.m. KCET) presents "Take It From Me," the story of three working-class women in New York City.

*

MOVIES

A thrilling chariot race is just one of the highlights in "Ben-Hur" (8 p.m. TCM), the 1959 classic featuring one of Charlton Heston's best performances.

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