- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Seinfeld’ hits stride

Master of your domain. The Junior Mint. Mulva.

Say any of these phrases to a “Seinfeld” junkie — all familiar snippets from the sitcom’s fourth season — and a quick smile surely will appear.

Die-hard fans can rekindle the memories with “Seinfeld: Season 4,” available this week on DVD. The package includes 24 episodes from the 1992-93 season plus a behind-the-scenes documentary on what the sitcom’s creative team called its “breakthrough season.”

Other TV favorites hitting DVD shelves this week include “Cheers: The Complete Fifth Season,” “Six Feet Under: The Complete Third Season” and “Scrubs: The Complete First Season.”

Tarantino returns

Film-geek-turned-auteur Quentin Tarantino returns to episodic television to direct tonight’s season finale of CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

The director, who previously helmed an episode of “E.R.,” developed his concept for the “CSI” season clencher after viewing past episodes of the top-rated series. “I just wanted it to be bigger, to feel in some way like a ‘CSI’ movie,” Mr. Tarantino told Associated Press.

The two-hour finale, titled “Grave Danger,” airs at 8 p.m.

Autism examined

CNN is taking a look inside the often misunderstood world of autism with a news special.

“CNN Presents: Autism Is a World,” airing Sunday at 7 p.m., follows a 26-year-old autistic woman as she goes about her daily activities. The Oscar-nominated documentary, narrated by Julianna Margulies (of “ER” fame), comes from District director Gerardine Wurzburg.

The filmmaker’s previous features have aired on HBO, PBS and ABC. Miss Wurzburg won an Oscar for her 1992 film “Educating Peter.”

Sins of the ‘Fathers’

Showtime confronts sexual abuse in the priesthood with “Our Fathers,” an original film debuting Saturday evening at 8.

The made-for-cable film (starring Christopher Plummer and Ted Danson) focuses not so much on the crimes themselves but on their disastrous effects, Associated Press notes.

Reflectively, somberly, the story unfolds: In early 2002, the Boston Globe exposed Father John J. Geoghan as an abuser and Cardinal Bernard Law — not only for failing to stop years of sexual abuse by Geoghan and other priests in the Boston archdiocese, but trying to hide it.

Contacted initially by just a handful of victims (abused boys now grown to troubled, shame-filled adulthood), attorney Mitchell Garabedian took on the archdiocese. However, the church’s response, as depicted in the film — even in the face of the damning evidence of abuse that spanned decades — was disavowal and further cover-up.

“Our Fathers,” directed by Dan Curtis (“The Winds of War,” “War and Remembrance”), stars Mr. Danson as Mr. Garabedian and Mr. Plummer as Cardinal Law.

Brian Dennehy plays the outspoken Father Dominic Spagnolia, who condemns the abuse and systematic cover-up from his pulpit but is eventually driven from the church. The screenplay by Thomas Michael Donnelly is based on the book “Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal,” by journalist David France, who penned the tome after reporting on the scandal for Newsweek magazine.

Deep-six for ‘60’

The Wednesday edition of “60 Minutes” has run out of time.

The newsmagazine spin-off got the ax yesterday, although the network insists it has nothing to do with last fall’s ill-fated story about President Bush’s military service, AP reports.

Dan Rather, the lead correspondent on Wednesday nights, will contribute stories to the original Sunday edition of the venerable newsmagazine, said CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves.

The show had become home base for the Texas-born newsman since he stepped down as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” in March.

“This was a ratings call, not a content call,” Mr. Moonves said.

“60 Minutes Wednesday” also was the setting for Mr. Rather’s ill-fated September report on Mr. Bush, which claimed that the president had skirted some duty while in the Texas Air National Guard and that a commander felt pressure to sugarcoat his evaluation.

An independent panel later concluded that documents used in the story could not be verified.

Mr. Moonves said the story didn’t figure into his decision to cancel the program.

Still, it remains to be seen how comfortable Mr. Rather will feel among his new “60 Minutes” colleagues. Veteran correspondent Mike Wallace told the New Yorker magazine a few months ago he didn’t watch Mr. Rather’s newscasts and called his style “occasionally contrived.”

“60 Minutes Wednesday” has been sinking in the ratings, a decline accelerated by the success of the ABC drama “Lost” in the same time slot. The show also has one of the oldest audiences in prime-time television, sometimes considered a turnoff to advertisers, who instead prize the buying power of a younger demographic.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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