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December 23, 2002

TV: Pax at its best with 'FB.Eye'

From: Lansing State Journal, MI - 23 Dec 2002

TONIGHT'S MUST and MUST NOT SEE: "Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye," 8 p.m., and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., Channel 43 (Pax).

The extremes of this well-meaning network are on display tonight.

Pax aims for feel-good TV. At its best, it has such series as "Doc" and "Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye"; crafted by two talented brothers (David and Gary Johnson) from small-town Iowa, they have warmth, intelligence and well-drawn characters.

The real Sue Thomas has been profoundly deaf since she was 18 months old and became a lip-reader for the FBI. She's wonderfully played by hearing-impaired actress Deanne Bray. Tonight's rerun is a character drama, with Sue's mom trying to control her Christmas.

And Pax at its worst? The movie that follows is badly acted and terribly conceived.

A little boy sees his dad, in a Santa suit, kissing his mom. He assumes she's having an affair with Claus and vows to be so bad that he won't visit on Christmas. It only gets worse from there.


* "Intimate Portrait," 7 p.m., Lifetime. Suzanne Pleshette has a quick wit to match her husky voice. Here's a profile.
* "Monk," 8 p.m., Channel 53 (ABC). Monk (Golden Globe nominee Tony Shalhoub) finds a murder at an asylum.
* "King of Queens," 8 p.m., Channel 6 (CBS). In a rerun, Doug and Carrie want a baby; the conception won't be easy, though, with his parents visiting.
* "The Santa Clause," 8 p.m. and 9:50 p.m., Disney Channel. Here are two more chances to see this popular movie, with Tim Allen required to become the new Claus.
* "A Christmas Carol," 8 p.m., TNT. Patrick Stewart is perfect as Scrooge, in this lush movie.
* "I Was a Teenage Faust," 8 p.m., Showtime. Here's a quick rerun of this witty takeoff, with Robert Townsend as a hapless tempter.
* "Yes, Dear," 8:30 p.m., Channel 6. In a rerun, irresponsible Jimmy gets a windfall. Will he do the right thing and pay back his debts? There are some detours, in a story that's badly contrived.
* "Everybody Loves Raymond," 9 p.m., Channel 6. Robert has an important job interview, but his mom has sent out his lucky suit.
* "Crossing Jordan," 10 p.m., Channel 10 (NBC). This starts a two-part rerun, with former "Law & Order" actors Jill Hennessy and Chris Noth.
* "Christmas in Washington," 10 p.m., TNT. There's great country talent, with Brooks & Dunn, Lee Ann Womack and Alison Krauss. Also singing are Brian Setzer, Dr. John and gospel's Yolanda Adams.

Mike Hughes' column appears Mondays through Fridays.

Lansing State Journal Copyright 2002