a! ' h COITlICS
1 06 Palomar
104 Paul Auster, Scott Turow
106 Lambchop, Franz Ferdinand “A
TV ANGELS IN AMERICA
Channel 4, Sat 7 & Sun 8 Feb, 9pm .00. 24
Sky One, Thu 12 Feb, 9pm .00.
hile most attention in the recent Golden Globes coverage w surrounded the gongs given to The Office and Lord of the Rings,
one heavily-prized creation was being ignored. Nabbing a mere five was Angels in America, good old HBO’s massive production of the Tony Kushner play which dazzled the critics in its unﬂinching portrayal of 19805 America. Kushner wrote of a country confronted by a global epidemic (AIDS) requiring immediate and intense care while led by a man (Ronald Reagan) who had contempt for anyone who wasn’t a straight, white conservative. The result: a purposeful policy of blissful ignorance, no matter how many red ribbons Elizabeth Taylor would brandish. But rather than succumb to this ignorance, gay America refused to go away and Kushner’s play is as much a legacy of that time as Reaganomics.
But Angels is no period piece; the fears expressed about that nation’s state are as relevant now with the world in thrall to a fundamentalist America as it was in the terrible 505 and 805 templates. To call the TV version ambitious is akin to describing Kim Bauer as a little bit accident- prone; but more of that later. Covering as many bases as a six and a half hour televisual drama possibly could, we have discussions from and about Mormons, Jews, blacks, WASPs, McCarthyites, gays and ghosts.
But ‘discussions’ would be an understatement. As Kushner has written the screenplay, the word is gospel. After six hours, you’ll feel all talked out, but when Al Pacino (as the AIDS-infected Republican lawyer) delivers meaty line after juicy sentence, time dissolves. Fellow Globe winners Jeffrey Wright and Meryl Streep are great too, but Mary-Louise Parker as the valium-addled wife of a sexually confused Reaganite and Justin Kirk as
1 09 Manhunt
1 10 Victim, John’s Not Mad
1 1 1 Demetri Martin, 15 Storeys High
0.... Excellent 0... Recommended Good Flawed
1 12 Valentine’s special
1 1 4 Iceland
1 16 Rhubarb, Villager
the dying Prior Walter also stand out. Perhaps Angels is simply too much a product of its theatricality for television; the majority of scenes are two people railing against each other or some wider value system. On stage, this is bound to invigorate, but on the small screen you feel that director Mike Nichols is too in awe of the script to place his own hand on proceedings. Still, no one could ever accuse the writers of 24 of over-burdening their audience with reams of dialogue as a Tony Almeida glance or a Jack Bauer growl is usually more than enough to perfectly sum up a mood or scene. A
ACCIDENT new, third day of deadlines, disasters and daredevilry dawns, three years
from the moment when an acid attacker got her hands on President Palmer, with a bloodthirsty drug gang preparing to launch a deadly virus into the hot LA air unless their leader is released. This may prove to be problematic for Jack, who worked undercover with the gang to have its boss put away. Other worries may be about to engulf our hero: his daughter, clumsy Kim, is now part of CTU and getting frisky with her dad’s sidekick; while his own love life appears to have ﬁzzled out in angst and acrimony.
Whatever happens over the next 23 hours, it's good to have Jack back; whether the nerves or nails will cope with another day like the previous two is debatable. What’s not in doubt is that Kiefer and co won’t fret about being lost for words. (Brian Donaldson)
TO CALL ANGELS IN AMERICA AMBITIDUS IS AKIN T0 DESCRIBING KIM BAUER AS A LITTLE BIT ‘
5—19 Feb 2004 THE LIST 103