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In Brief:

"The '70's," "Take Me Home: The John Denver Story," and "It's the Rage"


Hoping to score as big as they did with The '60s, the greedheads at NBC follow it up with The '70s (Sunday and Monday, April 30 and May 1; 9 to 11 p.m.; NBC), in which four bosom buddies at Kent State react in very different ways to the National Guard shootings during an anti-war protest. Byron (Brad Rowe) goes to work for Richard Nixon's Committee to Reelect the President (creep), has to testify on Watergate, and then becomes an environmentalist while building the Alaska pipeline. Eileen (Vinessa Shaw) is radicalized by the women's movement and sex discrimination at her ad agency. Dexter (Guy Torry) turns a Watts movie house into a black-power community center and marries the fabulous Yolanda (Leslie Silva), after which he is shot. Christie (Amy Smart) abandons a career in modeling for a cult in California after her record-producer boyfriend Nick (Michael Easton) overdoses on drugs. All this to achieve disco. (Okay, there's also Bob Marley, Jefferson Starship, Marvin Gaye, and Blondie.) The mini-series doesn't quite suck as much as the decade did. . . . Take Me Home: The John Denver Story (Sunday, April 30; 9 to 11 p.m.; CBS) is worth looking at for maybe half an hour only to see Chad Lowe's almost creepy impersonation of the Aspen geek. Not since Gary Busey did Buddy Holly has there been so unlikely and unnerving an embodiment. "Far out" are not the words for it. Think "anti-Dylan." . . . It's the Rage (Friday, April 28; 8 to 9:30 p.m.; Cinemax) has the week's best cast (Joan Allen, Andre Braugher, Josh Brolin, Jeff Daniels, Robert Forster, Anna Paquin, Giovanni Ribisi, David Schwimmer, Gary Sinise, Bokeem Woodbine) in a black comedy about screw-loose citizens who shoot each other just because they happen to have guns. Don't miss Braugher as the gay lawyer who falls for Paquin's sociopathic tramp, Sinise as both Howard Hughes and Bill Gates, and Allen as a survivor who ends up writing short stories and moving to Norway, where they tend not to shoot each other quite as often.


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