Television: Upstairs, Downstairs, U.S. Style

The new television season is still two weeks off but CBS is jumping the gun with BEACON HILL (Tuesday, 10 p.m. E.D.T.). The network does not merely admit that the series is based on Upstairs, Downstairs; it is positively insistent on the point. That is a sensible policy, since it is doubtful if the uninstructed viewer could perceive any connection between the engaging PBS bundle from Britain and its vulgar American cousin.

Beacon Hill is about an Irish family newly arrived at affluence and influence in Boston during the 1920s. Old Benjamin Lassiter (Stephen Elliott) was obviously suggested by Old Joe Kennedy:...

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