Television: A Hollow French Confection

Moliére, PBS, five parts starting Jan. 9

It is no secret that when it comes to turning history into television, the British are better than the Americans. Now it is clear that they are better than the French as well. American viewers have a rare opportunity to see a major French production, a five-part dramatization of the life of Moliére. It is, unfortunately, a disappointment, a beautiful but boring fête brillante.

As the TV story tells it, taking an occasional liberty with the facts, Moliére was born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin. His father was a master...

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