Show Business: Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams

American Short Story, PBS, beginning Feb. 4

Whenever PBS produces its own dramatic programs, it tries to be all things to all its constituencies. There is almost always a dash of intellectual pretension (to please the grant-bestowing foundations), a splash of uplift (to humor the corporate sponsors) and a rustle of period costumes (to attract the BBC fans). The result is often tiresome television, but occasionally there is a glorious exception. Such is the case with American Short Story. Though this returning series satisfies all the dreary institutional demands of PBS, it also provides remarkably sophisticated entertainment.

The man behind American Short Story...

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