Short Takes: Apr. 19, 1993

TELEVISION

Flare Up and Fizzle Out

Water electronically rationed, cautions a drinking-fountain sign. ECOLOGICAL LAWS STRICTLY ENFORCED, warns a road sign. After decades of environmental neglect, 21st century America is a mighty unpleasant place, a country of heat waves and hurricanes, skin cancer and typhoid. Like 1983's The Day After, which powerfully fantasized a nuclear attack, the mini-series THE FIRE NEXT TIME (CBS, April 18, 20) means to be a cautionary tale about the devastating effects of global warming. Part 1 is a stunner, combining epic special effects with sharp detail to tell the poignant story of an everyfamily struggling to...

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