TV Wonder

Well, that time is upon us once again--the time of season finales, the time when dedicated sofa tubers harvest the big dramatic payoffs and revelations and cliffhangers we've earned with a season of gazing rapt at the TV screen. By the time you read this, Ally McBeal will have whined her last fresh whine of outrage at the Universe for not conforming to her expectations; Dr. Greene will have lanced his last boil; and Dr. Crane will have endured his last humiliating faux pas until the fall.

And, much as this time fills our hearts with joy, it's tinged with terror, too, for we all know that hard on its heals comes the true vast wasteland, the season of the rerun. Once again we are faced with the challenging choice--endure the now-stale network retreads, run the risk of actually engaging in physical activity or interaction with those around us, or find something new to watch. For those who choose that third option, I once again suggest the PBS documentary series P.O.V. (Point of View). The series kicks off at 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 1, on KAET, Channel 8. The season includes:

The Legacy: Murder & Media, Politics & Prisons: (June 1) This season's first film, directed by Michael J. Moore (not the Roger & Me guy), also looks like it could be the most riveting. It's a side of the Polly Klaas murder case that received minimal national coverage--the initial support of, and later opposition to, California's "Three Strikes and You're Out" ballot initiative by the victim's father, Mark Klaas, who was recruited to campaign for the measure and later spoke out against it over its implications for nonviolent offenders.

Golden Threads: (June 8) Lucy Winer's film is a portrait of Christine Burton, a ninety-something community organizer who founded the title networking service for lesbians over the age of 50. The focus of the film is the group's ninth annual weekend celebration in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and a crisis in Burton's life that occurs shortly thereafter.

In My Corner: (June 22) A boxing gym in the South Bronx, and the man who runs it, Luis Camacho, are the subjects of this documentary by Ricki Stern. It explores the way Camacho's gym has become a haven for neighborhood youths, and how the trainers who work there have become surrogate parents.

The Green Monster: (June 29) This film by David Finn concerns the career and obsessions of speed demon Art Arfons, the former drag racer who set land-speed records with his self-designed jet-powered cars until a disastrous crash at Bonneville in 1971 that killed three people, not including Arfons. Director Finn chronicles Arfons' return to Bonneville, in his 70s, to try to set one more record.

Another fresh-TV option, for those who subscribe to Bravo, comes from the Roger & Me guy. Having already established Defense Secretary William S. Cohen as a writer of sentimental verse, and having already repeatedly hassled the colossal tempmonger Manpower, iconoclast Michael Moore's The Awful Truth continues on that cable network with a new episode at 10 p.m. Sunday, May 30, in which Moore "rallies to get back Joe Camel's job."