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TNT's 'Avenger' Lacks Sustained Action

3/31/2006 7:00 PM Eastern

Turner Network Television's original movie Avenger is a slow-paced thriller that leaves the viewer restless and disinterested. What's most surprising about this telefilm is that the action and adventure fall far below expectations from the “drama” network that delivers Wanted, its series that tracks a joint task force hunting down L.A.'s most wanted criminals. That show hits far more of this genre's hot buttons than the film does.

Avenger's greatest strength is the story, based on the best-selling novel by Frederick Forsyth. Vietnam veteran Calvin Dexter (Sam Elliott, Mask), is avenging his daughter's death through a mission for business tycoon Stephen Edmonds (William Hope, Aliens) who is searching for his son. The two oppose the forces of CIA agent Frank McBride (Timothy Hutton, Ordinary People) and his boss, deputy director of operations Paul Deveraux (James Cromwell, Babe).

Dexter's flashbacks of his offspring's death are overplayed throughout the film. The dialogue trends toward the trite and campy in parts, unexpected for a script that came from the hand of Rob Roy writer Alan Sharp.

Overall, the movie fails to capitalize on the intense action of its fight scenes and special effects. Amped-up adventure would have made this film more believable and interesting. Hutton and Cromwell carry their weight, but if not for Elliott, the movie would have lacked the depth to carry the viewer to the end. Avenger premieres April 9 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Noggin On Page With First Readers

Noggin's new animated preschool series Pinky Dinky Doo is based on a series of children's books and is the network's first effort at enhancing early literacy. The show is entertaining and certain to engage little viewers through likeable characters, easy-to-follow songs and games that are short and fun.

Aimed at children of an age at which they're looking to be entertained and parents seeking increased learning opportunities for their progeny, this show fits both bills. It teaches values and new words that make the educational component appealing, sprinkling in fun during the games segments.

The first of Pinky Dinky Doo's 26 episodes premieres April 10 at noon 12 (ET/PT). The half-hour show will run regularly on Noggin weekdays at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. ET.

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