If you're looking for a new TV movie to watch this weekend, there are plenty of choices. And they run the gamut, from cotton-candy kiddie stuff to family films to for-adults-only dramas.
Not all the new offerings are good viewing, but there are a number of above-average choices:
Disappearing Acts (Saturday, 10 p.m., HBO): Wesley Snipes (who also executive produces) and Sanaa Lathan star in this good adaptation of Terry McMillan's novel about two very different people who fall in love. He's a construction worker who faces bad luck — much of it brought on by himself. She's a teacher who really wants to be a singer.
They're very much in love, but their differences may tear them apart. Can love conquer all?
(This one, by the way, falls into the for-adults-only category.)
Hamlet (Sunday, 5 p.m., Odyssey): Campbell Scott, who also adapted, co-produced and co-directed this four-hour production, stars as the title character in this latest adaptation of Shakespeare's play. And it's a good adaptation with a fine cast, including Blair Brown as Hamlet's mother, LisaGay Hamilton ("The Practice") as Ophelia and Roscoe Lee Browne as Polonius.
There's been some updating, but — other than the multi-cultural casting — this is a pretty straightforward retelling of the tragic tale of the doomed Danish prince.
David Copperfield (Sunday and Monday at 6, 8 and 10 p.m., TNT): This two-part, four-hour adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic is a rousing TV treat.
It's the familiar tale of young David Copperfield (played by Max Dolbey as a child and Hugh Dancy as an adult), who survives a series of adventures and misadventures on his way to adulthood. And, in addition to the two playing David, there are some fine performances from Sally Field (as odd Aunt Betsey), Anthony Andrews (as David's evil stepfather), among others. And this "Copperfield" is simply gorgeous to look at, both the Irish scenery and costumes.
About the only real flaw is Michael Richards doing his Kramer schtick as Micawber. But that's not enough to significantly mar an otherwise fine production.
The Runaway (Sunday, 8 p.m., Ch. 2): This "Hallmark Hall of Fame" movie is flawed but still watchable. Set in 1947 Georgia, the story opens with two young friends — one white (Luke Winter) and one black (Duane McLaughlin) — who stumble upon the remains of three murder victims from years earlier. The killings were ignored by the racist authorities, but the new sheriff (Dean Cain of "Lois & Clark") wants to ferret out the truth.
And the truth isn't pretty. The investigation leads to shocking revelations and eventually to the shooting death of one of the suspects — a crime the young African-American boy is charged with.
This "Hallmark" telefilm is handsomely produced and delivers a message without being overly preachy. It stumbles, however, into mysticism — Maya Angelou plays the "Conjure Woman" who prophesies the boys will "make the change" in the town. It dilutes the otherwise laudable message.
Livin' for Love: The Natalie Cole Story (Sunday, 8 p.m., Ch. 5): This is pretty much standard-issue TV biopic, chronicling the life of Nat King Cole's daughter (played as a young woman by Theresa Randle and later by Cole herself).
It's certainly an interesting life, but there's something overly familiar and a bit tiresome about yet another rich, famous, talented person who turns to drugs and then goes through rehab. If nothing else, there's plenty of great music.
Once Upon a Christmas (Sunday, 8 p.m., Ch. 16): This Pax movie is so sugary sweet it may induce diabetes. Non-actress Kathy Ireland stars as Santa's daughter, Kristen, who tries to save Christmas.
Oh, and the holiday is endangered by her nasty older sister, Rudolfa (Mary Donnelly Haskell), who wants to take over for a retiring Santa. (Yikes!
Kristen has to nice up a naughty guy (John Dye) and his bratty kids to convince Papa Kringle to give up his notions of retirement. Young kids may like this, but adults may feel like they're drowning in honey.
Special Delivery (Sunday, 9 p.m., Fox Family): Speaking of sappy TV movies, there's this one about an adoption-agency courier (Andy Dick) who leaves a baby with the wrong family and has to correct his error before Christmas.
It plays out just like you'd expect. The only surprise is that anyone thought to cast the ever-odd, ever-annoying Dick in a family movie.
Holiday Heart (Sunday, 9 p.m., Showtime): And now for a Christmas TV movie that's completely different — this one stars Ving Rhames as a lonely drag queen whose life takes a sudden turn when he befriends a 12-year-old girl whose mother (Alfre Woodard) is struggling with a drug problem.
Rhames and Woodard both deliver fine performances in this offbeat drama, which is definitely not a movie for the entire family.