The TV Set

David Duchovny ("Return to Me," and "Evolution") is a television screenwriter who has long dreamed of a series that is semi-autobio- graphical with the core of the story being the true-life suicide of his brother. He has written a pilot episode which is being cast for shooting so the network bigwigs can give it a thumbs up or down. You will NOT recognize him as a former "X-Files" heartthrob! And his distress as he tries to balance his artistic integrity against his very real needs to pay the mortgage and support his growing family, is palpable.

Sigourney Weaver ("Heartbreakers" and "Gorillas in the Mist") is a programming chief who is riding high on the success of her current hit, a new reality show featuring "Sluts." She has some reservations about this proposed pilot however, because suicide is "depressing" and she thinks the brother should be in jail, not dead. Other than that, she LOVES it!

Ioan Gruffudd ("Amazing Grace" and "The Forsyte Saga") is Weaver's second in command, recently moved here from England with his home- sick wife, struggling through his first season in this position. He is deter- mined to succeed but is reluctant to "sell out" to the crass commercialism of mainstream American television. He was hired for his impeccable taste with the BBC and is thrust into one unhappy dilemma after another. In my opinion, Gruffudd hasn't been this appealing since The Forsyte Saga.

Judy Greer ("American Dreamz" and "13 Going on 30") is a familiar face doing a familiar thing. This time she plays an upbeat go-between who insists on spinning every single report in such a way that it doesn't sound negative or discouraging. This character works in a world of actors, directors and script writers but has never seen Martin Scorsese's classic, "Taxi Driver!"

The casting scenes at the very beginning are worth the price of admission, so everything beyond that is an extra. Weaver has made an amazing career out of playing ambitious, scheming (but successful), professional women. This time out, she has done it again. The tyro actor who is cast for the series lead, over Duchovny's objections, capitulates to the siren song of fame in record time, the big break, the bigger car, the biggest ego... and it's fun to watch.

The script is witty AND wise. The actors are very good. I enjoyed it.