USA TODAY US Edition

Critic’s Corner

- By Robert Bianco Chat with Robert Monday, 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, life.usatoday.com

-If a writer as great as Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes can’t breathe new life into Titanic (ABC, Saturday, 8 ET/PT and Sunday, 9 ET/PT), then perhaps it’s time to let the ship rest in peace.

Fellowes’ approach in this four-hour import is to tie the tale to class conflicts and then tell and retell it from a different class’s vantage point. So rather than watching the story straight through, we end each of Saturday’s first three hours with the initial launch of the lifeboats and then jump back to the sailaway, with the sinking saved for Sunday.

Perhaps that worked better in Britain, where Titanic ran as a weekly series. But here, the device plays like a gimmick in search of a dramatic purpose — one that makes it nearly impossible to keep track of the huge cast of characters, let alone invest much in what happens to them. Take the hint ABC is sending with that Saturday slot and let Titanic sail without you.

-L-ckily you have a better choice Sunday. CBS offers a first-rate outing from The

Good Wife (9 ET/PT), featuring the return of Matthew Perry.

 ?? Itv/lookout Point TV ?? Linus Roache: Titanic passenger.
Itv/lookout Point TV Linus Roache: Titanic passenger.

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