KCET Channel 28 is right on the mark with its fourth edition of "Turning Points" at 9 tonight. The local magazine series is a window to the human drama, permitting us to watch people confronting life's endless series of challenges.
The lineup tonight includes a teen-age athlete (ice skater Tiffany Chin) coming back from an injury, an 8-year-old girl facing her first piano recital, parents waiting to see if their prematurely born baby will survive and a scientist whose lifelong quest to explore new worlds is about to be fulfilled--if he and his colleagues don't blow their one-time-only opportunity.
Since these are documentaries, not fiction, the stories don't unfold as smoothly or build as grippingly as they would if a writer were creating them. Life, and film making, aren't that tidy. But there is drama nonetheless, emotional highs and lows, and the fact that they are stories about real people, facing real hurdles and crises, makes them altogether involving and rewarding.
ABC, on the other hand, is way off the mark with its "Afterschool Special" today, "Getting Even: A Wimp's Revenge" (3 p.m. on Channels 7 and 10, 4 p.m. on Channels 3 and 42).
It's a lighthearted, Walter Mitty-type story about a self-described "skinny coward" who acts out his revenge fantasies against his tormentor by casting himself as a superhero in his own comic strip, until he realizes that the only way he's going to solve his problem is by facing up to it.
The message is surprisingly rudimentary at this stage of development for the "Afterschool Specials" and, even worse, it is ineptly realized in a tedious, second-rate production.