Dalton Ross, Bruce Fretts, and Ken Tucker
June 09, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

King Gimp
Forget Spacey and Swank; the most visibly stoked person on Oscar night was aspiring painter Dan Keplinger (a.k.a. King Gimp), whose life story took home Academy Award honors for a documentary. Filmed over 13 years, this powerfully inspiring film shows how Keplinger (who was born with cerebral palsy) has not only overcome his physical handicap, but also vanquished people’s perceptions of what someone with his condition can — and cannot — accomplish. A

The immensely likable Lauren Graham will doubtlessly be better served by her fall WB series Gilmore Girls than she is in this sitcom burn-off. Graham stars as an intelligent teacher who’s the aunt/guardian of a 16-year-old runaway played by Katharine Towne, whose lines oblige her to seem rude, obnoxious, and vaguely depressed. Which also pretty much describes this show. D-

The Directors: Steven Spielberg
What more is there to say about Steven Spielberg? Lots — especially if you’re discussing his 30-plus years’ worth of films. This Directors installment includes movie clips and comments from an incessantly laudatory narrator, as well as interviews with Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, and even Mr. Spielberg himself. But it’s still too brief, with some noteworthy flicks getting short shrift. Only eight minutes for Schindler’s List? C

The Invisible Man
If history has taught us one thing, it’s that the story of the invisible man is a dish best served cold, dark, and disturbing. Yet the inspiration for this latest series version seems closer to Chevy Chase (1992’s Memoirs of an Invisible Man) than Claude Rains (the 1933 original). As a result, instead of watching a tale rich with tortured-identity-crisis intrigue, we’re left with a wisecrackin’ hipster (Vincent Ventresca) and a clichéd European-accented supervillain in an inane plot that makes only our interest disappear. C

Mervyn Peake’s three-volume epic rococo fantasy about the life of young Titus, 77th Earl of Groan, has been turned into a four-part, British-made miniseries whose solemn silliness owes more to Monty Python and Blackadder than Peake’s soigne melancholy, but is drolly effective nonetheless. The vast cast includes Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the sneering, plotting Steerpike, as well as Ian Richardson, Stephen Fry, and Zoe Wanamaker, who perform the tale of rotting-England hugger-mugger with deadpan gusto. B+

On Hostile Ground
That great sucking sound you hear isn’t just the huge sinkhole threatening to gulp down the city of New Orleans on the eve of Mardi Gras; it’s this disaster-TV movie’s calamitous script. Northern Exposure iceberg John Corbett brings dangerously low energy to the role of a geologist charged with saving the Big Easy’s revelers, including Dawson’s Creek‘s Brittany Daniel as his girlfriend’s shrieky niece. By the time Corbett straps on a hard hat and lowers himself into the N’awlins sewer system, you’ll be rooting for the hole. D+

In the Company of Horses
We suppose Lou Diamond Phillips’ work in the Young Guns movies qualifies him to narrate this special on the evolving relationship between humans and horses. Too bad his Chavez character wasn’t on hand to add some punch to this listless profile. While the championship breeders of Lexington, Ky., speak of their thoroughbreds in seemingly affectionate tones, seeing the horses auctioned off and subjected to such ridiculous training exercises as underwater treadmill running, we’re stuck wondering how evolved that relationship really is. C

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