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Robert Voets, Cbs
Steve Zahn and Karl Urban

With the premiere of "Commanche Moon," CBS has run out of Larry McMurtry novels in the "Lonesome Dove" series to turn into miniseries.

At least for now.

Of course, McMurtry could always write another prequel. Or CBS could come up with another sequel without another book, something the network has done before.

All because of the then-surprising success of "Lonesome Dove" when it aired back in 1989 — a time when nobody expected a Western miniseries to do anything in the ratings and it turned into a monster hit.

The original "Lonesome Dove" followed Gus (Robert Duvall), Woodrow (Tommy Lee Jones) and young Newt (Rick Schroeder) on a cattle drive to Montana, settling old business in the process.

Four years later, Jon Voight took over the role of Woodrow from Jones (Duvall's character, Gus, had died), and CBS learned a lesson from the less-than-satisfying sequel (and less-than-spectacular ratings) — it's better to stick to something McMurtry wrote.

Chronologically in terms of the storylines, "Dead Man's Walk" (published in 1995) comes first, followed by "Commanche Moon" (1997), "Lonesome Dove" (1985) and "Streets of Laredo" (1993).

On TV, "Lonesome Dove" (which aired in 1989) was followed by "Return to Lonesome Dove" (1993); "Streets of Laredo" (1995); "Dead Man's Walk" (1996); and "Commanche Moon."

"Lonesome Dove" remains by far the best TV production. It's a TV classic none of the others can touch.

But, standing on its own, "Commanche Moon" is a very good three-parter that you don't have to have seen all (or any) of the others to enjoy.

Texas Rangers Woodrow (Karl Urban) and Gus (Steve Zahn) pursue three outlaws in this three-part tale (Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Ch. 2) — Commanche war chief Buffalo Hump; horse thief Kicking Wolf (Jonathon Joss); and Mexican bandit Ahumado (Sal Lopez), who has kidnapped and is torturing war hero Capt. Inish Scull (Val Kilmer). It's not easy being a Texas Ranger and having a personal life, however, as Gus struggles with the great love of his life, Clara (Linda Cardellin), and Woodrow with Maggie (Elizabeth Banks), the prostitute who's the mother of his son.

It's a beautifully filmed Western with an involving story. It's no "Lonesome Dove," but then what is?

THE GOLDEN GLOBES have fallen victim to the Writers Guild of America strike — and it's no great loss. Heck, it's no loss at all.

The WGA planned to picket the event; actors won't cross the picket line; the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and NBC faced huge embarrassment.

So what we're getting is a (tape-delayed) press conference (Sunday, 8 p.m., Ch. 5) to announce the winners, following a Globes-themed "Dateline" from 6-8 p.m.

Who cares? In an industry inundated with awards of questionable validity, the Golden Globes are more questionable than most. Not only is the membership of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association dubious, but the nominating and voting processes are sketchy at best.

And the HFPA accepts millions of dollars from NBC-Universal to telecast the awards, so members are taking money from an organization they cover. That conflict of interest would get any reputable journalist fired.

At least the boycott-turned-press conference will spare us all the tearful acceptance speeches from actors expressing their undying gratitude to the "journalists" who give them the awards — the same actors who express utter loathing for the press the other 364 days of the year.


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