Sam Adams
October 08, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Tanner '88

Current Status
In Season
Michael Murphy, Cynthia Nixon
Garry Trudeau

We gave it a B+

Fret not, political junkies: Jack Tanner’s 1988 run for the presidency hasn’t slipped your mind. The blend of fact and fiction in this 11-part miniseries may be seamless enough to convince even the most devout Drudge readers that they’ve forgotten a onetime candidate, but Jack Tanner (Michael Murphy) is entirely the creation of Robert Altman (updating Nashville and Garry Trudeau (animating Doonesbury). As a media satire, Tanner ’88 was instantly dated, but its portrait of a Democratic candidate struggling to define himself hits close to home now. Guests like Pat Robertson and Kitty Dukakis abound, but the most surprising face is a pre-Sex and the City Cynthia Nixon as Tanner’s idealistic (read: Amy Carter-esque) daughter.

EXTRAS Essays by critics Michael Wilmington and Gary Kornblau, an enlightening Altman-Trudeau tête-à-tête, and delightful new ”interviews” with the characters offer a prelude to the Sundance Channel’s distinct series Tanner on Tanner, which begins a four-episode run on Oct. 5.

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