on the tube

By Jared Curtis

Brace yourself for the most powerful adaptation ever


After reading “The Diary of Anne Frank,” you really can’t get anything done for the rest of the day. Anne’s account of hiding from the Nazis gives you a profound sense of The Best and The Worst of the human race. The Worst wins the battle, as the Nazis send Anne, her family and friends to the concentration camps after their two years in a cramped Amsterdam annex. But The Best wins the war. As fragile as she is, young Anne’s humanity remains indomitable, and her words stand as an eternal rebuke to barbarism.

That’s powerful stuff, and it’s no surprise that movie, TV and theatrical adaptations have fallen short. Until now. “The Diary of Anne Frank” on Masterpiece Classic (Sunday, 8 p.m., PBS) sticks closely to the source material; it doesn’t sanitize, sensationalize or sentimentalize the diary.

The British cast is stunning, particularly Ellie Kendrick as Anne. The actress communicates subtle emotions without hitting a wrong note. She looks very much like Anne, too, giving you the sense that the doomed girl once again walks the Earth.

As a result, the ending arrives with devastating force. So much for getting anything done for the rest of the day. Or week.


Sunday, 9 p.m. (HBO)

David Simon (“The Wire”) sets his new drama in New Orleans just after Hurricane Katrina. We follow a wide range of characters trying to raise themselves, and their city, from the dead, including a down-and-out trombonist, a bar owner, a Mardi Gras Indian chief and a crazed DJ who provides humor amid the wreckage.

“Treme” is in no hurry to get anywhere, plot-wise. The series simply offers a slice of life — but a spicy one, with a side of funky music. Who wouldn’t want another serving of that? CV


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