‘Beyond the Blackboard’ redeems heroic-teacher clichés
“Beyond the Blackboard” (Sunday, 8 p.m., CBS) is another entry
in a disreputable movie genre: the white middle-class teacher who goes into
the ‘hood and, against all odds, gets through to the previously unreachable
disadvantaged kids. I’m personally inclined to distrust these glorified
stories, having been a teacher myself in a disadvantaged neighborhood with
less than glorious results.
But I admit to falling for “Beyond the Blackboard,” despite the cookie-cutter plot: Young teacher Stacy (Emily VanCamp, based on a real person) works wonders with homeless kids despite a rocky start. She brings in fruit cups, paints the room and instills a sense of purpose in her class.
The result is a poignant production, and I wish I’d seen it before my own teaching experience. I don’t know why I didn’t think of fruit cups.
Friday, 9 p.m. (SyFy)
“Sanctuary” is yet another droll SyFy series with a fantastical setting: a compound that shelters “abnormals.” This week’s episode is constructed like a classical mystery, as if Agatha Christie had written a story involving aliens. Ellen (Amanda Tapping), the head of the Sanctuary, returns from a trip and finds the place a shambles.
They begin to piece together the evidence, turning up disturbing surveillance
footage of coworkers attacking each other with no apparent motivation. “Something
clearly altered our behavior and messed with our heads, right?” says
one confused staffer.
Something did — and I suspect it might have been the clever writing staff. CV