It's hardly news that contemporary television programming presents a minefield of potentially offensive content to conscientious parents.
Not since the late 1980s advent of Fox's "Married ... With Children," perhaps not since the spate of frequently edgy comedies produced by Norman Lear beginning in the 1970s, has it been a safe bet for Mom, Dad and the kids to channel-surf at random. Nor, despite the absence of smirking sexual jokes and leering innuendo, does the field of TV drama necessarily offer families a safe haven.
The occasional "Hallmark Hall of Fame" series -- which reaches all the way back to Christmas Eve 1951 -- has long been an admirable holdout against this downward trend. While the aesthetic quality of its productions may vary, the values showcased, together with the behavior and vocabulary on display, make these now-and-then treats reliably worry-free.
The latest offering to bear the Hallmark imprint, the romantic drama "Remember Sunday," airs on ABC Sunday, April 21, 9-11 p.m. EDT.
This endearing, if slightly naive, tale charts the amatory problems of New Orleans jewelry shop assistant Gus Gillenwater (Zachary Levi). Three years before we first encounter him, Gus, then a high-powered California-based astrophysicist, suffered an aneurism that resulted in the complete loss of his short-term memory.
Returning to the Crescent City, his hometown, Gus has since relied on his sister, Lucy (Merritt Wever), and lifelong best pal, Jerry (David Hoffman), to keep him oriented, since each morning he wakes up with no awareness of the recent past.
His difficulties become even more acute after Gus falls for perky but disorganized waitress Molly (Alexis Bledel). Though Molly has captured his heart, simply by going to sleep each night, Gus forgets that he has ever met her. He has to use written and recorded notes to remind himself that she even exists.
Somewhat implausibly, Gus lacks the courage to explain his impairment to Molly. So matters become ever more complicated as Molly is forced to wonder why her otherwise ideal new boyfriend keeps behaving so erratically.
Though the plot may sometimes seem to be propped up by artifice, both main characters are sympathetic -- especially so the frequently bewildered but always good-hearted Gus. The relationship between the pair, moreover, is sweetly respectful and based on mutual concern for each other's welfare.
"Remember Sunday" is rated TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested.