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TELEVISION REVIEW

'Shooting' for redemption

Tom Sizemore has called his new reality series a public service. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

It says quite a bit about the allure of fame that, for a certain brand of celebrity, redemption these days has to be accompanied by a reality TV crew.

In other words, it's unclear exactly what actor Tom Sizemore is getting out of his new VH1 series, "Shooting Sizemore," which premieres at 10:30 p.m. tomorrow. It purports to be a behind-the-scenes tale of Sizemore's return to the industry's good graces, after a long, dark, period that involved an assault conviction (of then-girlfriend Heidi Fleiss), stints in jail and rehab, and an episode in which he faked a drug test with the use of a device called a "Whizzinator."

The premiere episode, available on VH1's streaming video site, "VSPOT," meets Sizemore upon his return from rehab and accompanies him to a court hearing. From the start, he doesn't look good -- not physically, since he appears bloated and haggard, and not spiritually, since a preview of future episodes promises he'll lapse on his pledge of clean behavior.

That's not to say the six-part series won't be interesting, chiefly for the tiny moments when it peels away Hollywood artifice. In the first episode, Sizemore lies back in a plastic surgeon's chair as the doctor gives him collagen shots -- something he always gets before he's about to shoot a film. (He's best known for roles in "Heat" and "Saving Private Ryan.") It's an ugly process; blood pools on his face.

"It feels really good to be here," Sizemore tells the cameras, "because it reminds me where I used to be."

Sizemore recently told the Los Angeles Times that he did the series as a public service: to teach people about the perils of substance abuse.

But it's also clear that, to someone who enjoyed the trappings of celebrity -- and was forced, by court order, to go without them for a while -- the camera's mere attention is its own reward.

Joanna Weiss can be reached at weiss@globe.com. For more on TV visit boston.com/ae/tv/blog.

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