Picks and Pans Review: Armed & Famous

updated 01/22/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/22/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET)


This new series promises to have classic moments of surreal camp—it's hard to forget La Toya Jackson sinking down like a dying swan after being zapped with a Taser—but the premiere hour also packs some actual dramatic ammo.

Jackson is one of five stars who volunteer to be trained as cops for the law enforcement department of Muncie, Ind. The others are Erik Estrada, still famous for playing Ponch on the '70s cop show CHiPs; Jack Osbourne; Jason "Wee-Man" Acuña, the 4'7" star of Jackass; and ex-wrestler Trish Stratus. So far they've been taught how to shoot a firearm and order a suspect out of a car. Sometimes the show feels like Muncie 911!, but the performers seem gratified to be given duties rooted in real communal purpose. You begin to wonder whether your typical star feels insubstantial, lost in the pearly cloud of fame, and longs for such concreteness.

They also go out on patrol, teamed with full-time officers, and bust some genuinely tattered down-and-outers. These include a toothless old woman arrested on suspicion of dealing crack cocaine. She recognizes Estrada and cackles, "This is the wrong way to have to meet you, Ponch."

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