Picks and Pans Review: The Cavanaughs

updated 12/08/1986 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/08/1986 01:00AM

CBS (Mondays, 9:30 p.m. ET)

B+

Take Archie Bunker, move him up a few steps on the social scale and a few flights on the evolutionary scale, give him a heart, make him 100 percent Irish, plop him in Boston, put him into politics, and you have the beginnings of The Cavanaughs, a promising new sitcom. In the pilot, already aired, Barnard Hughes throws a wake for his buddy Tim. "Put JFK over the top in '60, Tim and I—what with the cemetery vote," Hughes boasts. He's patriarch to an odd if affable clan: Daughter Christine (Saturday Night Live) Ebersole, who returns home after seven estranged years, is an actress whose thin claim to fame was two guest spots on The Bionic Woman. Son Peter Michael Goetz is a widower who has a priest and two terrible twins for sons and a chronically shy Catholic schoolgirl named Mary Margaret for a daughter. It's a great bunch of characters (nicely brought to life by the cast), and that usually makes for a great sitcom. Unfortunately, so much work went into characterization that plot and gags suffer slightly—but those sitcom woes are easily cured. I have high hopes for this one.

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