Picks and Pans Review: The Highwayman

updated 04/11/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/11/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Fridays, 8 p.m. ET)

D-

Brandon Tartikoff can't help himself, that's the only possible explanation. Yes, as programming chief at NBC, he has given us a hit in Cosby and quality in L.A. Law and made his network No. 1. But at the same time, a little devil's voice inside his head also made him give life to Supertrain, Manimal, The A-Team, Riptide, Hunter and the new and idiotic Sonny Spoon (which is gone for now but which, Brandon vows, will return, darn the luck). Now Brandon unveils another brainless show. At the beginning of The Highwayman, a baritone intones: "There is a world just beyond now where reality rides a razor-thin seam between fact and possibility, where the laws of the present collide with the crimes of tomorrow." In other words, we are in a network executive's brain. In there we find The Highwayman, which is just Knight Rider set in a truck, a weird truck that looks like the old Oscar Mayer hot-dog-shape wiener-mobile with a thyroid condition. Sam (Flash Gordon) Jones stars as the highwayman—his friends call him "Highway" and young folks call him "Uncle Highway." As his co-star, NBC recruited Jacko, the guy in the battery commercial (no, not Robert Conrad—the guy in the other battery commercial, that huge, grimacing, screaming Australian). Actually, these guys don't star. The truck stars. The men are merely co-stars. All they do is deliver lines like, "Looks like we'll have to shoot our way out." That and beating people up, shooting people, running people over and otherwise providing a fine example for the young people of America today. Thank you, Brandon.

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