Picks and Pans Review: Coming of Age

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

originally published 04/11/1988 01:00AM

CBS (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET)

A

The folks at CBS, now known as the No. 3 Network, appear to be suicidal. They get a 100 percent wonderful show and what do they do with it? They bury it in the Tuesday garbage heap after the belch-worthy Trial and Error and My Sister Sam and up against that erstwhile competition-killer, Moonlighting. If this series dies, then I want to see the Littlest Network's programming boss drawn and quartered. In slow motion. Coming of Age is that good, so good that it deserves defending, so good it deserves watching. This new sitcom stars Paul (Breaking Away) Dooley as an airline pilot who is forced to retire at age 60. Then he's dragooned by his wife (Phyllis Newman) into moving to an Arizona retirement community inhabited by benign, white-haired bozos: Alan (Mister Ed) Young as a hobby-happy neighbor in loud plaid pants, Glynis Johns as his smiley wife, and Ruta Lee as the neighborhood's black-widow sexpot. Dooley brings wry, rebellious cynicism to this too-sunny town: He stands at the window counting gray heads and missing winter in Pittsburgh because "I have a whole new appreciation of freezing now that I know what 116 feels like.... Maybe these people aren't old, maybe they're just dehydrated." If you love TV, you have to love this show just for bringing back Mister Ed's Wilbur and also, in a guest appearance, My Mother the Car's Dave (Jerry Van Dyke). But there's another reason to love Coming of Age: It's just plain great.

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