05/02/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT
Fox (Sat., April 30, 8 p.m. ET)
The premiere of Dirty Dozen: The Series copies the by-now-standard format of the movie and its many made-for-TV sequels: The maverick officer—Ben (Alias Smith and Jones) Murphy, taking over the position made famous by Lee Marvin—is assigned a suicide mission. He goes to the brig to recruit no-good soldiers sentenced to long terms or death. He trains them to fight the enemy instead of each other. Then they go on their mission—to bomb a Nazi radar station—and a few come back alive. This Dirty Dozen has the good sense to thrust its tongue into its cheek, transforming war movie clichés into camp kicks. "If I do come back alive," says an actor-turned-soldier being recruited for the Dozen, "that would make pretty good publicity, wouldn't it?...Okay, let's call it a career move." A woman soldier worries about killing her first human being, but a comrade comforts her: "Well, they're in season, aren't they?" I'm not sure that Fox or the world needed another war show, but if we have to have one, this is not a bad one to have—so long as it keeps its sense of humor about death and destruction.