Picks and Pans Review: Almost Grown

updated 11/28/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/28/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Sun., Nov. 27, 9 P.M. ET)

Sometime in the middle of this new series premiere, I expected an 800 number to appear on the screen telling us that from the comfort of our couches we could call and order any of the nostalgic icons we see, or buy T-shirts imprinted with any of the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s clichés we hear: "That's so funny I forgot to laugh.... We have an open relationship.... Dig it, man." With such synthetic memories, Almost Grown shamelessly panders to baby boomers by splicing together The Wonder Years, thirtysomething and MTV (or VH-1). There it fails. But even so, Almost Grown is not hateful. No, if you could strip away all its gimmickry and artificiality, this would be a wonderfully acted and touching series. Timothy (Made in Heaven) Daly and Eve (Beverly Hills Buntz) Gordon star as a couple who mark events in their lives with songs. We meet them in the present, a discordant time in their relationship. As the radio plays Today I Met the Boy I'm Gonna Marry, we flash back to 1962, when these folks met and fell in love. We keep flashing forward and back—inspired by songs that trigger their memories—and watch them grow through high school, college and adulthood. That journey is too often accompanied by cheap and obvious TV-making: As the Chambers Brothers sing The Time Has Come Today, we indeed see time pass. But don't watch that. Instead, watch two talented actors doing their best to bring characters to life, even in a plastic souvenir shop. They elevate Almost Grown from a D+ to a B-

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