Picks and Pans Review: Crossroads
ABC (Mon., Sept. 14, 8 P.M. ET)
Robert Urich is the quintessential TV star: handsome, likable, durable, bland. Though he has spent hundreds of onscreen hours over the last two decades with his face locked in that trademark determined, squinty-eyed scowl, it's a nonthreatening anger—you can tell Urich is 'mad at some slimy miscreant or grave injustice, not at you.
Metaphysics meets family values in his ninth network series, a sort of video version of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Urich plays Johnny Hawkins, a man of part-Native American extraction, a reformed drinker who drops his career as a star Manhattan prosecutor to take off across the country on a vintage motorcycle with his long-estranged, resentful juvenile-delinquent son (Dalton James).
Along the highways and byways, they meet colorful characters, while learning about life and each other. (If you're getting a Michael Landon-ish glow, you're right on track.) The pilot is worth watching for a lovely performance by Roberts Blossom as a landlocked Missouri farmer who has always dreamed about sailing the seven seas and who has been building a boat in his barn for 37 years.
This is one warm, wholesome drama. Actually, warm is overstating it by a few degrees. Tepid is more like it. Urich's presence alone should draw some viewers, but probably not enough to keep this show afloat for long in its regular slot on Saturdays at 9 P.M. ET.
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