Picks and Pans Review: Carol & Company

updated 04/09/1990 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/09/1990 01:00AM

NBC (Sat., April 9:30 P.M. ET)

C+

Carol Burnett, the queen of the TV comedy-variety show, returns with a plain but sturdy new series.

While she has kept the familiar theme music from her classic show of the '60s and '70s, she has changed other things. Carol & Company is more stagy than camera-oriented, more talky than slapstick. It also devotes its entire half hour to a single sketch, while The Carol Burnett Show was an hour-long series of skits.

Burnett, joined by guest stars (Dorothy Lyman, Alex Rocco) and a regular supporting cast headed by Terry Kiser, is still a treasure. She always operates at a breakneck pace, going from mousy to maniacal in a heartbeat. The material, however, often doesn't merit her dedication to it. The writing for the most part is unsurprising and listless.

The program (which moves to a 10 P.M. slot in a few weeks) is more solid than most TV comeback vehicles, but it doesn't possess nearly enough energy or originality to permit Burnett to supplant her successor, Tracey Ullman.

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