04/09/1990 at 01:00 AM EDT
NBC (Sat., April 9:30 P.M. ET)
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.