Picks and Pans Review: Dragnet and Adam 12
Grades: Dragnet C+ and Adam 12B-
The late Jack Webb became a TV legend starring as stony Sgt. Joe Friday on the acclaimed cop show Dragnet (1952-59 and 1967-70). He also produced the series Adam 12 (1968-75). Both of those original cop shows, set in Los Angeles, were among the first to portray police in real-life situations. Both said, you'll recall, that "only the names were changed to protect the innocent." And both shows relied more on wordplay than gunplay. Both series are back, with fresh scripts and four virtual newcomers. A honked-up Adam 12 is the more entertaining and deftly written of the two thus far. Peter Parros (Knight Rider) and Ethan Wayne (The Bold and the Beautiful, son of John) nicely re-create the aw-shucks demeanor that highlighted the Martin Milner-Kent McCord program. And, like that series, our heroes have a most unusual caseload: snipers, would-be jumpers, gang warfare and a topless sunbather for good measure. Dragnet has good acting too. But Jeff Osterhage (who sounds a lot like the gravel-voiced Webb) and Bernard White (who has made memorable appearances in Santa Barbara and Murder, She Wrote) have to spend most of their time overcoming predictable story lines and clichéd scripts.
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