Picks and Pans Review: Maximum Bob

updated 08/03/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/03/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

ABC (Tuesdays, 10 p.m. ET)

An ABC press release calls Maximum Bob a "quirky, humorous drama." Why don't they flat-out admit this summer series is a comedy, and a wild one at that? Executive producer Barry Sonnenfeld directed the entertaining big-screen adaptation of Elmore Leonard's Get Shorty. Maximum Bob is also based on a Leonard novel, but this time Sonnenfeld (who directed the Aug. 4 pilot) and his team are really having fun with it. As in the book, Bob Gibbs (Beau Bridges) is a flamboyant Florida judge married to a psychic and former theme-park mermaid (Kiersten Warren). But the series jacks up the eccentricity, giving the sheriff (Sam Robards) a passion for ballroom dancing and featuring a weird clan of rednecks in black-rimmed glasses. The plotting looks to be outlandish, as in the Aug. 18 episode's melange of smuggled cigars, Cuban freedom fighters and federal agents outfitted à la Sonnenfeld's Men in Black. Like the attractive public defender (Liz Vassey) just up from Miami, we think we'll stick around Bob's town—Deep Water by name—out of sheer amazement.

Bottom Line: Enjoyable disorder in the court

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