Picks and Pans Review: Crusoe

updated 10/20/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/20/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC, Oct. 17, 8 p.m. ET

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The arrival of this family-friendly adventure probably owes more to the swashbuckling success of Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean movies than to the Daniel Defoe novel of 1719. In the two-hour premiere, shipwrecked Robinson Crusoe (Philip Winchester, who looks as if he could have starred on Broadway in Disney's Tarzan musical) has already set up a beautifully designed, presumably "green" tree home with his one and only companion, Friday (Tongayi Chirisa). Together they fight off a yellow-toothed pirate and other villains pursuing buried gold.

Kids should enjoy it. Grown-ups may be more intrigued by flashbacks to Crusoe's life in England, where a powerful but untrustworthy friend (Sam Neill) seems to have had it in for him. Or they may long for the stray metaphysical oddities that baffle the Lost castaways. Certainly a polar bear would be a nice thing.


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