"CHIPS" is "Adam 12" on Kawasaki's, but with a few differences. The cop team this time, played by Eric Estrada and Larry Wilcox, is more colorful and, literally and figuratively, less pedestrian. And though the show indeed is dull, it's at least never quite irritating.
In fact, there are some breezy flights of fancy on the premiere, airing tonight at 8 on NBC (Channel 4). Actually they are flights of helicopter, as the camera takes us aloft again and again for handsome aerial views of L.A. freeways.
Back on Gas Station Earth, Estrada handily steals the show with dashing smile, flashing teeth and what one lovely lady in distress calls "soft eyes," but there's something condescending about the script's depiction of him as a whacky ethnic. He keeps getting into sticky situations ("Aw, gee," he says when he finds his bike mired in spilled glue) so his white pal can help him out of them.
Still, they're a likeable pair. They never fire a gun, or even draw one from a holster - at least on the premiere - and they demonstrate that cops don't spend all their time pummeling pimps and junkies. The action is mainly confined to the open road and includes an opening bike and Porsche chase unusually well-filmed for TV.
"CHIPS" stands for California Highway Patrol. The "i" was added because "CHPs" is hard to pronounce and the guys don't like being called "Chippies." After all, what would Broderick Crawford say? 'Carter Country'
On the one hand it would seem that any comedy series with an actor named Guich Koock in its cast couldn't be all bad. On the other, ABC's "Carter Country" comes pretty close.
The premiere show, at 9:30 tonight on Channel 7, proves simple-minded stuff - "Barney Miller" with bigots. The series is set in a southern town, presumably Georgian, since the opener has everybody preparing for a downhome visit from President Carter.
Semi-comic friction is perpetually in motion between the rednecked old-timers on the local police force and a hip black cop from New York (Kene Holiday). A crotchety and tiresome oldtimer named Jasper (Harvey Vinton), anti-Semitic as well as racist, gets bested by the black cop while the studio audience yocks approvingly.
Victor French, as the chief, has a good comedy persona and plays well opposite Holliday, but even the chief turns out to have a Confederate streak, and we are expected to find this chucklesome and adorable. To the contrary, such touches and the whole gang of one-characteristic characters make one wish to stay as far away from "Carter Country" as possible. 'Redd Foxx Show'
To paraphrase Oscar Levant, an evening with Redd Foxx is a Redd Foxx evening. There are some bawdy, rowdy moments of healthy low comedy on tonight's premiere of Foxx's ABC variety series, but a full hour of seeing Redd proves excessive and monotonous.
Although the show opens - at 10 o'clock on Channel 7 - with visits from Jimmy Carter and Queen Elizabeth II look-alikes, and includes a number from "The Wiz," there aren't enough guest stars or non-Foxxian moments to provide' variety or relief. Foxx may be a funny man, but he is no Orson Welles.
When he announces he's going to sing Cole Porter's "Easy to Love," you expect at least a chicken to fall from the rafters - or something. But no, Foxx is serious; he thinks he's a singer, too. Foxx and Telly Savalas can serenade each other any time they want, but the rest of us should be spared. It's as if Howard Cosell decided to play Hamlet.
Welcome surprises include a fairly funny appearnace by LaWanda Page - like Foxx, a former resident of NBC's "Sanford and Son" - and a drop-in from Chuck Barris of "The Gong Show," where Foxx's singing really belongs. When the comedian tells us, near the show's close, "I hope you enjoyed it; I know I did," the latter sentiment seems far more plausible than the former.