In what may be an attempt to duplicate the success and artistic standards of "The Brady Bunch," ABC has assembled a crew of five similar children and relocated them in Hawaii. there, amid the sand and surf, they confront what on television passes for problems in "The Mackenzies of Paradise Cove," a series premiering tonight at 8:30 on Channel 7.
The premise -- an explanation of which is one elecment, aside from intelligence and talent, that is missing from the show -- is that these five blonds have been orphaned by parents who had the good sense to get lost at sea in some unexplained accident.
Aided by their "crusty and free-spirited" uncle, played by a chubby Clu Gulager, the kids raise themselves, with the 17-year-old twins funcationing as sort of surrogate parents. The source of their financial support is unclear, other than big sister Bridget's job as a tour guide.
In this episode one child tackles the heady concept of machismo through a club initiation in which he nearly gets a tattoo -- before changing his mind at the last minute and delivering a speech so pompous no child would be caught dead uttering it. Actually, any child who did would be caught, dead, because his companions would probably bludgeon him into silence.
Meanwhile, Bridget has a romance with a rich tourist -- but the details of it are too cloying to repeat. "The Mackenzies of Paradies Cove" is a thoroughly insipid attempt at goodhearted family entertainment that fails to contribute anything more than a few scenic shots of Hawaii. Families might be better off arguing than watching this.