My feeling is that the least we should ask of a television program is that it be a complete waste of time. What hurts are the shows so bad you can't even bear to be in the same room with them.
Year in and year out, ABC has come up with more of such television than any other network. Tonight, at 8 on Channel 7, another corpse is added to the heap: "B.A.D. Cats," a mangy cop romp that would qualify as a poor man's "Starsky and Hutch" if "Starsky and Hutch" weren't already poorer than any man should get.
In what one would think would be a time-dishonored tradition by now, the heroes of "Cats" are, like S&H, one blond and one brunet buddy-boy cops who ride roughshod over tired terrain in a souped-up jalopy. At the beginning of the show they chase a Mercedes 450 SL, in the middle a Datsun 280-Z and at the end, a hearse.
They also exhibit terrible taste in TV from the consumer point of view since at one point they are seen watching "Vegas," another sub-minimal TV show which is from the same producers as "Cats" and "Starsky." You see, it is all beginning to make a sickening kind of sense.
Drive-time television is different from drive-time radio. Drive-time television programs are those that exist only as settings for vehicular movement and an occasional pretty girl. Thus the cars have as much character as the pathetic outlines masquerading as humans. As the hero team, Asher Brauner and Steven Hanks -- swartho and blonde, respectively -- should both plan on returning to guest psycho roles on "Barnaby Jones" very soon.
Jimmie "J.J." Walker, who must have fallen under the spell of malicious management, plays the continuing role of a jivey, street-wise car thief -- and constitutes as clear an example of racially demeaning comic relief as Mantan Moreland did at his most pop-eyed. In addition LaWanda Page reprises her bossy black woman stereotype, now as wearisome and unwelcome as an apple-cheeked mammy.
At one point, a notable actor, Michael V. Gazzo ("The Godfather"), tries to contribute something of worth to the program in his role as a smalltime crook but, to keep things consistent, writer Al Martinez kills him off midway through the plot. Martinez is a former newspaperman; perhaps he got into cop-show writing to see how far he could sink.