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TV REVIEW : Insipid Remake of 'Hendersons'

January 12, 1991|IRV LETOFSKY

An odd twist of fate for the Hollywood actor: Here's Bruce Davison, talented, widely respected, with several awards already and very possibly an Oscar nomination next month for his powerful performance in "Longtime Companion." And here's Bruce Davison as the stumbling, bumbling father in an awful series remake of the family feature film "Harry and the Hendersons."

He takes the John Lithgow role as the dad of a dense, if loving, Henderson family that happens across the 8-foot Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest woods and takes him into its heart and hearth. (The towering Kevin Peter Hall reprises his role under the fur as the kindly, muddled Harry.)

The series opens at 6 p.m. Sunday on KTTV Channel 11.

Produced by the omnipotent Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television in a deal with Universal TV and Fox-owned stations, it stands quite alone for odd reasons. For one thing, 130-plus stations have agreed to run all 72 episodes over the next three years, an unprecedented commitment.

It may be a loooong three years because, at least in its first two episodes, it also stands alone for insipidness. It's obvious and witless, even the few tender moments. Granted, setting a premise in one episode about a family trying to live with a big pet and trying to keep it secret is tricky, but the second episode also plods and drags. The cast seems unmoved by the scripts and overplays itself to a laugh machine that also seems indifferent to the occasion.

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