A radiant Julie Andrews, diving into sitcomland, finds it’s only ankle deep. Playing singing star Julie Carlyle, who runs from BevHills to Sioux City to marry widower-veterinarian Sam McGuire, Andrews exudes graciousness under pressure; otherwise, “Julie” is just another sitcom with a gimmick.
Concept involves Carlyle, host of a national TV variety series, hauling her program to Iowa with her producer, Wooley Woolstein (Eugene Roche, handed the unhappiest lines in the script).
She’s going to strike a balance between being a star, a wife and stepmom to Sam’s two reluctant offspring, 14-year-old Allie (Hayley Tyrie) and her young brother Adam (Rider Strong), both stereotypes whose antics seem designed to please their viewing peers.
Opening getting-to-know-you chapter brings along determined character Bernie (Laurel Cronin), the housekeeper who’s supposed to be funny. Kevin Scannell plays scattered local TV announcer Dickie Duncan, potentially an amusing part; Alicia Brandt appears as a n.s.f. production assistant.
Andrews sails pluckily through the strained humor of the preem show written by Madeline Sunshine and Steven Sunshine, but secondary, uninnovative characters could have been phoned in.
Blake Edwards directed the thin series opener in the six-program summer series. Collection of exec producers would be wise to rethink the format if it hopes for a winter pickup: A prize gem deserves a Tiffany setting.