The silly, confusing plot of this lame NBC pilot turns on an amnesia-stricken superspy for an Armand Hammer-like industrialist (to quote one character) trying to figure out his job description. Audience might develop its own case of amnesia and forget this show ever aired.

The silly, confusing plot of this lame NBC pilot turns on an amnesia-stricken superspy for an Armand Hammer-like industrialist (to quote one character) trying to figure out his job description. Audience might develop its own case of amnesia and forget this show ever aired.

The title doesn’t help viewers get a lock on what the potential series is about, either. Although explained by one in the secret nest of superspies, this information, like most of the cliched dialogue, is quickly forgotten.

Alex McArthur, superspy “Richard” or “Jack” or “George,” depending on to whom you speak, is a master of identities–“a chameleon,” as one of the scary-looking operatives says–who has the bad luck to wake up, poolside in Honduras, next to a dead girl.

As if that weren’t enough, his skull has been bashed in and he can’t remember anything about the previous evening, except for illuminating flashbacks centered on Kim Delany and sex.

Luckily for Alex, these flashbacks contain helpful plot points and key info that impels the plot, for want of a better word, forward.

Naturally, he leaves the scene of the crime (the American Embassy is probably closed for lunch or something) and is spirited back to L.A., where he is taken indiscreetly (all of the superspies have a problem with being discreet) by limousine to the HQ of the superspies, whose leader is hilariously named “The Hat.” His name is spoken in hushed tones and adds unintentional humor to the deadly earnestness of the proceedings.

From this point on, the plot thickens with questions like so much flour spooned into simmering gravy: Did McArthur kill thegirl? Whom do all these superspies work for? Does he work for the same guy that they do? What does Delany have to do with anything? Why should the audience care? “Corner” peoples its cast with weird, sinister-looking character actors spouting hackneyed dialogue and always making the kinds of mistakes that the baddies in James Bond movies make, allowing Bond–or in this case, McArthur –to escape. Viewers will also figure out much of the plot before the characters do, killing any suspense.

Character development is largely ignored, giving the normally likable McArthur and Delany nothing to do except sink deeper into that cave of deadly earnestness. Well, at least they look good, especially after escaping from the clutches of the superspy baddies.

Delany’s character wants to bring down McArthur’s boss and head of the superspies, Dr. Grandwell (James Coburn).

She’s an investigative reporter for, among other publications, the N.Y. Times. She stays in hotel penthouse suites and jumps into Jacuzzis in matching bra-and-panties and has sex with McArthur at the drop of his pretty eyes–is this how Abe Rosenthal started?

Coburn hasn’t much to do as the supposedly evil megabillionaire industrialist Dr. Grandwell. Besides wanting to kill the pesky Delany and turncoat McArthur, what kind of evil has this man wrought upon the world? He comes off looking like a normal capitalist protecting his interests.

Forget it.

The Fifth Corner

(Fri. (17), 9-11 p.m., NBC-TV)

Production

Filmed in Los Angeles by John Herzfeld Prods./Adelson-Baumgarten Prods. in association with TriStar Television. Exec producers, Gary Adelson, Craig Baumgarten; exec producer, writer, director, John Herzfeld; producer, Paul Pompian; supervising producer, Bryce Zabel; co-producer, Robert Florio; associate producer, Andrea Lapins.

Crew

Camera, Steven Shaw, Rodney Chartes; production design, Michael Helmy; editors, Janet Bartels, Florio; music, David Michael Frank; costumes, Deborah Everton; stunt coordinator, Charles Picerni; fight coordinator, Dave Lea.

Cast

Cast: Alex McArthur, J.E. Freeman, Kim Delany, Julia Nixon-Soul, Christoph Ohrt, Anthony Valentine, James Coburn, Madchen Amick, Mark Joy, Voyo, Sergio Calderon.
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