Review: ‘Yesterday Today’

A half-hour pilot with appealing characters and an artful concept offers a hero who, in a coma for 20 years, returns to consciousness at 34 to the changes that have occurred since 1972. A drama with a purpose, a series could have something to say.

A half-hour pilot with appealing characters and an artful concept offers a hero who, in a coma for 20 years, returns to consciousness at 34 to the changes that have occurred since 1972. A drama with a purpose, a series could have something to say.

After having suffered a football injury, Rick (Nick Gregory) comes back to a life to find car phones and a new “Star Trek”–and discovers that sweetheart Jean (Betsy Brantley) has married his best friend. His widowered father tries helping Rick, but Rick has to find his own way.

Writers Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming set up his childhood friends as adults who still care for him–Jean was writing letters to him to keep him informed until her parents made her stop–and one of the fellows he envied when they were kids has become a turnip.

Rick knows only too well he’s alone: “Everyone went on without me …” And threaded throughout the pilot is Rick’s yearning for Jean. When he does finally meet her, its a touching encounter.

Whether or not the idea of new worlds for Rick’s old one could sustain a series would be a challenge, and TV doesn’t suit up for many challenges. A strong draw would be the adroit Nick Gregory, who nimbly limns an adult man with a boy’s knowledge of life.

Production values are solid, and the acting’s above par. Rick Rosenthal’s direction is on target–he, the cast and the writers have developed people worth caring about.

Yesterday Today

(Fri. (3), 8-8:30 p.m., NBC-TV)

Production

Filmed by E & E Enterprises Ltd. and Anagazi Prods. in association with Paramount. Exec producers, Eugenie Ross-Leming, Brad Buckner, Ted Danson, Robert Benedetti; producer, Arthur Seidel; director, Rick Rosenthal; writers, Buckner, Ross-Leming.

Crew

Camera, Neil Roach; editor, Roger Bondelli; sound, David Ronne; music, Tom Snow; production designer, Albert Brenner.

Cast

Cast: Nick Gregory, Daniel Baldwin, Greg Germann, Betsy Brantley, Scott Richard Wolf, Bettina Rae, Kevin Tighe, Eve Plumb, E.E. Bell, Kevin Telles Roberts, Anne Gee Byrd.
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