Taped at Warner Bros. Studios by Buckley/Warren Prods. in association with Warner Bros. TV. Exec producers, Charlotte Brown, Ross Brown, William Buckley, Michael Warren; consulting producers, David Steven Cohen, Nancy Stern; producers, Karen K. Miller, Brenda Hanes-Berg; director, William Buckley; writer, Ross Brown; camera, Bruce Nielsen; editor, Leo Papin; art director, Lynn Griffin; sound, Brentley Walton; music, Steven Chesne, Gary Boren. TX:Cast: Kirk Cameron, Chelsea Noble, Louis Vanaria, Will Estes, Taylor Fry, Courtland Mead, Debra Mooney, Oliver Muirhead, Pat Crawford Brown. Welcome to New York, now go home,” may be the refrain of Kirk Cameron’s TV-show neighbors after learning his orphaned character is caring for three younger siblings. But it also may reflect the sentiments of viewers who tune in to this series bow and glimpse a well-trod premise and unimaginative perfs. Scripter Ross Brown delivers a narrowly focused bow, placing the jokes above the issues, but occasionally strays with out-of-place attempts at poignancy.
The attempts are further hampered by Cameron’s kinetic antics, which while fine for a house-bound teenager supervised by Alan Thicke and Joanna Kerns, in this setting appear hokey, forced and immature.
For laughs, Brown paints Kirk’s charges as refugees from a “Bad News Bears” pic, with each event punctuated by dopey repartee and predictable outcome.
Kirk’s narrative voiceover explains how he landed in the Big Apple and how guardian Aunt Zelda decided to get married, bail out of Milford, Ohio, to go to Florida, and palm off the trio of rugratson the recently graduated, wannabe cartoonist Kirk.
Taylor Fry, as Kirk’s 13-year-old sister Phoebe, and Will Estes as 15 -year-old brother Corey deliver enjoyable enough perfs. But they’re not anything to write home to Ohio about.
Courtland Mead is equally watchable as Kirk’s younger brother Russell, but risks little as he adopts the TV-industry standard of a precocious 8-year-old.
Chelsea Noble as Elizabeth, the shapely, med-school neighbor, provides show’s love interest, admiring Kirk for caring for the kids but rebuking his advances nonetheless. Viewers who recognize Noble as the real-life Mrs. Cameron are likely to suspect an eventual pairing.
Although director William Buckley helps a talented and experienced sitcom cast trod familiar territory, that’s not likely to be enough — even with Noble in a bathrobe — to earn viewer loyalty. Following its debut, series will air on Sundays.