Uncommon Heroes

Hosted with intensity and bathos by a white-suited, angelic Hector Elizondo, hour chronicles four true stories of previously anonymous Joes and Janes who become heroes when the chips are down, though one of them happens to rise to the occasion after she's dead. The three others narrate their tales.

With:
Host: Hector Elizondo. This thinly disguised series pilot masquerading as a one-time special from the prolific reality stable of Arnold Shapiro looks an awful lot like Shapiro's canceled "Rescue 911" with a dash of contrived spirituality tossed into the mix. The overzealous emphasis on re-enactment distracts from and cheapens the project's genuine inspirational elements.

Hosted with intensity and bathos by a white-suited, angelic Hector Elizondo, hour chronicles four true stories of previously anonymous Joes and Janes who become heroes when the chips are down, though one of them happens to rise to the occasion after she’s dead. The three others narrate their tales.

TX:Filmed in Los Angeles and various locations by Arnold Shapiro Prods. in association with CBS Prods. Executive producer, Arnold Shapiro; supervising producer, Sueann Fincke; producer, Bonnie Peterson; writer, Carol L. Fleisher; director, Greg Cooke. TX: “Uncommon Heroes” opens with the story of a New England firefighter with an autistic son, driven by his own instincts and through regular chats with God to risk his neck to rescue a 12-year-old autistic boy lost in New Hampshire’s mountains. It comes complete with odd flashback reenactments of the man (played by an actor) trying to calm his emotionally overtaxed son during an attack.

Show moves next to the life-saving measures taken by a dam tender at Cache Creek Dam in Clearlake, who struggles in a rowboat against a raging current to rescue a boy mere seconds before both would have been sucked into a bone-crushing vortex. The kid is so grateful, he promises to get better grades in school.

Third seg deals with a pastor in a Washington, D.C., church who winds up receiving a much-needed new heart from a parishioner ruled brain dead following a stroke. The woman’s family insists that the organ go to the priest, particularly because she once evidently told him, “Father, if I had two hearts, I’d give you one.”

Closing story chronicles a truck driver nearly killed in an explosion; he recovers to help car accident victims.

Sentiment overdose reduces the moments of inspiration in “Uncommon Heroes.” Fact that lookalike actors step in for the actual heroes tends to be confusing, and, besides, some story elements are simply better left to the imagination.

Uncommon Heroes

Production: Uncommon Heroes (Wed. (12), 8-9 p.m., CBS)

With: Host: Hector Elizondo. This thinly disguised series pilot masquerading as a one-time special from the prolific reality stable of Arnold Shapiro looks an awful lot like Shapiro's canceled "Rescue 911" with a dash of contrived spirituality tossed into the mix. The overzealous emphasis on re-enactment distracts from and cheapens the project's genuine inspirational elements.

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