By Terry Kelleher
Updated September 15, 1997 12:00 PM

Fox (Thursdays, 9 p.m. ET)


In light of the title, we’d like to be more optimistic about this gritty, well-intentioned show set at a teencrisis center in New York City (and created by actor-comedian Damon Wayans, Keenen’s brother). But in the Sept. 11 premiere, even the comic relief is overdone. In one scene the staff lawyer (Kelly Coffield) makes a fool of herself as a substitute dance instructor; in the next an HIV-positive boy (Stephen Berra) tries to stab himself to death and bleeds all over the center’s psychologist (Jesse L. Martin). Okay, we get the idea: This is an anything-can-happen place. Later the psychologist rejects the advances of his sexy wife (Dawn Stern), fearing he may have been infected during the botched suicide. When a lonely, single counselor (Shari Headley) tries to adopt the infant child of a crackhead (Vincent Laresca) and a slain hooker, the show starts sounding like 413 Soap St. And Richard Roundtree (Shaft) is even stiffer than necessary as the rich ex-businessman who runs the center. To be credible with the street kids, lose the boardroom wardrobe.