CBS (Mondays, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Norman Lear, the creator of All in the Family, puts a twist on his old hit. The selling is the same: the Bunkers’ modest tract house in Queens, N.Y. But the outspoken head of the household is now Ernest Cumberbatch (John Amos), a grumpy African-American with a slogie wedged in his mouth. And he’s not shouting at Meathead, calling him a “Pinko.” He’s having heated polemical arguments with his ultraconservalive son (T.E. Russell), in the course of which Pops calls him “an Oreo” and “Uncle Clarence Thomas Jr.”
Yes, it’s role reversal time. Ironic, huh? Slavishly so. But the politics grow more fuzzy with each episode (we’re repeatedly told Amos is a liberal, but there’s no evidence that this is the case). The result is a show that’s talky, stale and rarely funny. You want provocative political humor? Watch Dennis Miller’s live rantings on his new HBO show, Fridays at midnight.