NBC (Thurs., Sept. 24, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Greed produces spin-offs. NBC couldn’t be happy having the most obscenely successful show on the air: Cosby. No. They had to steal Lisa Bonet away, diluting Cosby only so she could star in a watery, bland series of her own. The pilot episode of A Different World was as weak as the punch at a Baptist wedding. NBC smelled trouble, so Anne (Square Pegs) Beatts was hired to make a new show. Things only got worse. The pilot was merely mediocre. The new show is uncomfortably bad. World has stock college characters—the rich Southern deb named Whitley, the preppie named Chip and the weird guy who never gets the girl—Andy Hardys, every one. And it has stock college traumas, like the neat roommate who can’t get along with a slob. Only the solutions are new. “Look,” the dorm adviser tells Bonet, “why don’t you try applying some positive energy to the situation?” This sitcom needs more than positive energy. It needs talent. If A Different World fails—and it should—I only hope NBC has the sense to forgive Bonet and welcome her home, where she’s always been terrific, on Cosby.