NBC (Sun., Nov. 20, 7 p.m. ET)
Okay, baby boomers, raise your voices high and follow the bouncing ball: “Da-vy, Da-vy Crockett, king of the wild frontier.” Now another generation of little frontiersmen…oops, frontierspersons…will be able to don their coonskin caps and sing along because Davy’s back in a new rotating series on The Magical World of Disney. Times have changed since Fess Parker first played Davy back in 1954. Since then, we’ve lived through the ’60s and ’70s. Now war is hell, guns aren’t fun and Indians are people, not hooting savages. So here is a new Davy Crockett for the ’80s, a Davy with a sensitive soul. In the two-hour premiere, Johnny Cash guest-stars as a middle-aged Crockett who reminisces about his young days in the Tennessee Volunteers. Cue the flashback and enter Tim (Mr. Smith) Dunigan as the new, young Davy. He watches with horror as soldiers attack an Indian camp and kill women; he’s moral. He escapes danger thanks to his wits more than his gunpowder; he’s not macho. He can’t help staring at a beautiful woman taking a bath in the river; he’s human. The new series does a good job of raising Davy’s consciousness without turning him into a dullard. There are still great romps—the Tennessee Volunteers running down a mountain, hollering all the way—and there are thrills. And that fun stuff will shine more in a one-hour series than it can in this two-hour movie. But what’s clear is that this Davy, like the original Davy, manages to be a show for kids without looking like a show for kids. It’s not twinkie like an afterschool special. It has drama and excitement like a real show. It is a real show.