Fox (Tuesdays, 9 P.M. ET)
Fisher Stevens plays a New Jersey factory worker who fulfills a dream by moving to Key West, Fla., and getting a job on the local newspaper. (The premise is that he has won the slate lottery, but after 10 minutes of the pilot there is absolutely no sign that Fisher is sitting on a cash cache.) He is immediately awash in a sea of eccentrics: Rastas, hookers, recovering alcoholics and Cajuns with names like Co Co, Cha Cha, Jojo and Gumbo. The new age sheriff (Brian Thompson) introduces himself to Fisher thusly: “I’m Sheriff Cody Jeremiah Jefferson. I’m a direct descendant of Wyatt Earp and the Lone Ranger. My personal heroes are Ted Nugent, Buddha and Davy Crockett. I am the last real lawman and the first peace officer of the 21st century.”
Are you getting the idea that this show is a little overwritten? In trying to ape the offbeat tone of Northern Exposure, Key West overshoots colorful and goes all the way to gaudy. The pilot is a train wreck of contrived set pieces. Even when the program settles down in subsequent episodes, it’s little more than a freak-show folly.