Picks and Pans Review: The Master
NBC (Fridays, 8 p.m. ET)
Here’s an exercise in absurdity, the tale of three vans: Lee Van Cleef as an American Ninja warrior, Timothy Van Patten—a WASPy Sylvester Stallone—as his disciple and the souped-up van in which they cruise the country, looking for fights. “You know how these Ninjas are,” says Van Patten, “always going around beheading each other.” Fun guys. Running into fellow Ninjas in the damnedest places—L.A., Vegas, even Illinois—Lee severs their arteries with his fingers; Tim crashes cars; they both kick heads and stab folks with flying eight-pointed stars. Master adds a whole new arsenal to TV. Just what it needed. The show is filled with the worst gratuitous violence to hit the screen since the Vietnam War. Let’s hope that Ninjas also believe in hara-kiri.