By
October 13, 1997 12:00 PM

Fox (Fridays, 8 p.m. ET)

B

What do you do with a show that’s both intriguing and irritating? In the case of this new sci-fi series, you keep watching and see which quality prevails. Former Northern Exposure disc jockey John Corbett stars as Adam MacArthur, a pilot who disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle 50 years ago. Now he’s back—with superior intelligence, magical powers and a vague story of his abduction by creatures from outer space. He says he’s here to change the future and save humankind from destruction. Of course the chronically suspicious U.S. government treats Adam like some sort of terrorist threat, although agents Wilcox (Grand L. Bush), Van Patten (John Storey) and LaRue (Leon Rippy) of the FBI pursue him with less malevolent determination than the oh-so-aptly-named Colonel Vise (Steve Railsback) of the National Security Agency.

Corbett has an appealing air of freshness and innocence, as if his character were the first hunted hero to touch the lives of the regular folks who aid and abet him week after week. (Having spent the ’60s on another planet, Adam probably missed The Fugitive.) Creators Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) and their fellow executive producer John Masius (St. Elsewhere) have established an atmosphere where mystery and wonder can coexist with occasional humor. But if Adam keeps delivering little homilies on self-help and family values (“If you just start from the heart, there’s nothing you can’t do”), we’ll be tempted to summon the Vise squad.

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