CBS (Tues., Sept. 9, 8 p.m. ET)
Try as I might, I can’t dislike the guy. Even if he keeps saying smarmy things like: “I keep magic alive.” And: “You don’t measure a person by their height. It’s the size of their heart that really counts.” David (Time Bandits) Rappaport, a little man from Britain, plays an inventor who has the stature and the spirit of a child. He makes wondrous toys for kids. He used to make dangerous toys for the Pentagon. So, of course, sinister foreign powers want to use Rappaport’s brain to evil ends. And our government protects “the inventive genius of our time” with a big dip of an agent, Doug (The Fall Guy) Barr. In the premiere, bad guys contemplate kidnapping Rappaport but never get around to it. The real story is Rappaport’s involvement with a boy dying of leukemia. The inventor makes the kid happy, wowing him with toys—and I have to admit, the moment is sweet. Then Rappaport treks through jungles to find the boy’s archaeologist brother for a bone-marrow transplant. When there’s trouble, this mini-MacGyver just pulls a trick from his bag and—poof!—danger disappears. The tricks aren’t too impressive, and neither is the supporting cast or the plot. But Rappaport himself is so engaging that he rescues his kids’ show from unbearable gooeyness. That’s real magic.
YOU WRITE THE SONGS
Syndicated (Check local listings) From the folks who brought you Star Search comes a contest for songwriters. I’ve heard better tunes on elevators.