'Marker' makes no mark

January 17, 1995|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Sun Staff Writer

You like bikinis? How about earrings -- in both of the guy's ears? Then "Marker" may be for you.

Otherwise . . . well, let's just say tonight's premiere episode of the new United Paramount Network series doesn't have much else going for it.

Even the on-location setting of Hawaii may make viewers pine for "Magnum, P.I." or "Hawaii Five-O," good shows that conveyed the island state as a real and complex place.

In "Marker's" Hawaii, everybody surfs, suns and overindulges in the good life. If beach bums had lobbyists, they'd be writing angry letters about the stereotypes presented here.

The series pilot can be seen at 8 p.m. on WNUV, Channel 54, and WDCA, Channel 20.

The earrings adorn star Richard Grieco, previously of the Fox hit "21 Jump Street" and the unsuccessful spinoff "Booker."

Grieco plays Richard DeMorra, a taciturn New Jersey carpenter who lands in Hawaii for his father's funeral.

In scratchy black-and-white flashbacks, we discern he didn't know his millionaire dad that well but nurses bitter feelings from his mother's abandonment.

He's nasty toward his father's second wife, Kimba (played by Gates McFadden, the ship's doctor on "Star Trek: The Next Generation") and can barely wait for the next plane home.

Enter the show's title gimmick. At the funeral, Richard is approached by a woman (Nia Peeples) who slips him a crystal charm and asks for help. Her sister has disappeared and the police aren't interested.

Richard dismisses her but subsequently discovers his father gave these markers to hundreds of people to redeem whenever they are in trouble.

Does Richard ultimately take up the burden of these debts of honor? Does he brood darkly? Does he take off his shirt to show his buff upper torso?

Of course -- for this is a series from shallow-action specialist Stephen J. Cannell.

Oh, and what about those bikinis? Just like in "Baywatch," in almost every other scene, for Richard takes up residence right on the beach.

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