The `Gunman' is shooting for laughs

Review: Those wild and crazy geeks from `The X-Files' move into the spotlight.

March 03, 2001|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC

How many geeks does it take to carry a prime-time series?

That's the question Fox will try to answer in the next three weeks with the tryout of "The Lone Gunman," a spinoff from "The X-Files" featuring Byers, Frohike and Langly, the computer-hacking conspiracy geeks occasionally called upon to help FBI agents Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) in their search to find the truth "out there."

Tomorrow night's pilot is filled with talk of: patriotism, cover-ups, Pentium chips, anagrams, JFK, gigabytes and demanding fathers. The main storyline is about John Fitzgerald Byers (Bruce Harwood), Melvin Frohike (Tom Braidwood) and Richard "Ringo" Langly (Dean Haglund) trying to stop a plot by rogue government officials to crash a computer-controlled 747 into the World Trade Center to boost arms sales abroad.

With the target audience clearly being adolescent boys, the show is really about teen-age male sexual frustration. Yves Adele Harlow (Zuleikha Robinson), seen tomorrow night in leather pants and a tight top, firing a machine gun with each hand, is the teen-male, comic-book fantasy babe intended to trigger all that pent-up testosterone out in TV Land. Her name is an anagram of Lee Harvey Oswald, geek boy.

Creator Chris Carter said he's going as much for comedy as he is drama with the trio, but adventure-comedy is a tricky business that requires better actors than you have here.

On the other hand, who knows how much bad acting adolescent male viewers will put up with to be alone with Yves Adele Harlow in the flickering glow of their darkened rooms.

`The Lone Gunman'

When: Tomorrow night at 9

Where: WBFF (Channel 45)

In brief: Computers, sex, government conspiracies and bad acting.

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