Last time on Now and Again: A regular guy, played by John Goodman, falls in front of a New York City subway train and is killed. Happens all the time, yes? Rather grim for a Friday night on CBS, no? The twist is that, "unbeknownst to his wife and daughter" (and to the rest of his family and friends, we assume), his brain is stolen from the scene and placed into the very buff bod of an artificially produced twenty-six-year-old man with "the strength of Superman, the speed of Michael Jordan, and the grace of Fred Astaire." I'd like to know why such an average person's brain was placed into such a special body, wouldn't you? That's what CBS hopes as well. But wait -- the other twist is that the man really, really misses his wife, daughter and "former life." Well, I guess being artificial and superhuman would get old after a while, but couldn't he think of it as a vacation from his former life before he starts missing it right away? Guess not.
On to the show. Artificial Guy is sleeping in a plush-looking apartment with steel-gray sheets and exposed brick walls. Not bad as far as gilded cages go. The traditional snoozy-dreamy-dozey music is playing; what is that, Dvorak? I should have payed attention in Music Appreciation 101. In pops the caretaker/dr. mastermind/exposition man (I hope), singing a little '70s Motown. "Oooh, child, things are gonna get easier. Ooooh, things will get brighter." Artificial Guy groans, and says, "I had nightmares about that mad scientist Don Cornelius." As he drags himself out of bed and into the shower, more singing, up half an octave: "Someday child, we'll get it together and we'll get it all doo-one, someday when your head is much lighter," then a perfect pause so artificial man can fill in with, "Lighter? My head's removable!" More singing, which thank the lord dwindles into "la la la la la la la's" as Artificial Guy starts complaining: "Why can't I pick my own song to sing in the shower?" And why does Dr. Mastermind have to sit right next to the shower? Hasn't he heard of privacy? Oh well; if Artificial Guy isn't human, it ain't dehumanizing. "Good morning Mr. Wiseman!" booms Dr. Mastermind. "Says you! The monotony is killing me!" I'm sure the thrill-a-minute life of an insurance salesman was far better than being superhuman. Artificial Guy goes on to complain that the wake-up, three-meals-interrupted-by-bouts-of-strenuous-exercise routine is getting old. Again, the life of an insurance salesman had more flavor? Dr. Mastermind says that a change is on the way. A trip to the mountians, he says. The mountains, say A.G.? Yes, for survival training, says Dr. M. Survival training, echoes A.G.? Yes, are you deaf and stupid? asks A.R. Oh, and besides being dropped off in the Ariondacks with no food, A.G. will be "stalked" by "staff" with "these": a great big gun. Yikes, right? A.G. holds up his hands and his eyes get all big and wide as he stammers out that he is not, in fact, bulletproof. Really? Dr. M shoots him right in the chest to prove that, in fact, he is. A neat splatter of bright-red blood is smeared on A.G.'s chest by a stagehand, which doesn't mix too nicely with the oil and begins to bead. No entrance wound either. But A.G. doesn't seem to be hurt, so that's good, I guess. I guess the budget for this show went into the fancy NYC apartment and Heather Matarazzo's salary. Oh look, they borrowed some of Michelangelo's drawings of men for the credits. Here they come now. A lady sings "Now and again!" while some guy raps, "We always want what we can't have, unh!" Sort of urban, sort of schmaltzy. Totally corny. ["Totally CBS!" -- Wing Chun]