Friday, October 04, 2002

(ABC - Saturday 9:00 am)

If you've been tiring of the whole Pepper Ann / Recess / Arnold genre, not to worry -- this one's not just another bunch of White Kids in Middle School. Rather, Fillmore is a juvenile version of the very popular crime drama format which has up until now been plumbed to within an inch of its life by Law & Order, CSI and their ilk -- but Fillmore is rather much more cleverly written, on multiple levels, in a way that we haven't seen since the old humans-in-reptile-drag show, Dinosaurs, went off the air ten years ago.

Fillmore satisfies with the requisite mystery story for the 11-year-old set, but it's also carefully crafted with subplots that niftily relate back to the main story, and give our dimunitive actors more personality in 22 minutes than Jerry Orbach has displayed in eight seasons. What's especially fun is that the writers are constantly winking to the older viewer who already knows the rules and vocabulary of traditional dramatic teevee storytelling -- but not for a moment do they stoop to ridicule the form. And whereas I'm usually one step ahead of those smarty-pantses on CSI, in the three episodes that have aired to date, Fillmore has consistently been a step ahead of me.

The whole Mind Over What Matters household thinks this shows is great fun, and warrants widespread attention by mainstream media critics and blogcritics alike. You've been alerted. Set your alarm clocks or your TiVos. The rest is up to you.


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