Lighthearted summer series spoofs spy-adventure formats
Adderly CBS, Fridays, 10-11 p.m. The spy format never gives up - not when it has a chance, like this show, to move from a late-night slot to do weekly summer duty in prime time.
``Adderly'' is ``premi`ering'' - like the recently launched ``Night Heat'' - in its new and more visible schedule. And if we must have a spy format again, this will probably serve. It's breezy, intermittently funny, and once in a while achieves credible emotion against a background that is rather like elevator music in its routineness.
This formula is not quite as deadly as it sounds, because its international intrigue is largely a way of spoofing spy dramas. When a Khadafi-like Middle Eastern dictator tries to blackmail the free world, he's all over America's TV screens threatening to detonate a remote-controlled bomb.
But his appearances - as well as a helicopter swooping down on a plutonium-bearing truck and other Bond-movie routines - are mainly reminders that catastrophe is supposed to lie somewhere behind the gag lines and lighthearted byplay among the characters.
These comedy exchanges are actually the main attraction - especially when they involve the lead, played with a cool jauntiness by Winston Rekert. His loose-limbed approach - just right for the half serious tone of the show - is not an attitude toward life, like James Bond as played by successive actors. And it's not an attitude toward a character and format, the way Don Adams played his detective-spoof role in TV's ``Get Smart.''
It's really an attitude toward an attitude, a laid-back wryness that plays with the whole idea of the role and its mentality without mocking it.
Rekert is also effective in non-satiric comedy scenes, as when he quietly patronizes a boy genius whose invention turns out to be the bomb that scares the whole world for a time.
The show posseses one of the keys to comedy - it knows when not to be funny. Some of its best moments, in fact, come when it gets serious, almost in spite of itself.
Dixie Seatle as an intelligence-agency secretary, for instance, is terrific when she realizes she has to inveigle secrets out of a computer worker. Her reaction is a sudden, telling dash of intensity and emotional credibility just when it's needed. You're suddenly seeing a woman bracing to deal with an unwanted suitor. And she's both serious and funny when trying to deal with a frivolous phone call in her office just as she is rushing off on a desperate errand.
There's even a pleasing twist at the end of the show - along with an unexpected but welcome bit of dialogue about Chekhov. Don't let these goodies make you expect too much from this low-caliber effort, but it has its moments.