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This failed TV pilot for ABC's 2001-2002 season is based on the popular British soap opera, but is now a one-hour drama set in San Francisco and following an ensemble of college friends five years after college graduation.
Michael M. Robin
Outstanding comedy-drama that hits home for everyone.
What can I say about Richard Dreyfuss that hasn't already been said in reviews. Having seen all his movies, he never ceases to amaze me at the character roles he develops. He will never be a romantic leading man, but his diversity allows the viewer to love him for who he is without being the stereotypical male actor. I feel like I know Max but he is more complicated than the show has yet to divulge.
"The Education of Max Bickford" has really grown on me. As I predicted I didn't think Aunt Erica/Uncle Stevie could be a recurring theme for long. Even though, CBS didn't overdue it with that role but it too added some interesting plots to the series along with humor. I also loved the way Richard Dreyfuss has evolved Max into a more lovable character, with the human flaws and frailties we all can identify with in our middle-age, daily lives. His children, Nell and Lester are typical of kids today on a multifaceted levels. And Max is finding dating at his age awkward, after many years of marriage and the subsequent loss of his wife. Then to compound matters, and I can really identify with this; his irascible father enters the picture with all the stubbornness and hard-headedness he displayed his whole life.
Max is sandwiched in between two generations both of which he can identify with to a point, but never fully understands either. To add to the interest of his teaching at Chadwick they have incorporated Marcia Gay Hardin, aka Andrea Haskell, who does a wonderful job on the series. She adds some of the balance that Max needs in his life but again she is a colleague and not a new love interest, even though he had his one time fling with her, while she was a student at the college. Perhaps a more intimate relationship will blossom as the show progresses.
For me it will be interesting to see what follows next season because the writers and Dreyfuss have allowed for a wide open door of possibilities. The surprise guest cast even keeps the show on its proverbial toes and adds another dimension and spark for the viewers. One thing I can say that holds my interest is that even though the setting doesn't change, the stories are always a surprise and fully entertaining. Many shows are so predictable that after several episodes one becomes bored. But for Max Bickford, I would give the show a 9.5 on the rating scale.
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