Since 20th Century Fox found some success with a TV version of its 1970 military black comedy film "MASH", Paramount tried to find similar success with a TV version of its own 1970 military black comedy film, "Catch 22".
Richard Dreyfuss stars as Captain Yossarian, a bombardier who has completed his required number of missions and is on his way home. His plane stops for refueling on Pianosa (the base in the movie) where he learns all about the (possibly mythical) "catch-22" and engages in the usual standard issue military sitcom hi-jinks.
As with the TV version of "MASH," most of the characters from the film appear (although unlike TV "MASH," no actors from the film version of "Catch-22" appear). Also, like TV "MASH," the R-rated movie hi-jinks are considerably toned down for broadcast TV (in the movie, for example, Captain "Aarfy" Aardvark commits murder to cover up a rape. Suffice to say, nothing like this happens in this show). It's mostly harmless, early 70's sitcom stuff.
Dreyfuss is quite good as Yossarian. It's always fascinating to watch future award winning movie stars act in shows like this, because it shows a certain Hollywood meritocracy at work: Dreyfuss just seems to be acting on a whole other level than everyone else in the show (you can see the same phenomenon when you watch an episode of the Steve McQueen western "Wanted Dead of Alive").
Now, the movie version of "Catch-22" isn't all that good. It's certainly not as good as "MASH". This pilot isn't that great either, but quite frankly, it's about on a par with the "MASH" pilot (which was only OK), although I think the "MASH" cast is a lot better overall. But after watching this, you can see why ABC passed.
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