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CBS-TV's "Now and Again" is the best pilot of the new fall season. 

Super-Agent Man

Hands down, the best pilot episode of the new fall season was CBS-TV's "Now and Again," a quirky comedy/action/drama/romance airing Fridays at 9 p.m. "Moonlighting" creator Glenn Gordon Caron wrote and directed the debut episode of "Now and Again," which featured guest star John Goodman as honest insurance executive Michael Wiseman, who is accidentally killed when he falls in front of a moving subway. Government agents take Michael's brain and put it in a new, genetically-engineered body (Eric Close) with the intention of creating a super-agent to fight crime and evil. The funniest 10 minutes of the new season comes in a hospital room when the former Michael's brain wakes up in the new Michael's body, while project director Dr. Theodore Morris and his colleagues watch from behind a one-way mirror. To the strains of "Close To You" sung off-key and complete with Martha Reeves hand gestures by Dr. Morris (Dennis Haysbert), the camera turns almost pornographic as Michael explores his new torso and peeks down into his boxer shorts. Haysbert ("Queen" and "Lonesome Dove") has all the great lines: "Call it mother's intuition, but I think our boy's about to check his package." When the new, buff Michael sees what he's got, his shock is absolute: "Holy Crap!" "Damn right," says Morris. "Made in America, baby. Made in America!" And "Close To You," now in full chorus, swells with pride. Haysbert's characterization of Dr. Morris is brilliant — a combination of menace and risibility. Close is excellent as he discovers the joys of a perfect body and the fullness of youth — while simultaneously mourning the loss of his old body and, consequently, the family that still grieves over his death. The one question about the series is whether it can maintain the dramatic energy and comic styling of the first episode. Now that the new Michael has a handle on his assignment, he's pursuing an elderly Chinese terrorist who's already attacked Tokyo and Paris with hen eggs containing a nerve gas that makes people bleed from the eyes and die. Now the terrorist is taking on the U.S.A. If writer/director Caron can keep "Now and Again" on that narrow track between laughter and suspense, he'll have a major hit that will make CBS — and the show's audience — very
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