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TV Reviews : Lee Horsley Battles More Than the West in ‘Paradise’

“Paradise” isn’t.

Premiering at 9 tonight on Channels 2 and 8, the new CBS series stars Lee Horsley as your basic gunfighter with a heart of gold circa 1890.

He plays Ethan Allen Cord, a fast-draw artist who unexpectedly finds himself responsible for his niece and three nephews after their mother falls terminally ill and sends them to their uncle in the dusty and depressed mining town of Paradise, Calif.

Cord’s swift transition from grizzled, hip-shooting loner to kindly father figure strains credibility, and his combative relationship with the local bank lady, played by Sigrid Thornton, seems an all-too-obvious setup for future romance.

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Horsely has a nice way of underplaying heroes, and executive producer David Jacobs injects some nice directorial touches. However, Jacobs is unable to sufficiently speed the sluggish pace or overcome the predictability and essential sappiness of his and co-creator Robert Porter’s story.

This is a moderately pleasant but undistinguished hour. A rebirth of the TV Western? Not this time.


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