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''Four Kings'': No, One Ace

By RD Heldenfels Published: December 26, 2005

My wife kindly offered to watch some TV pilots tonight, since there is a pile of January stuff and she is still full of the Christmas spirit. We gave a try to ''Four Kings,'' the NBC comedy premiering Jan. 5, about four childhood friends who are still hanging out together.

The wife and I had watched the pilot last summer, and didn't think much of it. This time, Target Demo -- AKA my almost-30-year-old stepdaughter -- joined as we watched the pilot (which appeared to have been retooled some since the original version) and a second episode. Unanimous verdict: Still not good.

The verdict comes with extenuating circumstances in the form of Seth Green, who plays one of the four friends. He is funny. He is the only regular worth remembering by name. He tries mightily to make this show far funnier than the scripts. Even so, there are scenes he cannot save. So he is not enough of a reason to sit through a half-hour of the show. But he might be enough reason to record it, so you can fast-forward to the scenes where he is center stage. I'd say he needs to find a series where the comedic material is as good as he can be, except he already came close to that with ''Greg the Bunny.'' You can find that on DVD.

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