The Education of Max Bickford

Jim 2000s

Aired: 2001-2002 CBS The Education of Max Bickford

DAD: Max Bickford (Richard Dreyfuss) / Widower

DAD’S JOB: College Professor

KIDS:  Neil(Katee Sackhoff)(18), Lester (Eric Ian Goldberg)(13)


STAND-IN “MOM”: Erica (Helen Shaver)/formerly best friend Steve.

CBS bets the farm every year with a big star in a try-really-hard series. Remember Bette?

Wow, this show was doomed from the get-go. Yep, it was a Mr. Holland’s Opus knock-off, but with a history professor instead of a music teacher. The closest-fitting adjectives seem to be ponderous and predictable. This ain’t no comedy – it looked weepier than Once and Again and as obvious as a child’s missed-homework excuse. Not even Venus Flytrap as Max’s professor buddy could save this textbook lesson in Bad TV.

Here’s the spin from CBS:

In his first starring role in series television, and marking one of the biggest triumphs of the new season, Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss (The Goodbye Girl, Mr. Holland’s Opus) stars as Max Bickford, a college professor facing a turning point in his life after being passed over for what he feels is a long-overdue promotion.
Taking a much-needed inventory of his life, Max looks around and sees that he has been working forever, and for what? A widower surrounded by women at an all-female institution, struggling to parent a headstrong 18-year-old daughter and an overly wise 13-year-old son, with a best friend named Steve who has just returned from sabbatical as the newly transgendered Erica, Max realizes that he’s an old-fashioned man in a modern world and that something has to change. But he’ll be damned if it’s him.

UPDATE 15 May 2002: As predicted, CBS flunked Max. It’s over, baby. So long, Bickfords!