Ken Tucker
June 19, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT


TV Show
Current Status
In Season
Jeffrey Meek, Lee Majors

We gave it a B-

Gleefully goofy, Raven is action-adventure schlock about American martial arts master Jonathon Raven (Jeffrey Meek), forever on the run from ninja assassins who want to kill him because oh, who cares, it’s all too ridiculous. Raven, created by Frank Lupo (Wiseguy), exists for two reasons: to show us beautifully shot, wittily choreographed martial arts fight scenes, and to provide employment in the ’90s for Lee Majors, who costars as Raven’s sidekick, Ski.

These days Majors looks more like the Six Million Pound Man, and so in Raven, he uses his bulk as part of the joke: Ski is a hard-drinking, stubble-faced, overweight grump who talks in a voice so raspy it sounds as if Raven accidentally karate-kicked him in the vocal cords. Majors does a heroic job with the show’s supposedly humorous and colorful dialogue. When Raven tells his friend they’re going to hunt down ninjas in Hawaii, Ski barks, ”Hawaii? You mean where they got them drinks with them purty li’l umbrellas in ’em?” This line alone seems to take up an entire segment of Raven.</p.

Parental warning: If by some miracle Raven catches on, beware of your kids attempting the hero’s favorite trick — he can knock out a villain by squeezing a vein in his or her neck; the luckless victim falls instantly into a deep sleep. One of my daughters just tried it on me, and I…z-z-z… B-

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