It’s fascinating to watch an actor who thinks he’s doing a great job and is on the verge of stardom — his cocky self-consciousness obliterates whatever character he’s supposed to be playing, and you’re left with a glowing display of pure egotism. Well, that’s what I amused myself by thinking for the first half hour of Palace Guard, anyway; the rest of the time, D.W. Moffett’s strutting, smirking performance made me wish I were doing the laundry instead of watching TV.

In Palace Guard, Moffett (Black Widow) plays a ”world-class cat burglar” who used to specialize in robbing hotels; now he’s been hired by a San Francisco-based hotel chain to be their security chief. Marcy Walker (Santa Barbara) is the chain’s vice president of public relations. Together, they catch thieves and con men who infiltrate the hotel, as well as, one presumes, cads who try to steal those nice thick complimentary bathrobes with the hotel’s name on them.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a TV series if there wasn’t the assumption that Moffett and Walker dig each other despite some surface friction. ”I’m not remotely attracted to you,” says Walker dutifully. ”You’re just another wise guy with an angle.”

Well, Palace Guard is just another action show without enough angles. This two-hour pilot from the Stephen J. Cannell production factory (The A-Team, The Commish) peaks with Moffett’s smug, tough-guy character giving Walker’s snitty, tough-gal character a vocabulary lesson. He: ”She was thrilled in her room and then thrown off the balcony…” She: ”’Thrilled’?” He: ”Whacked, offed, murdered — it’s a euphemism!” Who says network television isn’t educational? D