By Ken Tucker
Updated October 18, 1996 at 04:00 AM EDT

There’s something so not-bad about Something So Right that I’m a bit taken aback. It’s a pleasant surprise to discover that Mel Harris — thirtysomething‘s despairing Hope — is a lively sitcom performer. And since I never cared for Jere Burns’ version of comic smarm in Dear John, his reinvention here as a devilish smartmouth is startling in its likability. (And I don’t use the term devilish carelessly: With his pointy little goatee, ever-arched eyebrows, and new long, Byronic hair, Burns has a distinctly satanic mien these days.)

Harris and Burns play newly divorced newlyweds in the process of blending their families. Although the pilot toyed with poor-taste naughtiness by having Harris’ 14-year-old son (Billy L. Sullivan) salivate over Burns’ 16-year-old daughter (Marne Patterson), the series swiftly threw ice water on that subplot. They’ve already realized that the tiny amount of originality to be squeezed from the show’s Brady Bunchy premise resides in making Harris and Burns crazy about each other, and letting us see how a passionate remarriage conflicts with parenting.

Every time it leaves the family setting, though, Something So Right goes wrong: So far, Burns’ job as an English teacher at the kids’ school has yielded no laughs. If the writers are looking for attention, they might want to arrange a fist-flying dustup with Mr. Rhodes. The Battle of the Hairy Educators! B-