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`CROSSROADS' IS PRETTY GOOD; `HAT SQUAD' IS PRETTY BAD

A pair of dramas make their debuts tonight locally, and while one is certainly worth a look, the other is an exceptionally weak entry in the tele-vi-sion derby.

Crossroads (9 p.m., Ch. 4) is the new ABC series that's currently shooting in Utah. However, don't tune in tonight expecting to see any familiar sights from the Beehive State - the pilot was shot in Georgia.However, that's not a reason not to tune in.

In "Crossroads," television veteran Robert Urich plays Johnny Hawkins, a high-powered, New York City prosecutor. He's long estranged from his 16-year-old son Dylan (Dalton James, whom you might recognize from "MacGyver" - he played MacGyver's son in the final episode of that series).

Dylan has been living with his maternal grandparents since the death of his mother 10 years earlier. And the rebellious, resentful teen gets himself into trouble with the law.

Johnny reluctantly decides it's time for him to turn his son around, so he takes the boy on a cross-country motorcycle trip in an attempt to build a relationship. What results is both father and son discovering quite a bit about themselves as well as each other.

To the series' credit, there's no instant bonding between father and son. Their relationship is a rather prickly one - which helps move the show along.

In tonight's opener, Johnny and Dylan help an old man fulfill his dreams. And in succeeding weeks, they'll be encountering various people along the road.

The second through 13th episodes of "Crossroads" have been or will be shot here in Utah, as the state stands in for other areas of the country as well as portraying itself in one installment. It's one of the few network television series that's filmed on location.

And that adds quite a bit of texture to a series that's at least attempting - if not always suc-ceed-ing - to be more than just another network television show.

It's well worth a look.

The pilot episode of "Crossroads" will be repeated Sunday at 4 p.m. on Ch. 4. It moves to its regular time slot on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.The Hat Squad (7 p.m., Ch. 5), on the other hand, is really little more than a live-action cartoon.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that creator/producer Stephen J. Cannell once brought us the sublime "Rockford Files." After watching "The Hat Squad," it's much easier to remember he brought us "The A-Team."

The premise for this new show is this: Three adopted brothers (Don Michael Paul, Nestor Serrano and Billy Warlock) - all cops - combine to form a '90s version of the actual '40s L.A.P.D. Hat Squad. They bring in the really tough criminals.

Of course, the fact that they seem prone to breaking the law along the way by violating every right known to man seems to be of no consequence.

And, while there's certainly nothing wrong with a television series exaggerating reality for the sake of entertainment, these exaggerations are so farfetched that "The Hat Squad" becomes simply ludicrous.

Would you believe that the cartoonish bad guy is finally caught tonight with the help of bungee jumping off a bridge?

Gimme a break.

There's no depth to any of these two-dimensional characters. And there's no depth to "The Hat Squad."

"The Hat Squad" debuts with a 90-minute pilot. It cuts back to its regular hourlong format next week.