Boston Public,

Fox, Mondays, 8 p.m. E.T.

Never trust anyone under 18, says this drama, which gives high school the full David E. Kelley (The Practice) treatment: big histrionics, big issues and more hot-button pushing than an attack ad. The overwrought pilot alone hits social promotion, desegregation, guns and student-teacher sex. For an encore, Kelley may have to blow up the school. The staff is well cast, especially Chi McBride, above, left, as a besieged principal and Fyvush Finkel as a charming crank. But in portraying its one-dimensional teens, a surly lot of vipers and nitwits, Boston needs remedial ed.

--By James Poniewozik


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