Monday, May 21, 2007

Coming Attractions

I’ve decided as a public service that I’m going to review the upcoming summer television shows, as explained in an article that I found here. I haven’t actually seen any of these shows, so you can be sure that my reviews are untroubled by any complicated knowledge of the subject at hand. And I don’t have any advertisements from anybody, so my judgment is honest.

I’ve grouped the shows by their genres:

Derivative Reality Shows:

On the Lot: Since they claim this is a global search, I’m sure we’ll see plenty of Bollywood directors and some good French noir filmmakers. Or maybe not, since that would inevitably lead to problems with translation and focus; they’ll probably find an Indian immigrant who hopes someday to make Bollywood films. They propose to split the groups “into teams” to direct films, since all the great directors are partnerships or teams. After poisoning any chance for them to succeed individually, they’ll have some Hollywood “celebrities” drop by; I’m sure their advice will be uniformly awful and unsuited to the task at hand. Then they’ll force the public to watch their drivel and rig the votes to generate public interest. Do I sound excited yet?

Pirate Master: Unless they make everybody wear puffy shirts and end their sentences with “arrr, matey” this is one of the lamest ripoffs I’ve ever heard of. No, scratch that: even with puffy shirts this is a lame idea. It’s like Survivor on a boat, surely conceived to keep production costs down. And they even have a Pirate’s Court, but no word yet on whether or not Judge Wapner was available to be chief.

Obligatory Game Show Entry:

National Bingo Night: Ever since Golden Girls and Matlock were cancelled seniors have been demanding a show made “just for them.” Now they get it, in the form of interactive Bingo. Doesn’t this already exist? It’s called Lotto in some places, I understand. Is this the best game show ABC could green-light? Why not just revive Password? Is Chuck Woolery on long-term contract with Lingo?

Dramas with Beach Babes

Hidden Palms: Think of it as Beverly Hills 90210 meets Twin Peaks, but more vapid than the former and more obtuse than the latter. My money is that this is sure to be this fall’s most quickly-cancelled show, unless one with a breakdancing robot debuts that I don’t know about. Plus, it advertises “science girl Lizzy” so you know it’s going to strive hard to break stereotypes.

Dramas without Beach Babes

Army Wives: To me, this looks like it might be ‘Desperate Housewives’ meets ‘Platoon’, only without any killing or nudity. It’s on Lifetime, so it’s presumably targeted at women, so for all I know it’ll be a hit and women will love it. I’m not a woman, so it seems like a soap opera with a military hook and little else going for it. Let’s move on, shall we?

Shows of Unclear Focus

The Starter Wife: I can’t tell if this is a comedy or a drama or both. At any rate, it looks terrible. Why is it that when the entertainment industry goes looking for inspiration, they rarely get farther than the entertainment industry? How about a show centered around, say, somebody who works as an arc welder? It’s a dangerous job, and arc welders can fool around on their wives just as well as anybody else, right? Plus you can easily work in fire and explosions. Where’s my arc welder show?

Animated Shows Hoping for some Simpsons Magic

Creature Comforts: Fortunately for you, I’ve seen the original show on which this is based, so I can give you firsthand knowledge of what to be prepared for: the most horribly insipid, painful television viewing experience not involving electrocution that you could ever hope to be subjected to. However, when the tagline says “you’ll laugh, cry, and think” they’re right: you’ll laugh at anybody who likes this show, you’ll cry if you’re related to them, and you’ll think about your own death if you watch it.

Lil’ Bush: Depends on how they go with this. It could be hilarious, it could be terrible. This is the sole show that I look at and think “yeah, that could be a success.” Comedy Central wants you to think of this as a second coming of “South Park”, but it remains to be seen if it’ll be a bare-knuckled scattershot criticism like that or a more narrowly-focused critique of Bush like the unlamented “That’s My Bush!” show from several years ago. My bet is on the latter, and it gets cancelled in a few months and left-wing outlets howl about the vast right-wing conspiracy that controls Comedy Central.