Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fall TV Preview

Yesterday I previewed the upcoming summer TV shows, and so now I’m doing the same for the shows premiering this fall. As always, I have made sure not to watch them nor to acquire any actual knowledge, thus keeping my opinions pristine.

I’m not the only person in cyberspace to have an opinion not backed up by experience or facts, but I’m certainly one of the most honest about it. Once again grouped by category, this fall’s shows are specially designed to help people catch up on their reading:

Reality Shows Demonstrating Poor Judgment

Kid Nation: I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that they found at least 40 families willing to let their 8 to 15-year-olds be exploited on-camera for 40 days to help boost CBS’ ratings. Is this unsettling to anybody else? Are there no child labor laws in New Mexico? Does anybody really believe these kids are left "alone" in a New Mexico ghost town? If this show isn’t phony, then it’s probably illegal, and beyond both of those it shows unbelievably bad judgment. I’ve got no problem with adults humiliating themselves for their 15 minutes, but could we leave the 8-year-olds out of it, please?

Network TV Attempt at "The Sopranos"

Dirty Sexy Money: This show chronicles the lawyer for a “powerful and amoral NY family.” You know how it feels when you have a stapler open and accidentally staple yourself in the pad of your finger? I imagine that’s what your soul feels like if you watch this show. Claims to have the acting debut of Dan Rather, but if you watched him protest that the fake memos were real you already saw him turn in an Emmy-worthy performance.

Cane: Afraid to portray Hispanics as criminal (that honor is reserved for whites, blacks, and Italians in present-day television), Jimmy Smits headlines as the head of a powerful Cuban-American family trading in sugar and rum. Probably long on love for the old homeland and short on reality, this will be jam-packed with every Hispanic-sounding actor CBS can find. But if you take the criminal out of the Sopranos, will you have a show worth watching? My prediction: muy mal.

Obligatory Police Show

K-Ville: This is so formulaic just reading the setup made my head hurt: two policemen, one buttoned-down and the other "less than orthodox", are partnered to patrol the mean streets of New Orleans. The straight one harbors a dark secret. If their chief threatens to take their badge and one of them is close to retirement, they’ll have used every cliché in the “Police Show” genre. No word yet on which partner gets to be the one that rides on the hood of the perp's car.

Obligatory Doctor Show

Private Practice: This is a spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy, which I’ve never seen. Let’s hope it does better than Joanie Loves Chachi, but honestly, it doesn’t look quite as good. And she’s working in a private practice, where doctor shows go to die. If Bob Newhart couldn’t make it work, what hope Kate Walsh have?

Way Too Many Sci-Fi Shows

Pushing Daisies: This show promised to add “a bittersweet flavor to the worn-out procedural recipe” in its blurb. I read the hook, and seemed more like the flavor of burnt metal that you get if you over-microwave popcorn. Apparently ABC’s motto this season is “we’ll greenlight anything!!”

Bionic Woman: I remember this show as a kid, and it sucked then, too. At least Wonder Woman had her costume going for her. All the Bionic Woman has is that “sproing-sproing-sproing” sound when she jumps.

The Reaper: I liked this idea better when they made a movie called Spawn out of it. But to each his own, I guess.

Journeyman: I also liked this show better when it was called Quantum Leap.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles: First of all, calling Sarah Connor “unforgettable” is a bit of a stretch. Ripley was unforgettable. Sarah Connor was eminently forgettable. Second of all, having her son feature in the show is a mistake. Who wasn’t rooting for the terminator to pick him off in T2? Looks awful, and likely to be the first one cancelled.

Moonlight: The current Hollywood adage right now appears to be “When in doubt, go vampire.” Since they don’t have any other sci-fi offering, CBS gives us this dreadful rip-off of Angel from the writer/producer that did Beauty and the Beast. I have no idea if they mean the show or the movie, and quite frankly, the concept is so bad it hardy seems to matter.

Two Shows from One Writer with no Point

Chuck: Using the word “geek” two times in the description of the show, NBC makes sure that you understand their opinion of you as they lay out the premise. It’s directed by McG, infamous cousin of the now-banned MSG.

Gossip Girl: Just what every adolescent girl needs: a drama showcasing “the surprisingly sinful world of the over-privileged teenagers living on New York’s Upper East Side.” They may as well start following this with ads for methadone clinics and anorexia rehab centers just to hit the sweet spot with the target audience. I wonder if Shannen Doherty is available?

Hollywood Goes with what It Knows

Lipstick Jungle: It’s from the same woman that did Sex and the City, so it’s gotta be good, right? Only it’s less demeaning to women than Sex because it focuses on powerful women. So it’s sure to be a draw, unless all those female fans of the other show liked the fact that they could relate to the women there, in which case it’ll struggle. But hey, at least it focuses on everyday, average women: a movie executive, a fashion designer, and editor of a fashion magazine. Excuse me while I go get my arc welder…

Obligatory “What the hell were they thinking?” Show

Viva Laughlin: I swear, this sounds like an SNL parody of CBS, not an actual show. Did they actually think to themselves, “you know, there’s a real shortage of musical television these days.” Perhaps this is cause and effect, gentlemen. What are they thinking at CBS? What’s next, a variety show featuring Britney Spears and K-Fed?

Cheech and Change: Cheech Marin stars as the operator of a check-loan place who is inundated by alien radiation and discovers he has super powers, so he begins fighting crime at night and helping the desperate people who come into his store. Okay, I made this one up, but I say it still sounds better than half the stuff on this list.

Lone Comedy Starring Former Successes

Back to You: It’s got Kelsey Grammar! It’s got Raymond’s wife (Patricia Heaton)! It’s got Fred Willard! It looks terrible!