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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Fall Network TV Preview

SuperFun Fall TV Preview 2004

Every year, the TV comes at us with new shows that they expect us to watch. Of course, like 70% of them fail because nobody does. Sometimes, shows will fail because they are too good. Most of the time, however, shows fail because they were conceived, written, casted, and green-lighted by idiots. Which shows will succeed this year? Which will fail? I don’t know, but with this crop, hopefully they all will. Fail, that is[i].

They are judged in 2 categories of potential: Potential for Goodness (PG); and, Potential for Unintentional Comedy (PUC). They are scored on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best.


Remember back when NBC ruled? Back when they could trot any two shows out between Friends, Seinfeld, and ER? Well, they can’t anymore, and the idea well seems to be dry (judging by the sheer number of Law and Order spin-offs they have). Can this season save them, or at least replace the gaping hole left by the Friends?

Hawaii: If this were on CBS it would be named CSI: Hawaii. But it has no CSI in it, it’s just a Miami Vice clone with a more dubious cast. Is stars the coolly-named Ivan Sergei[ii], best known for playing the danger in Mother May I Sleep With Danger?, the worst TV movie ever made. Also stars Michael Biehn, which means you can watch it and try to tell if he’s drunk while he’s acting[iii]. PG: 4. PUC: 8

Father of the Pride: 3-D CGI Lions. Worst show ever, according to the critics. 3-D animated Seigfried and Roy co-star one episode. The ubiquitous John Goodman plays the voice of the aforementioned Father. John Goodman may be the most overrated or underrated actor in Hollywood, but I’m not sure which. PG: 0. PUC: 2

<>Joey: The least exportable of the Friends[iv] gets his own sitcom, in the familiar Thursday slot. Drea de Matteo, the current paradigm of trashy-hot, plays one of his many sisters, who lives in Hollywood and is annoying. Joey tries to become an actor, and it’s amazing how when you get Joey out on his own he really seems small, a one-joke character. But the “Me too” lady from A Mighty Wind is in it, so it can’t be all bad. PG: 4. PUC: 3

: No, it’s not about laxatives or lazy people. It stars Locklear and Blair Underwood as people who work security for the LAX airport. Time will tell if it becomes “Melrose Airport.” It could also be one of those dreaded dramadies, with the voice of Quinn from Daria involved. Looks like somebody’s trying to cash in on the modest success of the Tom Hanks movie The Terminal. Or maybe not. I don’t know what this show “lax”, but it won’t be short skirts and terrorism fears, that’s for sure. PG: 5. PUC: 5

Medical Investigation: From the makers of “Police Department” and “Hospital” and “Teaching”. Just kidding. What kind of name is this for a show? Don’t they want people to watch their stupid network? In the pilot, doctors investigate an illness that turns people blue. Oo. People are going to tune in, expecting CSI. They will be disappointed, and the lead actor in Boomtown[v] will have another failed show on his resume’. PG: 2. PUC: 5.


These are high times for CBS, the number one network in the nation. Now if only they could get rid of the insane Dan Rather…

Clubhouse: Drama starring Superman[vi] about a batboy for the “New York Empires”, a fictional NY baseball team. The single question I have is this: will the baseball players be moronic, greedy, self-centered womanizers? Because that would be realistic. And please, the “Empires”. Maybe you could pander to New York more, but I doubt it. PG: 0. PUC: 6.

Center of the Universe: For those of you keeping score at home, this is now two new series starring John Goodman as a father and the main character in a household. Two for Goodman, none for Rodney Dangerfield[vii]. This an Arrested Development clone, with a talented cast that includes Olympia Dukakis, Ed Asner, and Dietrich Bader[viii]. PG: 8. PUC: 3.

CSI: New York: Once again, they pair 2 “name” actors in a CSI series to try to cash in on the name. Gary Sinese and Melina Kankarinkadinkes[ix] investigate crime scenes in more adventures ripped from Forensic Files. I can’t imagine ever watching this. I’d have to get into CSI and then CSI: Miami and then this. It’ll never happen. PG: 5. PUC: 0.

<>Dr. Vegas: Apparently, Tom Sizemore is out of jail and acting in stuff[x]. That would be what is known as “enabling”. In between beating his significant other, Sizemore acts with Rob Lowe in this show about a doctor in, well, Vegas. Why the sudden fascination with Vegas? Have we become a nation of seedy gamblers? The good news is Joe Pantoliano is also here to keep order. Oh, why don’t I just come out and say it – I hate Rob Lowe AND Las Vegas. I got no time for it. PG: 3 PUC: 10.

Listen Up: I like Tony Kornheiser (the guy the show is based on), and I like Jason Alexander (the guy playing him), so why do I get the death shivers every time I even think of this show? Theo Huxtable[xi] with dreds plays his cohort. That’s weird. The whole show has no edge to it, the reviews say[xii]. Will this be another post-Seinfeld cast failure? PG: 5. PUC: 5.


<>The once mighty American Broadcasting C[xiii] has fallen on hard times, because their programming is unimaginative and trivial. Call it justice for not picking up Mulholland Drive in 2000. As you will see, the new shows aren’t going to reverse this downward slide. I hope Disney enjoys being crushed by UPN, ‘cuz that’s about where we’re at with this whole thing.

The Benefactor: I actually saw the first episode. The un-telegenic Mark Cuban and his Prince Valiant hairstyle kicked three contestants off the show – the first one because Mark misinterpreted a comment made by the contestant. It should just be called Arbitrary Reality Show. They played Jenga at one point to decide who the last one cut was going to be. How arbitrary is that? Gosh, this show is a mess. But Cuban David Brents the camera a couple of times at the beginning. If he keeps doing that, I’m totally in. PG: 1. PUC: 10

Lost: A plane crashes, and the survivors try to get out of this remote area alive. Sound like the movie Alive to anyone else? No word on possible cannibalism episodes, but with ABC’s ratings where they are, I think we can probably expect some. Of course, in real life, all these people would be dead. Remember that as you watch, it’ll help. Stars a Hobbit. PG: 3. PUC: 7.

Complete Savages: From the mind of Simpsons writer Mike Scully come a show about 5 boys and Keith Carradine. That’s Keith, not David, calm down. As much as I admire a sitcom with no unreasonably hot chicks, I am skeptical of this concept to say the least. But the potential is there. PG: 9. PUC: 5.

Rodney: This early candidate for Worst Show Ever stars who-dat stand-up comic Rodney somebody-or-other. This guy gets a show and I don’t? Also stars two cute kids. Run! PG: 1. PUC: 0

Life as We Know It: Stupid name, stupid show. Teens, including one who looks like Kelly Osborne, have life. As they know it. It’s probably another “Dawson’s Creek”, but if so shouldn’t it be airing on the WB? Was it a WB reject? Who knows. I’ll be surprised if it’s any good. PG: 4. PUC: 6

Desperate Housewives: What a freaking cast! Teri Hatcher. Kimberly from Melrose Place[xiv]. That chick from Sports Night. Nicolette freaking Sheridan. It’s angle is: the stories of the suburbs as told by a housewife who just killed herself. I can’t imagine it would be all bad with this cast. But the ghost thing scares me. If it’s a trashy soap opera, you shouldn’t have to trick it up. PG: 8. PUC: 4

<>Wife Swap: Umm…doesn’t FOX have this show already[xv]? First ripping off the WB’s teen formula and now lifting an entire show concept from FOX. You think ABC’s got anything left in their idea well? Cuz I don’t. Anyway, every week wives will swap places and probably everyone will decide they like their old spouse better. Aww, how cute. PG: 2. PUC: 7.

Boston Legal: Shatner and Spader, the only 2 jerky lawyers anybody liked from The Practice, have their own show. I’m sure the same people who loved The Practice and kept it on the air for so long will prop this show up as well. I won’t ever watch it because the idea of another show that champions unethical defense lawyers makes me want to eat my own arm. But it’s good to see that killing that one lady hasn’t kept Shatner from being hired for more acting work. Ted Kennedy, Robert Blake, and OJ[xvi] guest star. Just kidding. PG: 3 PUC: 8.


Their motto: You think ABC is out of ideas? Wait till you getaloadathis lineup!

American Dad: Animated show in the Family Guy vein, by those same people. Threatens to be the same exact show as Family Guy, except with a CIA agent father and an alien instead of a dog. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Hopefully, this will not be another case of a great show’s creator misunderstanding why his show was funny, as Matt Groening did with Futurama. But even that show got good after a while. Time will tell. And they’re bringing back Family Guy a mid-season anyway, so if it isn’t funny it won’t matter. PG: 10. PUC: 10.

Cooking Reality Show, Boxing Reality Show, Family Renovation Reality Show, Apartment Complex Reality Show: For our convenience, Fox has decided to completely forego variety in programming in order to put out many variations on the same show. I can therefore boil my comments on them to on sentence: Kill Me Now. PG: 0. PUC: 7.


Formerly the all-Urban channel, WB has filled its week with the dreaded Teen Dramas, which all suck. Their 3 new shows diversify the network, to hopefully add viewers. In other words, they plan to suck in all-new ways this year.

The Mountain: Just what we need: leathery Barb Hershey twice a week. That’s right, the WB’s lineup is so devoid of good programming they’re running her twice a week. Yikes. It’s going to be a generic soap in the Falcon Crest vein, without Fernando Llamas[xvii]. Enjoy, teens. PG: 0. PUC: 8.

Jack & Bobby: Although it’s refreshing to see such a high-concept drama on a network, seeing as how those shows usually stick around and gather at least a little following, it’s unnerving to once again be force-fed the Kennedys as the be-all and end-all of civilization. In 30 years, are we going to be shoving 9/11 down our kids’ adult throats? Anyway, 2 brothers are pushed into politics by their creepy mom, and the bit is that one later becomes President. Yeah, that’ll keep the teens watching after brain-dead Charmed ends.

PG: 6. PUC: 5.

Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show: Another decidedly high-concept offering from the Black Glasses of Drew. It’s more improv, so if you liked Whose Line is it Anyway, you’ll probably like this. Could be interesting. PG: 7. PUC: 4.


Is this still a network? I can’t take this anymore. FIN. (Blogger made this line big. I don't mean to shout)

[i] I realize in retrospect that this sounds like I want all these shows to fail. I don’t. I’m just acerbic.

[ii] Not a Russian. Or at least, not recognizably Russian underneath all the bland generic good looks.

[iii] I’ll give you a hint: yes.

[iv] Except for Monica, who would have to have Chandler in her show anyway.

[v] You know, the albino dude.

[vi] Dean Cain, who will always be Superman to us.

[vii] I’m just sayin’.

[viii] Hey Peter man, check out channel 9.

[ix] I don’t have to explain this, do I? I can’t ever remember her name.

[x] Although his recent parole violation for the drugs could put him right back in.

[xi] MJ Warner will always be Theo in the hearts of his fans.

[xii] Which is a shame, too, because the milieu of Kornheiser would seem to be tailor-made for a US sitcom, namely making exasperated self-effacing observations about family and work. Sounds like Everybody Loves Raymond, actually.

[xiii] Company? Corporation? Collective? I don’t feel like looking it up.

[xiv] Marcia Cross, who needs to be getting more acting jobs while there’s still, you know, time.

[xv] Actually, the concept is from a British show that ABC got the rights to copy, so technically their show is more legit than FOX’s.

[xvi] How sad is it that you know who I’m referring to here, just by these 2 initials.

[xvii] I think that’s how you spell his name. The shirtless dude.


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