Tuesday, September 27, 2005

TV: Killer Instinct

I just had to make the first tough TiVo choice of the new season, following my vow to watch all of the new pilots. Tonight at 9PM are two hours of shows that I'd normally be watching, My Name Is Earl and The Office on NBC, and House on Fox. Unfortunately, two new shows are debuting during the same hour: Commander in Chief on ABC, and Sex, Love & Secrets on UPN. (Also, CBS has the season premiere of The Amazing Race, but I've already decided I'll be skipping it. For one thing, it's the "Family" edition, which doesn't appeal to me. And for another, it may be the best reality show going, but it's still a reality show, and I'd rather watch good scripted programming than good reality programming. I'm already skipping Survivor, which I also like, due to an overloaded schedule; this may be a 100% reality programming free season for me! And the WB has Supernatural, which I've already decided I don't need to watch again.)

Anyhoo. Doing some investigating on TiVo, I find that Commander in Chief will be repeated on Saturday, so that's one dilemma solved. Also, NBC will be running a mini-Earl marathon two Saturdays from now, so there's another one I can put off. That still leaves three shows at the same time that are not being rerun: House, The Office, and Sex, Love & Secrets. So I've decided to blow off The Office. I'm skipping one of the best half hours on TV, just so I can watch a Denise Richards crapfest on UPN. I hope you people appreciate the magnitude of my sacrifice! It's all for you, folks, it's all for you. (Even the ones who don't care. I'm cool like that.)

At least I know one show I'll never have to watch again. Fox's new crime drama Killer Instinct is easily -- easily -- the worst new show of the year. God DAMN, it is BAD. Johnny Messner is Detective Graham Hale of the San Francisco Police Department's Deviant Crimes Unit. He is unbearably bad, speaking in an unrelenting low, dull monotone, and never once conveying anything remotely close to a human emotion. Marguerite Moreau plays his new partner, Ava Lyford, and she's even worse; she spends most of the episode with a dopey, vacant smile plastered to her face. Chi McBride makes a little effort to create a character out of his Lt. Cavanaugh, but he doesn't have a chance.

I liked seeing the San Francisco locations. The sea lions down at Pier 39, Fishermans Wharf, Lombard St., the streetcars, the Port of San Francisco sign -- I love and miss that city. The rest of this show is completely unbearable. Horrible writing, horrible acting, same old ludicrous "our criminals are freakier than yours" plot (this episode's killer uses spiders to paralyze his victims).

Of slight interest: the end of the episode reveals Lyford has been stalking Hale. That seems like a fairly major story arc they're setting up, right? But next episode, she's gone. Hale's got a new partner, played by Kristin Lehman (whom I liked on Tilt earlier this year). I'm almost curious enough to see how they explain away Hale's old partner to tune in again. Wait, no I'm not. The hell with this show. I sincerely hope this is the worst thing I'll have to see this year... but with Sex, Love & Secrets still to come, I'm not betting on it.

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