Thursday, May 18, 2006

TV: My Unfair Previews, Fall 2006: CBS


Wow, CBS must be kicking ass. They're only adding four new shows. I thought ABC was doing well, but they added ten shows to the Fall schedule (counting Saturday's college football). Big difference.

On Monday for CBS there's one new sitcom, The Class. To quote the web page, it "explores the lives of a group of twenty-somethings from the same third-grade class brought back together for a surprise reunion after 20 years." First of all, how stupid is the idea of a third-grade class having a reunion? The show creators obviously liked the idea of a 20 year reunion, but they also wanted a cast of "twenty-somethings," so they couldn't make it a high school reunion, or even a middle school reunion. They had to make it third grade. Hey, why not make it the 16 year reunion of their seventh-grade class? That makes equally as much sense, and keeps them the same age. Second, if they were all in the same class, don't call them "twenty-somethings," as though their ages spread across a wide spectrum. They're either 28 or 29. Oh, wait, you mean the actors are "twenty-somethings," like Lizzy Caplan, who's 23. Or Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sean Maguire, and Joey's Andrea Anders, who are 30, 30, and 31. Hey, I guess I'm "twenty-something" too, if the "something" can be double digits. This show is from one of the creators of Friends, and it seems obvious he's trying to recreate that show's feel. Only this time, with two extra white people! And look, they happen to be evenly split by gender. I'm sure that will prove to be convenient. PASS. Big-time pass.

Tuesdays bring us Smith, about a group of crooks who carry out high-stakes heists. What's with all the heist shows recently? Three of them over the last few months, now this one, plus Let's Rob... on ABC. Geez, time to move on to the next fad. This one stars Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen, slumming it on TV, and Amy Smart, also stepping away from movies, but this has gotta be a move up from Just Friends. I like all three of those people, but I'm pretty tired of this heist thing. This one's a maybe.

Jericho, on Wednesday, seems way too high-concept to survive. A little town in Kansas sees a mushroom cloud on the horizon, which plunges the town into isolation, fear, and paranoia. (Seriously.) Okay, how isolated could the town be, even in Kansas? How long can this mystery last? Send some people to drive -- or take a horse, or walk, if the cars stop working or something -- in the opposite direction of the cloud until you hit another town, even if it's two hundred miles away, and find out what's going on, if the explosion is a single incident, a war, whatever. This show wants to be a clever Twilight Zone episode a little too much, and I can't see any way it'll work without being completely ridiculous, and without every person in the show acting like a complete idiot. Plus, it's got Skeet Ulrich. Ick. Pass.

On Thursday we have Shark, which is about a high-powered, high-class defense attorney who suddenly switches to the prosecutor's side, and starts going after the same kind of rich and powerful people he used to protect. Bleh. Right? Except -- the attorney is played by James Woods. Okay, now I'm interested. Plus Jeri Ryan is in it? And Spike Lee directs the pilot? Wow. I'm hooked. I'm not a big fan of lawyer shows -- and this one is up against ER, so its prospects are slim -- but I'll definitely give this a shot.

And that's it! Of interest for midseason is the sitcom Rules of Engagement, starring Patrick Warburton, who's always awesome, and Waterfront, about the ethically-challenged mayor of Providence, RI, starring Joe Pantoliano, who's also always awesome.

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