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Tuesday October 16, 2007 4:40 pm

Assessing (and Ignoring) the New Fall Season

Kitchen NightmaresAs I type this, I’m listening to the new Radiohead album, In Rainbows, and I’m in a terrifically good mood.  See, I love Radiohead like Tyra Banks loves … well, Tyra Banks, and so you would think that this good mood would make me put together a list of wonderful things about the new fall TV season.

Yeah, not so much.  To be honest, I haven’t watched a lot of the new fall network TV shows.  But it’s worthwhile to take a look at these shows and for me to say what I watched, what I thought, and why I didn’t watch a lot of them.  Well, it’s worthwhile for me anyway.  Plus it goes well with Radiohead (not really, but it’s not like I’m gonna stop listening).  Here goes:

Status: Watched the first five minutes.  Assessment: I didn’t laugh.  If the pilot, the episode that convinced a network to pick up the show, does nothing for me in five minutes, I don’t have great hopes for the rest of the show.  I’m not just a comedy snob on this one; the first twenty minutes of Tell Me You Love Me on HBO bored me, and so that was it.  Think I’m being unfair?  Go back and watch the first twenty minutes of the pilots of The Sopranos, The Wire and Deadwood and then try to turn the TV off.  Not gonna happen.

: Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: Very simple math: I didn’t like Frasier, I didn’t like Raymond, ergo I’m not going to be interested in this show.  I was maybe going to give this a chance because it takes place in Pittsburgh (go Steelers!), but it’s not like it’s filmed there.  Oh, and I’ve already complained about building shows around stars, and for me to go back on that would by hypocritical.

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: I saw a commercial for it that had the phrase “from the creator of Two and a Half Men,” and that made my decision easy.

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: I wasn’t aware this existed.  My bad.  Still won’t watch it though.

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: Did we really need another Bionic Woman?  I didn’t think so (as I may have mentioned before).

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: , the actor who plays the fascinating Richard Alpert on Lost, is in this show.  If I (and lots of other people) withhold their support, Cane will be cancelled and he can do more episodes of Lost.  Yes, that is how my mind really works.

Status: Didn’t watch (see a trend?)  Reason: is in it.  Don’t care for him.

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: Are you serious?  I need to give a reason for this?

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: No good reason.  I saw that my Monday was television-free (except for football) until I Love New York 2 started, and I was satisfied with that.  Yes, there are nights I like to not watch TV.  That’s when I watch DVDs.

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: Okay, here’s where it gets convoluted.  The show has and , and they’re great.  The show also has , who is my least favorite Baldwin (Stephen edges him out by being in The Usual Suspects), so that’s pretty much an acting wash.  What made the final decision for me?  Well, the name is so blatant it reminded me of Desperate Housewives, and I did watch the pilot for that.  I was, however, horribly disappointed by that pilot ( reminds her kids that their father is allergic to onions and I just sat there waiting for her to give him onions in something, which, twenty or so minutes later, she totally did.  Yawn.), so I gave this one a pass.  It was a squeaker though.

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: Didn’t watch Dawson’s Creek, didn’t watch The O.C., so if the teenage girls in your show aren’t solving crimes or slaying vampires, I’m not tuning in, WB/UPN/CW, sorry.

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: See my reason for Chuck.  This show does have one of the leads from Rome in it, though, so feel free to watch it for that.

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: Creepy idea.  No thanks.

Status: Do watch.  Assessment: Admittedly, I like this show better in its BBC version.  It’s not so bombastic and over-edited, plus gets to do the narration himself.  But I dig the concept of the show no matter what version.  It takes the good parts of Hell’s Kitchen and Extreme Makeover and fits them together in an enjoyable package.  Gordon criticizing lazy chefs and owners and making restaurants better is enjoyable television.

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: Half of it is my Monday reason.  The other half?  Hmmm, I don’t know.  Maybe I should be watching this show.  Is it any good?

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: Premise looked horrible.  Plus, once I found out it wasn’t based on the cereal or board game, I said forget it.  I’d totally watch the shows Trix or Boggle.

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: This is the first I’m hearing of this show.  Nice marketing department, CW.

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: Because it’s almost exactly the same premise as Angel, and I’m still annoyed that show was cancelled.  Hey, CBS, if you like this concept now, why didn’t you like it when you could’ve rescued Angel from the WB a few years back?

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: I think it’s already cancelled.  I mean, I probably wouldn’t have watched, but now I can hide behind this excuse.

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: I don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy, and I’m afraid that I wouldn’t be able to catch up on the elaborate mythology of this universe.  But because I once directed the fabulously talented in a play I wrote, I encourage you to watch this show.  That way I can unfairly take some credit for its success.

Status: Didn’t watch.  Reason: I began hating the show before it ever aired.  This is my example of how over-advertising something will hurt you.  In May or so when this show was announced as part of ABC’s schedule, I heard the concept and was intrigued.  Then I heard the good buzz from some of the critics and was planning on watching it.  And then, ABC chose to blanket New York City with so much advertising for this show that I could not get to work, go to the gym, walk to a movie theater without being inundated with billboards, bus ads or phone booth ads for Pushing Daisies.  And I began to get annoyed with the show, the way you get annoyed with anything that keeps cluttering your world.  By the time late August had rolled around, I hated this show and vowed to stop watching it (even though I’d never started watching it).

Status: Did watch.  Assessment: It was cute.  I watched it because directed the pilot.  Will I watch it again?  Probably not, but it’s not a bad show.

That’s it for me.  Oh, and I know it’s not network TV but I watched VH1’s America’s Most Smartest Model, which was … pretty much what I expected.  But it had Ben Stein in it.  I can’t decide if that’s good or sad.  Maybe both.

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