Wednesday, September 22, 2004

First thing we do, let's kill all the network executives

So I'm watching the first two new episodes of Law & Order for this season (one good, the other so-so; Dennis Farina's an interesting addition, though I'm not sure yet what they're aiming for with his character) and leafing through the Fall Preview edition of TV Guide — I have every one of these going back I don't know how many years.

And here's what I'm thinking as I watch and leaf: I enjoy my work, but you know who really have sweet gigs? The people who pick the new TV shows for the networks. Because those people are no doubt raking in cash by the containerload, and they don't have to do anything intelligent in exchange.

Look at the dreck they have lined up for this new season. How many of these shows have so much as a prayer of being good? As a professional critic, I know better than to render judgment on a product I haven't actually seen. But I'd like to see at least a glimmer of hope going in. Too many of these programs simply reek with the stench of flop sweat, from the premises alone.

Listen Up!: Jason Alexander, the erstwhile George Costanza, plays a character based on sports-talk personality Tony Kornheiser, with Malcolm-Jamal Warner as his sidekick. Admit it — the instant you heard the names Jason Alexander and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, you'd already written this one off as DOA. Name one cast member from Seinfeld or The Cosby Show who's been in anything halfway decent since.

I'm waiting.

Still waiting.

See what I mean?

Moving on...

House: An obnoxious doctor who walks with a cane because he's afflicted with something called "muscle death" in one thigh. Yeah, that sounds entertaining. Here's a clue: "Muscle death" is not a selling point.

Clubhouse: It's about a batboy for a baseball team. No, really. That's it. Thrill-a-minute there. Whew. If this is successful, look for Balldudes, an action-packed funfest about the senior citizens who shag stray grounders at SBC Park.


Father of the Pride: A cartoon about Siegfried and Roy. I know I just said this, but here it is again: "Muscle death" is not a selling point.

Storming ahead...

Lost: Castaways on an uncharted island in the South Pacific. (Let me guess...there's a millionaire and his wife, a movie star, a professor, a farm girl, and a couple of ambiguously oriented sailors.) It's like Survivor, with a script; that is, if you really believe Survivor is unscripted. Pass.


The Mountain: A soap about a bunch of way-too-good-looking people who live on heck, that's too easy.


Center of the Universe: John Goodman stars in it. That's all you need to know (see Jason Alexander and Malcolm-Jamal Warner above).

Thank you, sir; may I have another?

How about...Commando Nanny: Apparently, it's about Juliet Mills and her shocking disdain for undergarments. Can't possibly be as bad as the title makes it sound, but I'll bet it is.


dr. vegas: Two words: Rob Lowe. Plus, when the only way you can make a show appear hip and exciting is to spell its name without capital letters, as though it showcased e.e. cummings's adventures as a casino physician, you're already looking for the exit.

There are many, many others besides, but I'll stop before you reach for the cyanide.

Here's the kicker: someone, somewhere, drawing a minimum of seven figures annually, decided that each and every one of the foregoing, plus dozens of other embarrassments of similar ilk, should be manufactured at a cost of millions of dollars per episode and pumped into the public airwaves where innocent and unexpecting citizens might stumble on them accidentally, thereby destroying an incalculable number of brain cells and faith in humanity in the process.

Where do I sign up for a job like that?

1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Joel offered these pearls of wisdom...

RE: Where do I sign up for a job like that?
First, you need to sign up with a (dis)reputable brain surgeon to excise that part of you that has good taste. Then, the breast implants....

12:42 PM  

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