Monday, May 21, 2007

The Swan Tunes In: Welcome to Fall Schedule Hell

In my next life, I'm going to be a television programming executive.

So far as I can determine, it's a job that requires no talent, no foresight, no sensitivity, and no ability to either predict or produce successful results.

In other words, it's right up my alley.

Should you doubt my assessment, friend reader, please consider that some television programming executive greenlighted each of the following series for the upcoming fall season. Now, granted, I haven't seen any of the pilots for these shows. But I'm a reasonably intelligent individual — with the Jeopardy! tapes to prove it — and I can tell you that not a single one of these series has any chance of being a hit. Much less, of being any good.

Just attempt to imagine, if you will, any sane and perceptive person wanting to impose this dreck on his or her fragile psyche:
  • Journeyman (NBC). It's billed as "a romantic mystery-drama" about a newspaper reporter who travels through time. They lost me at "romantic mystery-drama," which is a good thing, because otherwise I'd have been laughing hysterically at the point when they mentioned "travels through time." This must be about the guy who used to write the paper that showed up on Kyle Chandler's doorstep every week on Early Edition.

  • Cavemen (ABC). The hypersensitive Neanderthals from the Geico insurance commercials get their own situation comedy. Has everyone at ABC already forgotten the Max Headroom debacle? Oh, that's right — the people running ABC today were in kindergarten when Max Headroom was on.

  • Kid Nation (CBS). In this reality series, a motley collection of 40 preteen and early adolescent kids are turned loose to create their own miniature society in a New Mexico ghost town. I know what you're thinking — I read Lord of the Flies, too. I wouldn't want to be the fat kid with glasses in this show.

  • Moonlight (CBS). An immortal vampire plays detective. I didn't watch this when it was called Forever Knight or Angel, and I certainly won't be watching it now. Why don't TV vampires ever go into more logical professions — say, meatcutting, or vascular surgery?

  • Viva Laughlin (CBS). X-Men star Hugh Jackman is responsible for this bizarre bit of business. It's a "musical drama" about a casino in Laughlin, Nevada (what, you thought Biloxi, maybe?), in which the characters will frequently pause the action to lip-synch pop tunes. Two words: Cop Rock. Not even Wolverine has the power to save this one.

  • Chuck (NBC). Given that the Peacock Network is going all Heroes, all the time this fall (seriously — all but one of NBC's new series revolves around a science fiction or fantasy element), I should not be surprised that 30 Rock scheduled this red-headed step-child of WarGames and D.A.R.Y.L. It's about a youthful computer geek who gets a Super-Pentium processor lodged in his skull and turns into a one-man counterintelligence agency. Yeah, that'll be good.

  • Reaper (The CW). A guy discovers that his parents sold his soul to Satan, so he has to run around capturing escapees from Hell. (Some of whom, apparently, have taken up jobs in television programming.) Of course, it's on The CW, so no one will ever even know it was on.

  • The Return of Jezebel James (FOX). Two sisters who hate each other reconnect when one becomes a birth surrogate for the other. Aside from its seemingly limited premise — once the baby comes, where does the story go from there? — this offering does have two positive factors in its favor: costars Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose, who could make a knitting bee seem fun.

  • The Bionic Woman (NBC). Some jokes write themselves.
Now, I ask you: Don't you suppose you and I could devise better programming than this over a sushi lunch some afternoon? I think we ought at least to try.

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6 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Anonymous Tom Galloway offered these pearls of wisdom...

On the other hand, I'll at least be trying out Jezebel James and Bionic Woman for reasons you didn't mention. James is from the Palladinos, creators and main writers of the first six seasons of Gilmore Girls.

And Bionic Woman is from some of the folk from the current Battlestar:Galactica. Now, I've got my own set of problems with B:G, but it's definitely light years above the original, and this BW is supposed to be a similar, more serious and darker, reimagining. The online clips from the pilot (which, btw, have some huge honkin' spoilers for it, so watch at your own risk) show potential, although it also looks like some similar B:G flaws may be popping up.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Donna offered these pearls of wisdom...

I whole heartedly DISLIKE the Geico commercials featuring the cavemen, so ABC can kiss my viewership good-bye on whatever night they choose to run this new show. Let's all hope it's very short lived!

6:47 AM  
Blogger Scott Roche offered these pearls of wisdom...

I'll be watching Heroes (especially if they follow my recommendations, which they won't) and I'll also be watching the Bionic Woman. The rest, as you say, sound like they suck wind.

7:59 AM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Tom: Thanks for the background on both Jezebel James and the new Bionic Woman. Perhaps neither of these will be as awful as the premises would indicate. (I've never seen the updated Battlestar Galactica, because my cable package doesn't include the Sci Fi Channel. But I hear good things about it.)

Donna: The Geico cavemen getting their own weekly sitcom may well be a sign of civilization's impending doom.

Scott: I had great fear at the beginning of the season that NBC would find a way to ruin Heroes. Although the first season wasn't perfect, they managed not to totally mess it up. We can only hope the second season will build on the successes -- and learn from the weak moments -- of the first.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Janet offered these pearls of wisdom...

I was going to say almost exactly the same thing, I just haven't written my post. Once again, great minds think alike. I say we take our act on the road.:)

3:58 PM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Janet: I'll be your wingman anytime.

5:07 PM  

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