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The Blogulator Presents: Fall New Scripted TV Preview, or, Who Will Suck The Least This Year (Part III: Thurs/Fri/"Sat")

As an introduction, here's my television profile. Last year I watched one new show – Community - and I liked it a lot. I watched an episode and a half of Glee and despised it. I have watched multi-minute trailers for all of the new Thurs/Fri/"Sat" shows this fall. I plan to watch none. My reasons for this are: 1.) I'm more of a classics man. I'd rather work through past seasons of Veronica Mars, Friday Night Lights, and, yes, Laguna Beach. 2) I'm more of a video games man. Civilization V was released yesterday, therefore pushing all other life plans (including eating and breathing) to the side. Urination remains a priority.

So that explains what you may interpret to be the bunching of my panties in the following. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy my prime-time preview, which includes a partisan description, a forced positive, at least one negative, an essay question to complete for Monday, and my prediction not of how long I will watch the series (because I won't), but of how long they will survive in absentia of my viewership.

My Generation
What's it about: Twenty-somethings these days (aka me!) and how our lives were defined by 9/11 and Enron. Because I know the reason that I'm a tightly-fitting stereotype (“the boomerang kid”) is because Enron's collapse pulled back the curtain on the business world. Actually, now that I think about it...
Positive: The faux-documentary style (present in the trailer at least) is something I haven't necessarily seen used in this sort of dramatic context before.
Negative: This style appears to be a cellophane cover for already thin stereotypes that have little actual relevancy to our generation. Disney don't know me!
Essay: The trailer for this show attempting to inform our generation ends with a song by the Rolling Stones. Explain.
Future: To be re-evaluated at the winter break, due to low numbers in the target/portrayed demographic.

What it's about: A female spy, based on the only female spy license to succeed this side of Jennifer Garner. I imagine the new face of this established franchise (Maggie Q) maintains the spy-tus quo through equal part knife play and seduction. And according to early numbers that put Nikita's pilot above The Vampire Diaries premiere, fans are happy to re-issue her license to kill.
Positive: Maggie Q looks like she would smell nice, and she appears a good sport in this video promoting her role in 2008's Need for Speed: Undercover.

Negative: In the 10 minutes of the pilot I watched in passing, I experienced no feelings of newness and moved on with my life.
Essay: Would you have tried as hard as I did to make a pun on the phrase “license to kill”? If not, why? If so, how would you have done it better?
Future: 3 years. One for the money, two for the show, three for the Maggie Q is starting to want too much money and we're running out of ideas anyway.

S#%$ My Dad Says
What it's about: William Shatner steps into the role of a cranky old man whose musings were captured by his son on one of the first popular twitter feeds to expand beyond the location (e.g. coffee shop) of the author (e.g. Demi Moore). The series was contrived (sic created) by the people who brought you the punchline/punchline/hold-for-emotion/punchline format so beloved in Will & Grace. Given the punchy nature of the twitter entries, maybe this is a less gay marriage made in heaven?
Positive: Old people can be funny...
Negative: (cont.) ...when they're reacting candidly and authentically. We also have here what I call a critical case of whiny protagonist (see Almost Perfect, How I Met Your Mother). In such illnesses, the main character oozes both pus and unprompted neediness, infecting his/her surroundings with an annoying insincerity that, while managing to drive the plot forward, both reflects and instills a disturbing jaundice in society's image of normalcy.
Essay: Which Star Trek (The Original Series) episode would you have most liked to be captured in twitter form by a fringe character? Which Fringe episode?
Future: S#$^ hits the can this November.

What it's about: Our White Hero (TM) is cruelly informed that his gimmick gift company has (wait for it...) outsourced most of its positions to India. He gets to move over there and keep his role as call center manager, however, because that would be hilarious.
Positive: We have another fresh comedy conceit from Thursday NBC, the only place on network television not requiring new sitcoms to feature a father, mother, 2.5 children, and a gay relative.
Negative: Despite seeming to be in his 20s/30s, Our White Hero appears to possess the racial awareness of a pensioner, provided the joke calls for it. Wearing a cheesehead, OWH cracks to his new subordinates and national hosts that, “You guys have got some pretty crazy hats yourselves.” I do believe there's an opportunity for smart comedy in this setting (and maybe even a life lesson here or there?), but it's gonna need writers willing to rise above the easy joke. Let me just look quickly to see what else head writer Robert Borden has done... Oh Vishnu. He co-created George Lopez.
Essay: Have you ever heard your grandparents complain about Indian call-centers? If so, how well did they veil their bigotry? If not, is it because your grandparents are dead?
Future: This thing is squatting on Parks and Recreation's property. Whichever one shows the better ratings by Christmas will stay. That will probably be this.

Secret Millionaire
What it's about: (Ed. A good blogger lets the guilty condemn themselves.) “Today, more than ever, America is a place of the haves and the have-nots. ABC will break down this barrier, close the gap, and bring the two together.” In other words, some television executives have finally solved political philosophy. That's why they get paid more than other people.
Positive: As is the case with charity, there is the possibility that some of the change our benefactors have so emphatically withdrawn from their wallets will legitimately help someone, at least in the short term.
Negative: I don't like watching rich people masturbate.
Essay: Seriously, how much of a saint is ABC? I mean, Fox already aired 6 episodes of this brand last season, but come on. Thank you, ABC.
Future: It will come and go depending on how much water the marketing department visualizes in their “audience tear buckets.”

Body of Proof
What it's about: A successful woman neurosurgeon loses her professional gift after a car accident; so she moves from the hospital to the morgue and hopes that nobody there has already seen House. Did I mention she's a woman with a career? That's drama right there.
Positive: Hugh Laurie is a great actor.
Negative: Hugh Laurie isn't on this show.
Essay: Compare the number of affluent white people murdered in real life against the number murdered on television. What do these numbers say about Nancy Grace's career prospects in a fictional world?
Future: Who cares. I'll find out when I'm dead and Dana Delaney pulls the truth from the bottom quartex of my left spleen.

Blue Bloods
What it's about: Bring Tom Selleck back to television and surround him with an arguably capable ensemble (Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan). According to Tom Selleck in the trailer I watched, “It's got plots. It's got action. It's got everything.” Plus it's got an Irish cop family to make it extra gritty.
Positive: Maybe some interesting “plots” will surround the family dynamics, thus making the show less procedural than every other CBS drama. It's also guaranteed to be less procedural than the garbage that is Rizzoli & Isles. (PS Rizzoli is also cable's number one new show.)
Negative: It's another cop drama set in the Eastern seaboard. And I don't think I can over-emphasize the fact that it's on what I consider to be the most pandering, low-risk network out there. (PS It's also the most watched network. Sigh.)
Essay: When all the old people die, will CBS lobby Nielsen to include ghost viewers in their ratings? Also, what do ghosts like to eat?
Future: 3 strong years before Tom Selleck gets antsy and leaves to star in television's most expensive new project with Maggie Q.

Who Do You Think You Are
What it's about: Celebrities go on a personal journey (with camera crews) to uncover their genealogies. Spike Lee is related to white people!
Positive: I saw some of my London friends enjoying the British version.
Negative: I was not enjoying the British version. And selfishly, the only version I would enjoy is one about myself.
Essay: How awesome is it that I might be related to Admiral Horatio Nelson? Do you want me to spend an hour telling you how awesome it is?
Future: This will pop up whenever “interesting” histories are produced and time needs to be filled. It's already sharing a timeslot with...

School Pride
What it's about: A hip reality crew is commissioned to fix up the crap much of this country calls an education system, so long as that “fixing” can be done in a couple weeks and looks good on camera. School Pride has already been dubbed “Extreme Makeover – School Edition,” and I imagine it embodies all of the benefits and trappings therein.
Positive: Any airtime given to the impoverished state of education is good airtime.
Negative: Expect this airtime to be dominated by airy personal tales, with key infrastructural problems being too complicated/controversial to address head-on in a commercial setting.
Essay: How awesome would it be if Veronica Mars went to your school? How much more awesome would it be if I were dating her?!
Future: See previous.

What it's about: A retired Supreme Court Justice returns to his lawyerly roots, using unconventional methods to free the wrongly-accused and right the general wrongs of the world. You know, it's by helping people one at a time (and not through establishing the boring case law that makes helping people one at a time more possible) that our justice system shines! On television!
Positive: Jimmy Smits looks to be having fun playing a womanizing old cowboy.
Negative: Hour-long broadcast television doesn't want consistent fun. It wants us to chuckle momentarily before pounding us over the head with the message that, despite its flaws, our country, our people, and our constitution are the best in the world.
Essay Question: To what degree can healthy society embrace its outlaws? To what degree can healthy society embrace another fall of predictable entertainment?
Future: One year, if only because I can't wait to see what fresh new ideas Hollywood has for us next September!

Saturday! What a day! Groovin' all day with youuuuuu!

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  1. Blogger Papa Thor | 7:46 AM |  

    Haha, I've been to India and it is pretty fun over there. The funniest thing was eating in a Chinese restaurant and a Chinese looking guy (perhaps from Tibet) took our order talking in an Indian accent, nodding his head sideways and everything!
    Also, the Shatner show reminds me of Jeff Dunham, where Shatner is the dummy that can say whatever because he's just a dummy, so no offense!

  2. Blogger chris | 5:59 PM |  

    And yet again you one-up me in your pessimism, Herr Doktor. Kudos.

    I will attempt Nikita though, cuz Point of No Return and the original Besson movie are great. Never watched the USA show though.

    Also School Pride because, you know. And Extreme Makeover: Home Edition makes me cry even though I hate it.

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