Television



Special This Month

CBS will be airing the Victoria's Secret Lingerie show later in November.

The airing last year was a major audience draw and also drew a lot of complaints to the FCC over indecent exposure in prime time television. Those complaints were not found to be valid and no action was taken against CBS.

CBS may also do a Victoria's Secret Swimsuit special, probably next year as the warm weather returns.

Supermodel Comes to UPN

So, you wanna be a Supermodel? Tyra Banks, who works on both sides of the camera for this show, will help show you how and maybe discover a future cover girl.

This show will be a combination of reality television, the angst of becoming a supermodel, plus the competitive nature of "American Idol" the show that capture the imagination of the nation. Eight episodes have been ordered up as a midseason replace (which means it can premier as early as late November or early December, although it may not make the schedule until sometimes after the first of next year) on many UPN affiliated stations (that's also known as the Star Trek network).

Star Search will also be making a comeback in the near future! For many, many years Ed McMahon's show made in association with Dick Clark (the two of them were once roomates back when Clark was starting "American Bandstand" -- Clark told McMahon about the opening with Johnny Carson on the new "Tonight Show" back in the 1960's) was a staple of American televison. It was still not the first show of this kind. For decades Ted Mack, Authur Godfrey and before them Major Bowes had talent shows on both radio and televsion. Among the major discoveries included acordionist Myron Floren, who works with Lawrence Welk and often leads the Welk Orchestra.

Married by America

Now in development by Fox (Sony Entertainment previously tried a similar concept in India with only fair results), this is about an arranged marriage! The audience will vote on which man and which woman should get hitched!

Neither the man nor the woman will know about each other until the voting is all over and done with!

What's next, Divorced by America? Where we get to vote on who gets a divorce?

I'm personally in favor of a show called Network Executive by America where the people get to pick who runs the television network! All the big wigs at the networks parade before us, tell us their ideas for the next TV season and we pick the guy or gal whose ideas we like. Then next year we can them if they shows were duds and do it again! How's that for a concept, Fox, Sony, NBC, CBS, ABC, UPN? Any takers?

Reviews Of The New Shows

CSI: Miami

Muchado about nothing.

I like the original show and cast (Thursday 10 p.m. CBS stations) but this one has nothing much going for it (except it seems to be doing good in the rating against NBC’s “Crossing Jordan” which is a similar and for me a better show).

David Caruso never did anything for me. Not on NYPD Blue or in movies and certainly not here. He has no charisma, no command and I’m not fond of his chip on the shoulder attitude.

His counterpart on the original CSI is witty, smart, imaginative, fallible and credible. Everything that everyone on this version of the CSI franchise lacks.

I liked Kim Delaney in last year’s short lived “Philly” from Steven Bochco but even she is no Marg Helgenberg in this show. Delaney is doing nothing more than a pale clone of the original character and her finesse that came out so readily in “Philly” is just not cutting the mustard here!

The stories don’t hold my interest like those on the original CSI. The endings and conclusions are not impactive, like they are on the original CSI.

I’ve sort of watched this show, distantly, from the start of the season and nothing draws me into this series at all!

ROBBERY HOMICIDE

Ditto for this CBS show, although I like all the characters and I like the way the plot moves, the net results of the hour of what they do, however, is also Muchado about nothing. The endings to these elaborate stories are largely “so what” and “why should I care?” The answer is I usually don’t!

This show makes me feel cheated. It’s a character driven story about the police department that has an ending and resolution that doesn’t offer much resolve to the viewer and that is contrary to television!

Maybe that’s what Michael Mann is trying to do here. If so he’s succeeding and being innovative, but this is 'PBS-like television' and even a little like cinema verite (documentary live shooting style without a script).

The acting is good. The direction is good. The characters and strong. But so what and why care is all I feel at the end of each episode.


FIREFLY

This new Fox series is from Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s creator-writer-producer. It’s an outer space saga and I’m a sci-fi nut but this show holds nothing for me.

It seems pattered a little after John Carpenter’s “Ghosts of Mars.” It also reminds me a little of a series that was on a few years ago called “Space Marshall’s” or something like that. It was about the near future with space travelers but no ray guns. This show is somewhat similar. It’s kind of like “Farscape” with out all the trappings, the neat ship, the strange aliens or the conflict of fleeing from the “rightful powers that be.”

This show is just about people in space. It’s kind of like what Gene Roddenberry had originally pitched: Wagon Train to the stars.

I’m not sure what the point of this show is supposed to be all about. It does have special element with the young girl who is sometimes lucid and sometimes out in outer space...

JOHN DOE

This new Fox series has been the real winner for me this season. I like the star, the concept and the shows. It’s about a man who wakes up on an Island off Seattle not knowing who he is, where he came from, what he does or how he got there. But he seems to know just about everything else in the world!

He’s like Data from “Star Trek Next Generation.” He’s smarter than the internet.

He uses his special powers of knowing about things, science and sometimes seeing certain things in color (normally he sees in black and white) to help solve crimes for a Seattle police detective and his hard nose woman boss who find Doe irritating, unsettling but also uncanny. She has a love hate relationship with Doe. She is bothered by finding nothing on him except that he’s got some forged papers, but she likes the fact he does help them solve serious cases.

This show is a little like Peter Gunn, except the Peter Gunn detective doesn’t know who he is. There is a bar in this show (Doe plays piano there). An owner bartender (William Forsythe, who was in last year’s short lived “UC Undercover” and before that he was Al Capone in the television version of “The Untouchables.” Also in this is a girl Friday assistant for Doe who used to work at the bar but got tossed because she was underage.

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A twist is the secret government group of people who are keeping tabs on Doe and occasionally kill off people who bring Doe to close to knowing the truth.

There is also the mystery woman he saw on a ferry for a brief moment in color who called out a name to time. She seemed to know Doe. He lost track of her and is now looking to find her.

The first two episodes were directed by Mimi Leder who gave us the feature film with Nicole Kidman and George Clooney about nuclear terrorism (the first and only woman director who is making action films). Leder serves as executive producer and consultant on the series.

On the Fox network Friday Nights, this show is a real winner for me, of course most of the winner shows I usually pick end up getting cancelled and being losers (“Thieves” and “Special Unit 2” are two prime examples), so take all this with a grain of salt!

WITHOUT A TRACE

This new CBS show follows the original CSI and this is pretty good show. The casting is excellent and the concept of missings persons invesitagtion works well.

One technical problem I have is that they say the first 48 hours are important but I was under the impression that no one would take a report on a missing person until after they were missing for more than two days! That seems inconsistent with what goes on here!

But this is the FBI not local police so maybe that’s different.

Also in real life, as one can well image, they don’t put 5 people on one case and then those 5 people stay with it for 48 hours solid. Of course in real life “Law and Order” it is not that way either! In fact if a police officer spends an actual whole hour on a single case over the period of a week that’s probably a lot! In real life a pair of detectives probably have a dozen cases they look at over the same time frame.

But, if we suspend our belief and just watch this show like a cartoon fantasy it runs real well!

FASTLANE

A new action cop series on Fox is pretty good. It’s an update of Starsky and Hutch type buddie shows (except they aren’t exactly buddies, more like partners who tolerate each other as long as they stay at arms length except they don’t always stay at arms length).

Fast cars, live, rap music (the white guy likes that stuff), Stevie Wonder music from the 60s (the black guy likes taht stuff) and a gorgeious boss (she’s all business and gets cold, mean and mad just like all the guy captains do).

They keep what they confiscate and use it in their special undercover work. They play people like marks. It’s Starksy and Hutch do Newman and Redford in the Sting, except they the cops! They wheel, they deal. They are like hip Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.

They have split screen work showing what happened while explaining it.

-- E.R.D.


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