Monday, August 30, 2004

Fall TV preview, part 4

Tonight, we are watching Fox.

Already Fox has me worried, and all I've done is look at their home page for a few seconds. Why is this a problem? Because the first things that I see are two promo boxes for shows called Trading Spouses and something else called Renovate My Family.

So what is the problem here? Trading Spouses sounds exactly like ABC's show Wife Swap. AND if it blatantly trying to rid the coat tails of the TLC show Trading Spaces. So, even if Wife Swap is ripping off someone else's idea, they can't even be original in naming the show.

So, what is Renovate My Family a ripoff of? It seems sort of like a combination of Extreme Makeover and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, with some of this spouse swapping stuff thrown in for good measure. Frankly I am tired of all of these shows that tell you "Hey, you've got problems. Why not let television solve them for you?"

Of course, it wouldn't be a fall network schedule without YET another ripoff of NBC show The Apprentice. What is Fox's version like? Its called "The Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best." Fox will probably shorten it to The Billionaire, but you'll never get the REAL name out of your head now, will you? Starring Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group of Companies (calm down . . . it's not what you think), this guy with money is just itching to give it away to some deserving competitor.

I mean what would Andrew Carnegie have to say about this trend? Whatever happened to working and earning your money? At least the people on Fear Factor have to swallow ink and other horrible stuff like that. I am just tired of it now.

If millionaires with itchy trigger fingers are also boring you and you don't have many plans to swap out your spouse, then what else can Fox offer to you that is new? There is always The Swan 2, everyone most disturbing reality show of last season, but lets assume you don't hate yourself that much.

A new show "House" is described this way:
"a new take on mystery, where the villain is a medical malady and the hero is a cantankerous doctor who trusts no one, least of all his patients. DR. GREG HOUSE is irreverent, controversial, devoid of bedside manner and wouldn’t even talk to his patients if he could get away with it, but he is brilliant diagnostician and only the most dire cases come his way. House and his hand-picked team of experts will do whatever it takes – legal or not – to make the diagnoses that will solve these medical mysteries and save lives."

Sounds great, huh? No? Well, there are the old reliable sitcoms--Simpsons, Malcolm in the Middle, Bernie Mac? Okay then . . . the absolute best new show of the entire last season--Arrested Development. Please watch this show.

Or maybe you'd like to watch Method and Red . . . a new take (further ripoff) of the fish out of water formula gone hip hop that made Will Smith a star in "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air." Or you could try a new show called "The Complex." It pits couples who think the have style, flair, and design cred against other couples with similarly hubristic notions. All are placed in a fancy condo complex in Malibu and each must renovate and design their condo--racing the judges and other designing couples.

Some day we will realize that the world is designed out and we can't find another place to put a tchotchke. But sadly, that day is not today.

If you don't want to design, but would rather beat up other people to release stress, then maybe you can watch ANOTHER reality show called "The Next Great Champ." People compete with other hopefuls in actual boxing matches--under the tutelage of the prettiest boxer ever, Oscar de la Hoya--to become the actual boxer that fights for some title. Further proof that the sport of boxing is corrupt and sad. And why isn't Sylvester Stallone involved in this?

Of course, there is Fox's breakout hit of last season, The O.C. Its back and proably better than ever, but I never got into it much. If they would focus more on the adorkable character played by Adam Brody then maybe I would, but as long as they insist on talking ad nauseum about the "troubled loner dude" and the "willowy troubled gorgeous gal" then color me uninterested.

OR you could try Tru Calling, where Elisha Dushku tried hard to escape the success she had on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. This season she is assisted in that effort by Brandon Walsh himself--Jason Priestly! Will his return to the scene of his triumphant glory days on 90210 help his career? I doubt it.

But in all honesty, I have to give Fox some credit. While their website is not condusive to making hypertext links for you--so you will have to do your own clicking here--I am pleased that for once, Fox is thinking outside the box a bit and going to something like a year-round programming schedule. It is premiering some shows this fall, then releasing some other shows in January and then doing other shows in the summer.

Are the executives really admitting that they are not talented and creative enough to develop decent shows that last for a full season? Maybe . . . after all, I still haven't forgiven them for killing off Firefly. But maybe they are trying to do something new. For more information on that idea, check out this good commentary from the writers at

Anyway, my synopsis of the Fox season? Watch on Sunday nights to catch the Simpsons and Arrested Development. Tune in during the week for That 70s Show if you can make yourself care anymore. And tune in during the New Year January season because that is when 24 begins again. I don't watch, but I hear that Jack Bauer is damn near cracking at this point.

Next up in my sights? Let's go with UPN, okay? Great.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I figured it out! I know "why you won't grow." You're watching too much damned TV.