Monday, August 28

CDP 2006 Fall TV Preview.

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With the Emmy awards over, the 2006 Fall Television Season officially begins. Here's your guide on what to watch and avoid, courtesy of your friends at the CDP.


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(The Simpsons is older than most of my friends.)

6:00-6:30 - Everybody Hates Chris (CW)

Easily the funniest show on the newly formed CW Network (UPN and the WB are harnessing their powers in an attempt to compete with the 'Big 4'), we get more Wonder Years-style nostalgia comedy (except with black people!). Here's hoping a newer and earlier timeslot will give this show the attention it deserves.

6:00-7:00 - America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC)

Still rolling strong in their 17th season, AFV has delighted us in more testicle-related injuries and public humiliations than any other show in television history. Lowbrow or otherwise, I watch AFV when I want to remorselessly laugh as hard as possible. I'm not even close to sorry.

6:30-7:00 - King Of The Hill (FOX)

After rumors of a cancellation last season, King returns for what will probably be their actual last season. Mike Judge has proved for two decades now that he is the master of subtle culture satire, and King, although lacking in the later seasons, refuses to compromise. Also, I met a guy this year that looks and acts exactly like Dale Gribble.

7:00-7:30 - The Simpsons (FOX) - BEST BET!

At the age of 18, The Simpsons is officially old enough to vote, and will be celebrating their 400th episode towards the end of this season. Little else is known about this FOX animated series; if you have any information, please e-mail me.

7:00-8:00 - Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC)

Do you like terminally ill people? Folks that have it harder than you? Folks that pretend to have it harder than you so they can get a free house? Watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition! It's all worth it for the last 15 minutes, as you get to see the beautiful finished product that the family won't be able to afford once the electric bills show up. Honestly, if you can't work or properly function, how will you be able to keep the lights on in a three-story house?

7:00-10:00 - Sunday Night Football (NBC) - NEW!

John Madden & Al Michaels make the jump from Monday to Sunday nights with NBC's new NFL contract. Watch as Al continues to be the best broadcaster in the business, all while trying to cover up the fact that John Madden's been drinking in the Maddencruiser all day.


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(Dear Michael Rappaport: Stick to Woody Allen films.)

The War At Home (FOX) - WORST BET!

Malcolm In The Middle is out, The War At Home is in. Ever feel like you've been cheated? This All In The Family knockoff (with a FOX attitude!) lacks in that it's not nearly as funny or groundbreaking as All In The Family, which wasn't all that funny to begin with. If I wanted to listen to ignorant white men rant about ethnic stereotypes, I'd go to more family reunions.

American Dad (FOX)

Seth MacFarlane needs to harness his energy into just one show that sucks, instead of two.

Family Guy (FOX)

I cannot, cannot, cannot believe this show is back. Family Guy reminds me of when Married...With Children was in its last season, and every episode looked like it was written in real-time. Story arc? Character development? Anything even remotely resembling a three-act production? Nope. Family Guy continues to molest the 'one-off' joke that The Simpsons destroyed over a decade ago.

The Amazing Race (CBS)

Yes, this show does win the emmy for Best Reality Program every year, but honestly, that's like winning 10 cents in the lottery. As is the case with most reality programming, the slew of knockoffs have rendered this show stale and saturated. Like everything else on CBS. Get a new idea, folks.

Desperate Housewives (ABC)

If you have serious celebrity issues like I do, then you'd never be able to fully enjoy Housewives. Thinking of all the backstage squabbles and petty spats about money makes me sick, and it completely overshadows the interesting writing and throwback atmosphere. Besides, I heard that the last season sucked out loud; regardless of how purty Eva Longoria is.


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("Hi, do you have any hand sanitizer I could use?")

6:30-7:00 - Cheap Seats (ESPNC)

MST3K + Terrible old sporting events = Cheap Seats. If you're not sold on that, you're an idiot. I wouldn't tell you to watch something on ESPN Classic for any old reason.

7:00-8:00 - Deal Or No Deal? (NBC)

Watch in horror as greedy Americans destroy their chances to walk away with a fair amount of cash, and enjoy Howie Mandel trying very hard not to touch anything. Deal!

8:00-10:00 - Monday Night Raw! (USA)

I started watching Raw in June, and God help me, I'm hooked again. Don't try to save me; I'm happy with the choices I've made. The most popular show on cable television is also the best guilty pleasure (and the most entertaining) show on Monday night. Whooo!

8:00-11:00 - Monday Night Football (ESPN) - BEST BET!

I'm a little upset that Theisman and company get to take over MNF this year, but if anything, it's a chance to watch the Packers lose on a whole other network.

9:00-10:00 - Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip (NBC) - NEW!

Much like 30 Rock, Studio 60 deals with the behind-the-scenes events concerning a late-night sketch comedy show. This show seems to be taking a more dramatic approach, however, and it will be interesting to see how viewers respond to Matthew Perry in a non-sucking role.


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(Everything > The Bachelor.)

Prison Break (FOX)

They just got out of prison now? How much longer can this 1-season idea drag out?

Two And A Half Men (CBS)

Don't let Charlie Sheen near any children. Growing up is hard enough already.

Wife Swap (ABC)

Want to revitalize this show for a new audience? Make the swap permanent.

The Bachelor (ABC) - WORST BET!

Show #2 of the 'Shows For Women Who Don't Care What They Watch' Trilogy is just as tired as Show #1. This sort of reality programming is about as fresh as a corpse.

What About Brian (ABC)

I watched the pilot episode of this program. When it was over, I remembered nothing. Then I realized that I had been in a coma for three weeks. Don't make the same mistake I made.


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(Exploding eyeballs, testicles and hearts, oh my!)

7:00-8:00 - Standoff (FOX) - NEW!

Follow the action-packed lifestyles of hostage negotiators. Plus, that dude from Office Space is in it! I must say that I'm already disappointed with this show. At first, I thought the entire season revolved around one standoff, when in reality they have a new one every week. Not captivating; you need a hook!

7:00-8:00 - American Idol (FOX-Midseason)

It's back to destroy you in January. If the new group is even half as talented as last year's crop, I'll be a happy guy. Also, can't Katharine McPhee just stop by every once in a while to demonstrate how devestatingly hot she is?

8:00-8:30 - The Knights of Prosperity (ABC) - NEW!

Here's the official release from ABC:

From the creators of Ed comes a sweet, hilarious, tale of haves versus have-nots. For almost 20 years, Eugene Gurkin has dreamt of opening a bar, but his dead end job on the late, late janitorial shift won't even fund a bottle of premium booze. Call it divine intervention, call it a dumb idea, but whatever it is takes hold of Eugene and soon he recruits a group of misfits into his "gang" for a heist to finance their dreams. The target: Mick Jagger's super-luxe Central Park West apartment. Working together, this band of new-age Robin Hoods, who have never even shoplifted a candy bar, are soon casing the joint and prepping for their crime.

I'm there.

8:00-9:00 - House (FOX) - BEST BET!

Last season's finale had Dr. House clinging to life after being shot by a disgruntled patient. The commercials claim that he won't return the same way we remember him, which leads to my theory that he'll be replaced by a robot within five minutes of the premiere. House is the gold standard for medical dramas, and the fact that it stands out from the giant pack is amazing. Hugh Laurie is the best male actor on television, hands-down.

8:00-9:00 - Dirty Jobs (DISC)

Mike Rowe is a hilarious guy. He spotlights (and participates in) some of the lowest, most vile jobs on the planet, all while maintaining respect and humor for the work. Next to Mythbusters, this is probably the best show on cable right now, so check it out while you can.

9:00-10:00 - ECW (SCIFI)

Sometimes, after a hard day at work, I like to come home and watch a guy get his forehead torn open with a barbed-wire bat. Maybe you're like me, maybe you're not. I don't care; I'm still watching ECW.


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(Welcome to the 'has-been' show!)

Gilmore Girls (CW)

Wait...this show is still on? Aren't they Gilmore Women by now?

Boston Legal (ABC) - WORST BET!

William Shatner and James Spader can both go to hell for winning Emmys last year. Anything that takes recognition from Lost is an enemy of mine.

Dancing With The Stars (ABC)

Scientists and statistitians are still trying to figure out why so many people watch this show. As if dancing isn't boring enough as is, throw in D-list celebs and you have a bona-fide crap sandwich.

The Unit (CBS)

Hooray! Another crime drama! Oh, thank you for the crime drama, CBS! I'm ever so grateful!

Law & Order: Anything (NBC)

Next season, watch for the premiere of Law & Order: Preschool Hall Monitor.


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(It's on like Donkey Kong, fools.)

7:00-8:00 - Jericho (CBS) - NEW!

I'm super-excited about this one. Here's the press release from CBS:

Thirty-two year old Jake Green plans a brief return to his childhood home in rural and isolated Jericho, Kansas, to much fanfare from his mother and friends, who have had only intermittent contact with him. Jake appears to be hiding something, as each of his interactions with one of the town's citizens elicits different explanations of why he was out of touch for so long. Despite objections from his mother, Jake plans to leave Jericho as quickly as he arrived.

During Jake's exit from town, the electronic equipment in and around Jericho begins to fail. At the same time, a mysterious, possibly nuclear explosion occurs to the west, and a mushroom cloud suddenly becomes visible above the Rocky Mountains.

With communications and power out, Jake and the small town of Jericho face the challenge of being physically and psychologically isolated from the outside world - not knowing what is left of that world, or how many others are still alive - and of finding a means of survival in the midst of panic and chaos.

7:30-8:00 - 30 Rock (NBC) - NEW!

This is the show that Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch both left SNL to produce. This looks to be one of the funniest shows of the new season; a mockumentary, behind-the-scenes look at the production of a late-night comedy show. Audience or not, I expect this show to be a critical darling.

8:00-9:00 - Lost (ABC) - BEST BET!

On October 4, it all begins again. Expect a full Season Three Preview in the upcoming weeks.

8:00-9:00 - Mythbusters (DISC)

Adam & Jamie set out to put each and every Urban Legend to bed on Mythbusters. Watch as they create ingenius contraptions and use brilliant logic to take down some of the most bizarre stories ever told.

8:00-9:00 - Ghost Hunters (SCIFI)

Roto-Rooter plumbers by day, paranormal investigators by night. This is clearly not your typical paranormal show. The TAPS crew goes into haunted places with the intent to debunk and explain away the happenings. Over the last few years, Ghost Hunters is responsible for some of the most amazing paranormal footage ever captured.

9:00-10:00 - The Nine (ABC) - NEW!

After being hostages in a foiled bank robbery, the lives of nine people suddenly become interconnected. Shows like this rely 100% on if you like the character or not, so as long as Brad Garret's not in it, we should all be good to go.


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(Fat is the new Embarrassing. Even I didn't get that joke.)

The Biggest Loser (NBC) - WORST BET!

You want to know who the biggest loser is? You, if you watch this show. Sometimes, the jokes just write themselves.

America's Next Top Model (CW)

Until gay men stop controlling the supermodel market, I will not pay any attention as to what they have to say concerning beautiful women. Sounds like a conflict of interest, if you axe me.

The Loop (FOX)

What was once a promising FOX comedy has descended into the ranks of the 'poop joke/boob joke/repeat as necessary' formula. The guy who played Detective Bookman is on this show, however, and often has the best lines. There are far too many good shows on Wednesday nights, however, to waste any time on The Loop.

Criminal Minds (CBS)

Thanks for the new forensic crime drama, CBS. Really, I can't imagine life without a billion of them.

Lost (ABC)

Hey...wait a minute...


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("I'm gunna drop a deuce on everybody.")

7:00-7:30 - My Name Is Earl (NBC)

One of the strongest comedies on TV returns for a sophomore season. Jason Lee continues to cross his past mistakes off of his list, while his wacky group of friends get in the way. Oh, the hilarity.

7:30-8:00 - The Office (NBC) - BEST BET!

At the end of last season's finale', the 'will they or won't they' tension between Jim and Pam reached a head. This may or may not spell disaster for the returning Funniest Show On Television, but as long as Steve Carrell is at the helm, you shan't worry.

8:00-9:00 - Supernatural (CW)

I honestly don't know if I'll have the time to watch Supernatural this year. It's a good, spooky and well-written show (for teens, mainly), so if you're down with a little X-Files Lite, this is the show for you.

9:00-10:00 - Six Degrees (ABC) - NEW!

From the producers of Lost, comes a show about the inter-connecting lives of people living in New York City. Wait...this is being produced by the Lost crew? Then who cares what it's about?


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(Dear O.C.: Die in a fire.)


If you need an explanation, screw you, man.

Survivor (CBS)

They're splitting up the tribes by ethnicity this season. Shhh, do you hear that? It's the sound of a dying reality show.


The forensic ratings explosion is back for another season of dead strippers and gratuitous camera angles.

Smallville (CW)

A lot of people care about what life was like for a young Clark Kent. They're called 'jackasses.'

Grey's Anatomy (ABC)

Grey's Anatomy has about as much to do with a hospital as American Idol has to do with gymnastics. It's the same group of beautiful, sex-starved 30-somethings we see on every drama, only this time they're wearing scrubs.


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(I got the Little Bastard's autograph. Seriously.)

7:00-9:00 - Friday Night Smackdown! (CW) - BEST BET!

Some people don't need 5 hours of Sports Entertainment per week. I am not friends with these people.

9:00-10:00 - 20/20 (ABC)

I miss Hugh Downs, and the way he would fall asleep when Barbara walters would talk.


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(I miss MST3K more than I miss you.)

Damn Near Everything (MISC.) - WORST BET!

When wrestling is your best bet, you should probably use Friday night to call up a friend and go play air hockey or something.


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(I could watch Cops all day. In fact, I have a few times.)

7:00-7:30 - Cops (FOX) - BEST BET!

The greatest reality show of all time (and the ONLY reality show), comes back for another season of tazerings, high-speed chases and full-blown alcoholism. Or, just another day is Wisconsin.

7:30-8:00 - Cops (FOX)

Because one episode just isn't enough.

7:00-8:00 - Dateline (NBC)

They could catch pedophiles every single week on Dateline, and I'd TiVo each episode twice.

8:00-11:00 - Saturday Night College Football (ABC) - NEW!

If you live in a college football state, you'll know how big of a deal this is. I saw the coach of the Wisconsin Badgers in a Wal-Mart last week. It ruled.

10:30-12:00 - Saturday Night Live (NBC)

With Tina Fey stepping down as head writer (to be replaced by Seth Meyers), SNL may be headed into another dark period. Will you still watch? Yes you will.


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(TiVo > Friends.)

Reruns Up The Wazoo (MISC.) - WORST BET!

Use this limited time to step away from the television and make a sandwich. Or, watch everything you've TiVo'ed over the past week.


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(Man, Flatliners was a great movie.)

Andy Barker, P.I. (NBC) - NEW!

This Conan O'Brien-produced comedy stars Andy Richter as a Private Detective. This should suffice.

24 (FOX)

Hey, 24's back! I don't watch this show, but I know that it exists, and people enjoy it.


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Arrested Development (FOX)

Any long-time fans of the CDP know that we've supported AD from day one. So long, AD; the world wasn't meant for something as beautiful as you.

Bernie Mac (FOX)

Sorry Bernie, you stopped being funny after a remarkable first season.

Sons & Daughters (ABC)

I honestly don't want to talk about this. I just hope that S&D can release their amazing 10-episode run on DVD for us nerds. This comedy was very ahead of its time, and too good for ABC.

Invasion (ABC)

In their absence, they will be replaced by 10 more Lost clones.

Will & Grace (NBC)

Don't care, not even a little.

Well, there you have it; you're guide to the new TV season. Start the debates in the comments section and get your TiVo ready. The CDP Top 30 Posts Of All Time is locked and loaded for the month of September, to be followed by the LOST SEASON THREE PREVIEW. So long, I'm going on vacation.

It should be noted that Conan O'Brien was perfect at the Emmys last night. The Lost/Office/24/House/Dateline/South Park opener was so funny I gave myself a headache.

Also, the 'Bob Newhart in an airtight tube' gag was hilarious, if not for Newhart's expressions every time they cut to him.

Lost wasn't nominated too many times, but The Office won (again) and Arrested Development got at least 2 nods.
Yep, Conan did a great job last night. The beginning film, Newhart, and especially the song-and-dance number about how bad NBC is. We will see if he has a job this season. :)

You need to start watching 24. Really. This would be a good season to start watching, since most of the regulars got killed last season (most of them in the first 10 minutes of the first episode!)

And what about Heroes? It lookss like an interesting show. But it is on NBC . . .
A quick word about Heroes. I wrote the Fall Preview to spotlight all of the shows I'd be able to watch this season. With TiVo, I can only record two shows at a time, so Heroes got pushed out of my rotation due to conflicts (unless I get a second DVR, which would just be insane). If it turns out to be a good show, however, I'll certainly check it out. I'm sure that most of my picks will tank.

Paste has been trying to get me on the 24 train for a while now, and I can't say I'm any closer to jumping aboard. I watched the first half of the first season and it didn't agree with me. I'm not too much for the guns/explosions/twists/get me the President on the phone! types of shows. Not that they're bad shows, mind you, I just get bored with them for some reason.

This is coming from a guy who can watch an entire baseball game without getting off the couch. Grain of salt, my good man.
Also, me and the Missus came to the conclusion that Conan O'Brien must really like The Music Man. His Emmy musical number was an homage to it, and he also wrote the 'Monorail' episode of The Simpsons, which was a huge Music Man throwback.

You'd be amazed at how quickly I can throw italic HTML into a paragraph. I'm like a ninja.
I stopped reading your "Fall Preview" after you bashed "The Family Guy". You are dead to me.
Stupid blogger comments. I wrote what was surely a hilarious comment, only to get the "page cannot be displayed" thing...

I will NOT re-write my comment.
I started on 24 in Season 2. It waned off and on, but this past season was the best I had seen thus far. I mean, when they start off killing off a lot of the recurring characters in the first ten minutes, they are saying, "The rules have changed!"

But if you would rather watch the Brewers lose again instead of edge-of-your-seat action watching Kiefer beat the living pulp of the ten bad guys armed with only a spoon, than that's your problem.
Sorry, I've got a chip on my shoulder for Family Guy that's about as big as a semi tire. Don't get me wrong, I've laughed my way through many of the episodes, but I'm no longer on board.

I like when shows kill off main characters (Lost), it gives the show flavor and zazz. I'll tell you what; if I can work it into my programming, I'll check out 24 this season. Just my little way of showing that I listen to the common man.

The Brewers are dead to me; the Red Sox are gettin' close.
Thank goodness I'm not the only person who unabashedly loves America's Funniest Home Videos. It's quite literally the only show on TV that makes me guffaw outloud. It's nowhere near the funniest, but damn, I love that show...
"AFV" and Animal Planet's "America's Funniest Animals" are two shows that I often end up flipping to during commercials and then just end up leaving there. If they are still around, it is a ploy that must be working for them.

What about "Scrubs"? I suppose I could go look it up...but I want you to do it. er...I mean I want your unique and insightful view on this great show that NBC is almost certainly going try to get cancelled.
I never miss AFV. When I want to laugh- I mean really, truly laugh, I watch that show. It's been on for 18 seasons, so I know I'm not the only one. For every stupid baby clip or staged accident, there's a clip of stupidity in action that makes me tear up with delight every time.

Scrubs is coming in during mid-season, so I sort of overlooked it for the preview. It is a good show, however, even if this will be the last season. The laugh track is dying, one series at a time.
I still don't understand why NBC likes to start Scrubs midseason and switch nights on it every year.

I was also disappointed with Sons & Daughters cancellation. That show was one of the most creative things I've seen in a while. I also liked Love Monkey, but was apparently the only one.
Didn't Love Monkey make it one episode or something like that before getting cancelled? I'm pretty sure it was a record.
It was critically acclaimed, but didn't last too long. (Night Stalker, anyone?)
NBC treats Scrubs so badly because it doesn't own a piece of Scrubs - it's totally owned by ABC/Touchstone. NBC doesn't make money off any syndication deals for Scrubs (which starts this year on Comedy Central) or DVD's - just the ads it sells during the episodes it airs. It's one of the few network shows still like this (Warner Bros. didn't have any stake in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and that's why 20th Century FOX was able to move it to UPN).

NBC Universal hasn't sunk as much of its own money into the show, meaning they'll lose less if they cancel it, and they won't make any extra money if it succeeds. So they don't give it as much prominence as the rest of their shows, where they have sunk money and will make extra it if succeeds. Of course, they also don't have to cover as much of the production costs (just the regular fee), so it's easier for NBC to order up another season and run back-to-back new episodes.

(FOX wouldn't cover all of Arrested Development's production costs, even with Showtime offering a two-season commitment so AD could make enough episodes for a regular syndication deal, so the show couldn't go on, even with a new network)

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