The New Blah Season

I’ve caught up on a few of the season premieres and, if they are any indication of the TV season ahead, it’s going to be a dull one.

I was hugely disappointed with THE BIONIC WOMAN. It’s no BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, that’s for sure…even though they a bunch of actors from that show. The plotting was weak, jumpy and non-sensical. But that might have been okay if the lead actress wasn’t so dull and if I believed a single emotional reaction she had. She loses her legs, an arm, one eye and an ear and then screams in horror because…she can see and hear just fine and arms and legs look  just like her old ones. Instead of being thankful at being, essentially, rebuilt without a scratch, she freaks out and is full of resentment. Um, why? One faction of the secret organization responsible for her super powers wants her alive, the other wants her dead. The pilot ends with her telling the secret agency that she knows her powers now…and she is in charge.

That’s almost beat-for-beat the way CHUCK ends, too. He’s a nerd who also gets super powers, and he also doesn’t behave in any manner resembling actual human behavior…and at the end he, too, tells the secret organization that he knows his powers now…and he is in charge. This duplication wouldn’t be quite so painful if the shows weren’t on the same network. CHUCK  seems to be a one-joke show…and the joke wears thin before the pilot is over.

JOURNEYMAN is QUANTUM LEAP without the fun or the clear franchise. It’s also so "TV" that I wanted to throw a brick through my television set. The hero is a reporter, his brother is a cop, and his ex-girlfriend is an assistant D.A…of course. I’m surprised his wife isn’t a surgeon and his best friend isn’t a private eye. It’s never clear why he’s jumping back in time and his reaction to this stunning event is to mope around in a daze. You will, too, after watching this show. It’s a shame, because I like the guy from ROME and it’s nice to see Gretchen Egolf, one of our regulars on MARTIAL LAW, on a series again.

BACK TO YOU is, as one of my friends said, the best sitcom of 1987. It feels very familiar, very formulaic, and very competent. And also very dated. It’s clear that everybody involved with the show, on screen and off, are pros doing professional work. It was slick, it was well-made, and it was laughless. It reminded me of that Henry Winkler sitcom from last season — or your parents’ Cadillac sedan. Yeah, it’s classy, smart, comfortable and safe, and it feels nice while you are having a ride, but ultimately it’s bland and forgetable.

Coming up on CBS soon is MOONLIGHT, the werewolf cop. I think he should team up with NICK KNIGHT, the vampire cop, and become private eyes. (What’s funny is that CBS originally developed NICK KNIGHT with Rick Springfield and then let it go into first-run syndication…and, a few years back, they gave us WOLF LAKE, a werewolf series that immediately tanked. What is their fascination with supernatural cops and werewolves?)

7 thoughts on “The New Blah Season”

  1. I kinda liked Wolf Lake. The characters were fine, some of the scenarios needed work, but I thought it was fun and unique. Maybe Buffy had created certain expectations for supernatural shows that didn’t satisfy the perfect primetime demographic, I dunno.

  2. Moonlight is about a vampire private eye, not a werewolf cop. And if they’re gonna form a detective agency they should probably call Angel too… 🙂

  3. I wrote about the fall pilots last week:
    Agreed that Bionic Woman is horrible. (Interesting that you called it “jumpy” and I called it “choppy.” Did they have an incompetent editor or what?) What a disappointment.
    I liked both Chuck and Journeyman better than you did (although I agree with some of your complaints about the latter). Most of the other shows are worse, so those two were the highpoints for me.
    Did you watch Cane yet?

  4. I’ve watched all the fall pilots — part of the perks/curse of being in the advertising biz. The one that most caught my eye has managed to slip under the radar… “Life,” airing Wed’s at 10p on NBC. It will be opposite the much-hyped “Dirty Sexy Money,” and “CSI:NY,” so it’s a tough time slot. But you should check it out — they manage to do the ‘quirky’ detective well, with a B-story arc that’s got a ‘Prison Break’ greater conspiracy feel.

  5. I stand corrected on MOONLIGHT…it sounds even worse and more derivative than I thought.
    Reportedly, the entire “home life” subplot in the BIONIC WOMAN was reshot and recast, which may have added to the jumpy/choppy feel. Jaime’s sister was originally deaf…and not the rebellious hacker she is now.
    I haven’t seen life yet…it sounds like a “reimagining” of BURKE’S LAW (the millionaire homicide detective). I’ll try to check it out tonight.
    I haven’t seen CANE…but I am not a fan of soap operas. NIP/TUCK was the last one I got into, but gave up on it after the awful third season with the serial killer storyline.

  6. I watched my tape of Chuck tonight and really enjoyed it.
    I’ll be watching Bionic Woman and Life tonight. I seem to be trying more new shows this year then I have in years past. It’s hard right now trying to fit them all in with everything else going on in my life, but since half will probably be canceled by the end of October, I know it won’t last long. And I only intend to give a show two or three weeks to grab me. After that I’m out of there.


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