Party Down, Gravity
Friday, April 23 (Starz)
Season Premiere/Series Debut: Before Starz recently became known as That Spartacus Channel, the network was plugging along quietly with original comedies Head Case and Party Down. Head Case was canceled, but the funnier Party Down (about a group of actors, writers and creatives toiling away for the titular Hollywood catering company while awaiting their Big Breaks; kind of the anti-Entourage) lives on—minus Jane Lynch, who finally got her own Big Break on Glee. She’s been replaced with Megan Mullally for Season 2, but Party Down’s deft mix of comedy (from the cast as well as guest stars playing themselves) and dashed-dreams tragedy (again, this ain’t Entourage) doesn’t suffer. Following it is the premiere of Gravity, a new comedy about … suicide survivors? Hey, if Starz can make catering funny …
Saturday, April 24 (SyFy)
Dare any Saturday-night SyFy B-movie try to top Mega Piranha from a couple of weeks ago? C’mon—it had Greg Brady, Tiffany and big-ass piranha! Mothman, starring fanboy favorite Jewel Staite (Firefly, Stargate Atlantis), doesn’t sound like it can deliver the cheesy goods: Says Sci Fi Wire, “The legendary West Virginia monster returns to exact revenge on five childhood friends who covered up an accidental killing.” Just occupy him with a 100-watt bulb. Done.
|Rock the Party
|Shock the Monkey
|Toad the Wet Sprocket
Tuesday, April 27 (IFC)
Season Premiere: Even by Independent Film Channel criterion, last year’s debut season of Food Party was bizarre, an unholy union of Rachael Ray, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Tim & Eric on a lunch-money budget. How creator/host Thu Tran scored a second season for this series of 10-minute culinary nightmares is anyone’s guess; even the stoners over at Adult Swim must be thinking, “Whoa, really?” Each episode, Tran presides over a cardboard kitchen full of creepy puppets and creepier live guests (including Peanut Butter Jerry and Grape Jenny, among others), occasionally cooking, uh, something (or worse: Last season, she gave “birth” to a pie full of kittens). As Dada-loony as Food Party gets, however, it’s still more believable than …
The Hills, The City
Tuesday, April 27 (MTV)
Season Premieres: It’s the final season for The Hills, and The City probably won’t last much longer, either—having finally grown tired of these over privileged, preening morons, viewers have moved onto the more relatable, preening morons of Jersey Shore. On MTV, that’s called progress. After The Hills ends, we can look forward to an as-yet-untitled new “reality” series from Audrina Patridge (my suggestion: Donkey Does L.A.) and the further musical adventures of Spencer and Heidi Pratt (they’re like Jay-Z and Beyoncé—only white, talentless and silicone-based). As for The City … what was that one about, again?
Wednesday, April 28 (ABC)
Series Debut: Networks have been attempting to launch a new Small Town With Big Secrets mystery series since Twin Peaks debuted more than 20 years ago. Exactly none have worked—anybody remember Wild Palms? American Gothic? Point Pleasant? Harper’s Island? According to Jim?—but ABC is mildly abuzz over Happy Town. The tiny burg of Haplin, Minn., has been haunted by a series of unsolved kidnappings from years ago, and a new murder throws the town into chaos once again—oh, and the suspect has been nicknamed “The Magic Man.” Seriously. Happy Town only has eight episodes to make its case for a second season; going by the show’s overpopulation of characters (well over 30), overstacked subplots and overly quirky bent (Eureka is already carrying the Northern Exposure torch just fine), it’ll all be over in June, if not sooner. Don’t get attached.