Terrible idea, terrible actors, terrible execution; prime slot and incidental hit. That’s the power of CBS Mondays: They could program 30 minutes of tree-stump removal footage set to canned laughter before Two & a Half Men and the ratings wouldn’t budge. Accidentally on Purpose, starring the exponentially annoying Jenna Elfman as a late-30s woman impregnated on a drunken one-night stand by a much-younger “dude” who then moves into her far-too-fabulous-for-a-newspaper-movie-critic San Francisco apartment, is a shrieking blur of tired one-liners, tired-er sex gags and bodily-fluid jokes even Charlie Sheen wouldn’t touch (a recent episode lingered strangely long over pregnant Elfman getting urinated on—welcome to CBS’ Must Fetish Monday). So many abortion jokes, so little space …
We could just pretend Heroes ended after that perfect first season and go on about our lives, but NBC won’t let it go. The list of shows Canceled Before Their Time is waaay longer than the Not Canceled Soon Enough tally, but Heroes is now at the top of that short heap—and The Only TV Column That Matters™, usually a big fan of killing off main characters just for the hell of it, cares not that Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) was finally whacked last week. Call me when you ice ’em all and bring back Chuck, NBC.
NCIS: Los Angeles
The original NCIS is no great shakes in the crime-drama department, but at least the characters are entertaining and endearing; NCIS: Los Angeles leads Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J have all the collective charisma of a tofu enchilada plate. Since NCIS provides this flavorless knockoff with about 18 billion lead-in viewers, NCIS: Los Angeles is, by default, the “No. 1 New Drama” of the season—much like H1N1 is America’s Next Top Disease.
The Jay Leno Show
It’s less compelling than a gum-care pamphlet, more painful to watch than an impromptu horse insemination, and about as funny as the old Tonight Show—no, scratch that—more like the Today show. NBC’s grand chat-show experiment isn’t a complete failure: The Jay Leno Show, which displaced some more expensive scripted series (most of which involve Law and/or Order), still averages about 5 million viewers at night, and they can’t all be in rest homes and torture restraints. But the numbers don’t excuse Leno’s just-here-for-the-check performance and increasingly lackluster cavalcade of uncomfortable guests looking around for the desk. Here’s an even cheaper alternative, NBC: The viewer-programmed Free Hulu Hour.
Witches of Eastwick re-imagined as Charmed meets Desperate Housewives? Sounded like a good idea; just cast some MILF-y witches (Rebecca Romijn, Lindsay Price and some redhead) and get jigglin’. Turns out, Eastwick blew their budget on hair stylists and pushup bras before hiring writers—it’s as if someone found a stack of old Charmed scripts and said “How can we make these more relatable to pets and lobotomy patients?” Shockingly, at press time, Eastwick was canceled. As for Kelsey Grammer’s Hank … even the laugh track can’t believe this shit is happening. [Update: Both have just been canceled by ABC, so I was right.]
Ghost Hunters, et al
Constantly (SyFy, various channels)
For the last time, ghosts aren’t real—aliens, yes, but ghosts, no. Jeezus. This new cottage industry of bogus “paranormal detective” shows—about 135 at last count on SyFy alone—is nothing but a bunch of band-wagoneering opportunists riding a small crest of reality-TV fame with nothing more to back it up than factory-second Ghostbusters jumpsuits and hours of shaky night-vision footage only proving cable nets will air anything that can be produced over the weekend for under $300. Wait, did you hear that? Did it just get colder in here? Can I have my own show now? Jeezus.