Too early to start mapping out your fall weeknight TV viewing? Not in the bleary eyes of The Only TV Column That Matters™!
Mondays: NBC introduces Crossing Jordan, starring Jill Hennessy (Law & Order) as “Dr. Jordan Cavannaugh, a sexy and brilliant yet irascible Boston medical examiner.” Seems Dr. J couldn’t cut it L.A., so she moves back to her Beantown home. CSI meets Providence? Sounds better than “Quincy in pantyhose.”
UPN’s lone new original program in a pile of other nets’ leftovers is One on One, about a sportscaster who can’t control his sassy teenage daughter. Don’t we even get a chance to try and miss Moesha?
Other Monday developments include now Buffy-less Angel moving on The WB (see Tube Stops) and Star Trek: Voyager’s Jeri Ryan joining the cast of Fox’s Boston Public as a new teacher. One of these is a nightmare, the other a dream I once had: “I forgot my homework ma’am! I must be punished!”
Tuesdays: ABC squeezes out two new shows, Bob Patterson and Philly. The first is a sitcom starring Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) as a motivational speaker with low self-esteem and (even worse) a well-documented connection to Michael Richards. The second is a lawyer drama with Kim Delaney (NYPD Blue) as a tough, single-mom Philadelphia defense attorney. Judging Amy meets The Practice? What-ever.
CBS has The Guardian, another lawyer drama: A cocky high-priced attorney, busted for drug possession, is sentenced to community service as a child advocate. Judging Amy meets Traffic? Where’s Orrin “Ferret-Lipped Pinhead” Hatch?
Emeril and Scrubs are NBC’s new Tuesday sitcoms—one features superstar chef Emeril Lagasse as superstar chef Emeril Lagasse, and the other’s about medical interns, not TLC’s booty-call rejections. Only one will inherit the Michael Richards Crown of Crapola—any guesses?
Fox’s new Undeclared has the fabu quality checkmark of Freaks & Geeks producer Judd Apatow, but this time it’s about college, so update your “Save Freaks & Geeks” website. 24 takes one real-time hour per episode—over the course of 24 weekly episodes—to chronicle the 24-hour day of a presidential assassination attempt. It doesn’t have a shot—ha!
With WB outcasts Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Roswell set for Tuesdays on UPN, The WB counters with the relocated Gilmore Girls (cool!) and new show Smallville, about the teen years of Superman (uh …).
Wednesdays: The Dad (starring Jim Belushi) is ABC’s answer to Daddio, as well as a blatant bid for NBC’s Crown of Crapola. CBS also wants in, debuting The Amazing Race (reality show) and Wolf Lake (werewolves terrorizing Seattle suburbs—hey, the rent’s cheaper). Not to be outdone, Fox has The Bernie Mac Show, a retread of ABC’s Daddio retread My Wife & Kids.
UPN, of course, will launch Star Trek: Enterprise, the fifth Trek series, followed by returning sci-fi cheeseball Special Unit 2. They would have paired the mega-budget Enterprise with something even cheaper looking, but Gary & Mike was canceled.
Thursdays: NBC’s Doomed Post-Friends Show of 2001-’02 is … Inside Schwartz! You know the drill: Don’t get attached. Opposite it on The WB is Elimidate Deluxe—part Temptation Island, part Chains of Love, and all crap. CBS offers up The Agency (inside the CIA) as both a companion piece to CSI and a Doomed Opposite-ER Show.
The biggest (and weirdest) news for Thursdays this fall is Fox’s 136th resuscitation of ’toon The Family Guy, matched with the überbizarre The Tick, the live-action version of the animated superhero-satire series and comic book, starring Patrick “The Whopper is King” Warburton. Tape as many eps as possible, good citizen: It could be awhile before Comedy Central or the Sci-Fi Channel spoons up The Tick after Fox inevitably squashes it.
Fridays: A pair of master high-end burglars get busted by the FBI, then strike a deal to work for the Feds to stay out of jail in ABC’s Thieves. Wait, it gets better: The pair is Melissa George and Full House’s John Stamos (!), “and the only thing hotter than the merchandise is the sexual tension between this dynamic duo.” Ack!
CBS tries the sitcom route with The Ellen Show and American Wreck; The WB does the same with Maybe I’m Adopted and Raising Dad; and Fox goes family drama with Pasadena. No details necessary—they’re all dead as dead can be.
The stay-home female demographic is the real winner on Fridays, with NBC’s Providence (7 p.m.), CBS’ That’s Life (8 p.m.) and ABC’s Once & Again (9 p.m.) all in an estrogen-friendly row. Of course, they’ll need a handy, strong man to work that oh-so-confusing remote control for them—it’s a joke, ladies! You can change the channel by hand while you’re up getting him a cold brewski.