Hot Tube Action 

What’s new on TV this summer for those stuck to the couch.

Kristin (NBC, Tuesdays): Helium-voiced Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth’s big-hearted (and, probably not coincidentally, long-delayed) stab at a sitcom attempts to cram the pint-sized diva’s plethora of talents into NBC’s standard format big-city-office comedy. It’s like Suddenly Susan, but with show tunes—two things that do not belong on TV under any circumstances.

Ladies Man (CBS, Wednesdays), FreakyLinks (Fox, Fridays), Making the Band (ABC, returns Friday, June 8): Bad sitcom, sci-fi and they’re-not-gay boy-band leftovers getting burned off during the summer, and they’ll thankfully never be heard from again. (It was either these or reruns of Bette, The $treet and Geena Davis—pick your poisons.)

The Huntress (USA, Sundays): For all the critical props that Gilmore Girls receives for its sweet portrayal of a strong mother-daughter bond, Lorelei and Rory have nothing on this cool cable series’ Dottie and Brandi, who have the action edge with gunplay, car chases and sundry bounty-hunter yuks. Unfortunately, it’s been canceled, so catch it while you can.

Spyder Games (MTV, Mondays): The first MTV soap opera, with the sex and intrigue set in a videogame company … they canceled 2Gether for this?

The Beast (ABC; debuts Wednesday, June 13): Behind the scenes of 24-hour cable news station, with a dash of reality-TV grit and creepy Frank Langella as the creepy Ted Turner-type. Yeah, creepy.

Go Fish (NBC; debuts Tuesday, June 19): Freaks & Geeks-like high-school sitcom, minus the freaks and geeks but with Andy … Dick … as … a … teacher.

The Division (Lifetime; returns Sunday, June 10): Tough-talkin’ San Francisco female cops get in touch with their feelings when not busting perps or redecorating the squad room—is that Nancy McKeon from the The Facts of Life? Or Jared Leto from My So-Called Life?

Witchblade (TNT; debuts Tuesday, June 12): Like a Chinese buffet of The Matrix, The Crow, Highlander, La Femme Nikita, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, NYPD Blue and The Division (it’s the tough female cop thing), Witchblade stars Yancy Butler and her perma-arch eyebrows as a New York detective who gains evil-crushin’ superpowers though a supernatural bracelet that becomes a gauntlet/blade and accessorizes effortlessly from daywear to eveningwear. For Butler, both consist entirely of leather jackets and jeans, so no big. The hyper-stylized F/X (dig the mid-air motorcycle scene lifted wholesale from Mission: Impossible 2) and strobe-light editing neatly obscure the fact that the plot, even more so than last year’s launch-point movie, doesn’t make a lick of sense. Sure does look cool, though—what else do you want from a series based on a comic book? Besides skintight leather bikini costumes, dork.

The Invisible Man, Farscape, The Outer Limits (Sci-Fi Channel; all return Friday, June 15); The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, Black Scorpion (Sci-Fi Channel; both return Saturday, June 16): Transparent crime fighters, space Muppets, spooky anthologies, steam-punk adventure and … just what the hell is Black Scorpion, anyway? Oh yeah, a hot chick in a skintight leather bikini costume. South Park, Primetime Glick (Comedy Central; Wednesday, June 20): After a full six months (!) of reruns, South Park returns for its fifth season (more Timmy!), and Primetime Glick, a bizarre sketch/talk show starring Martin Short, debuts. Fine, whatever it takes to keep That’s My Bush! off.

Tough Enough (MTV; debuts Thursday, June 21): Boot Camp meets Smackdown as 12 contestants enter a nine-week training course with the World Wrestling Federation. The last man and woman standing win WWF contracts; losers get all the XFL merchandise they can carry home to the doublewide.

The Man Show (Comedy Central; returns Sunday, July 1): A third season of beer, valuable life lessons and girls on trampolines—it’s like a weekend at Mayor Rocky’s swingin’ bachelor pad!

Big Brother (CBS; returns Thursday, July 5): The “reality” series that was so dead-dull the first time around that it actually had more viewers on the Internet is back, but everything’s been changed. It’s going to suck in all new and different ways.

Spy TV (NBC; debuts Tuesday, July 10). Yet more “reality,” but more like a sanitized version of MTV’s Jackass—why not call it Outragiacs? (A little inside joke for you Ed fans.)

Night Visions (Fox; debuts Thursday, July 12): Hammerin’ Henry Rollins is your tattooed Rod Serling for this Twilight Zone/Outer Limits-style supernatural anthology series, which was originally slated to debut way back last year. Visions is actually quite good, with Aidan Quinn, Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Marla Sokoloff (of The Practice and Everclear’s new video) and others guesting—naturally, the Fox geniuses schedule it in the summer against Will & Grace, CSI and Charmed repeats. Shrewd.

Mysterious Ways (NBC), Lexx (Sci-Fi Channel; both return Friday, July 13): The touchy-weepy NBC/Pax series comes back on the same Friday the 13th as Sci-Fi’s skanky-sleazy space actioner—coincidence? Ha!

The Chronicle (Sci-Fi Channel; debuts Saturday, July 14): A struggling journo takes a job at a Weekly World News-type tabloid (not the U of U’s rag), only to find out all of the unbelievable stories it prints are actually true. Man, how would that be?

First Wave (Sci-Fi Channel; returns Saturday, July 21): Cade Foster is still trying to expose the alien invasion, but no one will listen. Tracy Lords is having the same luck in convincing people that she’s now Tracy Elizabeth Lords and no longer a porn star.

The Downer Channel (NBC; debuts Tuesday, July 24): This Steve Martin-produced sketch show looked promising—until he cast the hideously unfunny Lance Krall, the worst part of a now-canceled bomb that had countless bad elements to choose from, The Cindy Margolis Show. Now it’ll have as many laughs as a Steve Martin movie.

Let’s Bowl (Comedy Central; debuts Sunday, Aug. 19): A settle-the-score hybrid of Bowling for Dollars and The People’s Court? Sweet! I hereby challenge TV archenemy Marty Renzhofer to throw down on the lanes!

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