Thursday, August 16, 2007

3 Episode Test for New TV...

Word is out today that NBC will release their freshman fall shows to "On Demand" carriers in the next few weeks. This basically means that if you are a satellite or Cable DVR subscriber you should see these shows in your On Demand section soon, and at no cost. It should give me a nice head start on my "3 episode test" theory, which is that any new show can be properly loved or dismissed by watching 3 episodes, no more and no less. I usually pick out a handful of new shows that pique my interest each season to try out and this TV season is no different.

Here's the new stuff this year that I will be giving the 3 Ep test, in order from the shows I'm least excited about to the most.

Kid Nation
Wednesday, CBS, 8

Truth be told, I hate myself for even wanting to watch this. The premise that children on their own will somehow show the adult world how it's supposed to work is something that must have been invented by non parents. Plus, it seems the worst kind of exploitative to put children in this situation and film them. I was somewhat ok with it til I looked at the cast list and saw some 7 and 8 year olds. I have an 8 year old and it sickens me to think of putting him through a reality TV show like this. Thankfully, I will only be able to DVR the last half hour of this one, since two other shows I want to see (one of which is #1 on this very list) already air at 8 on Wednesdays.

Tuesday, ABC, 8

Admit it, you slow down when you pass car wrecks. You scan the scene with a morbid curiosity. Well, that feeling is exactly why this show based on the cavemen from the Geico commercials (a concept directly taken from Phil Hartman's classic Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer skit on SNL) will get the 3 ep test. That's right, a TV show based on a commercial based on a SNL skit. It looks so awful, I just... can't... look... away.

Bionic Woman
Wednesday, NBC, 9

I wasn't really at all interested in this one until I read a couple of very positive views referencing Alias. Hmm, Alias? Alright, I'll give this retread a chance.

Tuesday, CW, 9

Kevin Smith directs the pilot and produces the show. Doesn't mean anything to you? Oh, ok, how 'bout the premise? "Slacker geek Sam discovers his parents sold his soul to Satan before he was even born. And now, on his 21st birthday, the evil one has come to collect. Luckily, Sam can work off his debt by rounding up escaped evil souls and shipping them back down to hell." Still not your cup o' tea? Yeah, I guess your right, never mind. (silently slinks off to secretly program DVR, hoping no one will question his Christianity for doing so.)

Back to You
Wednesday, FOX, 8

Probably the show I'm most on the fence about. This new sitcom starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton could be Newsradio great or a Joey type nightmare. I haven't seen enough to know which way it is leaning but if the leads have the chemistry it might be the first conventional sitcom I have liked in a long, long time.

Monday, NBC, 8

It stars the guy I really liked in "Less than Perfect" and has a pretty cool concept (everyday dude becomes CIAs most wanted when loads of sensitive material is downloaded directly to his brain.) It also looks as if there is a big dose of humor. Can't wait to see if it works.

American Band
Friday, FOX, 8

Plain and simple, American Idol meets your local independent garage band. I'm there.

Monday, NBC, 10

Maybe my nostalgic longing for new Quantum Leap episodes has infected my usually over analytical brain, but I'm pretty excited about this new time travel show. In fact, I think it's enough like Leap that if I play the theme song from Quantum Leap before watching each episode I can almost trick myself into seeing Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell instead of whoever they have in this one. Woo-Hoo Quantum Leap is back baby!

Pushing Daisies
Wednesday, ABC, 8

The sure fire show to fill the "Wife of Dice" begrudgingly addicted slot. Every season there is one show that I get excited about that my wife does not want to start watching. I usually leave them on the DVR "just in case" she wants to check them out, which is closely followed by her quick descent into fandom and addiction. Lost and The Office have both filled this slot in the past, but this year I'm pretty sure it's gonna be Pushing Daisies. I don't know that I could do the premise justice so here's the official write up. "As a young boy, Ned discovered his touch could bring dead people back to life. But if he touched them again, they died again ... this time for good. Now an adult, Ned learns of the murder of his childhood sweetheart, Chuck, and he revives her -- knowing they can never come into physical contact again." When lost returns in January, ABC will own Wednesdays with a powerful one two punch. That is, of course, as long as Pushing Daisies passes the 3 ep test.

I'll let you know October 24th.

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