Continuing on from our last episode, The Only TV Column That Matters® now dives headlong into the new network weekend shows for the upcoming fall 2000-2001 season. The biggest diff this year? ABC has finally 86ed its “TGI Friday” kiddie lineup, not to mention that NBC’s killed off its Saturday “Thrillogy,” leaving conspiratorial shut-ins with nothing to do on the weekend except overanalyze Chuck Norris’ hairpiece on Walker, Texas Ranger—“Back, and to the left … Back, and to the left …”
There is some good news, however, for “Thrillogy” fans demanding a resolution to last season’s everyone-gets-blow’d-up Pretender cliffhanger: TNT has not only picked up all episodes of the sci-fi serial to begin running on the cable net next week, but has also agreed to produce a two-hour wrap-up movie, with the possibility of more to follow. Cool.
As for the rest of the networks’ weekend plans for the fall, it’s business as usual—except for these spankin’ new shows, of course:
Fridays: The Trouble With Normal (ABC), starring Jon Cryer, is allegedly a comedy about a nervous guy who’s convinced the world is out to get him. Since I pitched this very same sitcom to ABC last season as The Ben Fulton Show, I’m suing. Madigan Men (ABC), starring Gabriel Byrne as a widower raising his son and getting back into dating, has kind of a reverse-Lifetime thing going for it—if Meredith Baxter-Birney gets cast as a regular, look out. The Fugitive (CBS), starring Wings’ Tim Daly, follows the same wrongly-accused-man-on-the-run storyline as the old TV series and the recent movie. Along with Steven Weber (Cursed, last week), this puts two ex-Wings stars on the fall schedule … not good. C.S.I. (CBS), a detective show executive-produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and set in Las Vegas, ain’t exactly UPN’s The Strip, but whatever could be? Man, I miss The Strip.
Freakylinks (Fox), produced by The Blair Witch Project’s Gregg Hale, poses Internet geeks as a paranormal Scooby Gang and will air simultaneously on a website of the same name, which will also be viewed by no one. Night Visions (Fox), another paranormal drama, is an Outer Limits-style anthology featuring different stars every week—the first has emotional cheeseblock Aiden Quinn, so it can only get better. Freedom (UPN), a high-tech, futuristic thriller from Joel Silver (The Matrix and, sob, The Strip), pits good-looking kung-fu rebels against an evil government; while Level 9 (UPN) is about good-looking techies working for the evil government fighting cyber-crime, like people skipping out on their eBay bids or something. Expect numerous WWF Smackdown stars to appear on both just prior to cancellation.
Saturdays: That’s Life (CBS), starring underrated sitcom survivor Heather Paige Kent (Jenny, Stark Raving Mad), sells itself as a thirtysomething Felicity, but “more realistic.” Hell, even my notions of an upwardly mobile career are more realistic than Felicity, fergawdsakes. The District (CBS), starring underwhelming sitcom survivor Craig T. Nelson (Coach) as a new Washington D.C. police commissioner who’s going to “clean up the town,” is a supposed modern-day Untouchables. Expect numerous Walker, Texas Ranger crossovers just prior to cancellation.
Sundays: Ed (NBC) stars Tom Cavanagh (“dog-boy” from Providence) as a New York attorney who gets fired from his job, finds his wife cheating on him (both in the same day), then moves back to his Midwest hometown and tries to hook up with his high-school obsession girl. The show is different from Providence in that it’s on two days later. Hype (The WB), a half-hour sketch comedy from ex-Mad TV writers, “sets its sights on our popular culture and the never-ending media frenzy that feeds it.” Huh?
Nikki (The WB), starring Unhappily Ever After and Norm sitcom goddess Nikki Cox as a Las Vegas showgirl married to a pro wrestler (!), is touted as having the same blue-collar, working-class sensibility as Rosanne and Drew Carey … if they were a Las Vegas showgirl and a pro wrestler. Sayeth The WB: “Off-the-wall, unpredictable and yet down-to-earth, Nikki is a new kind of half-hour situation comedy.” Again, huh? As long as it has Nikki Cox in showgirl costumes, me and the rest of my gender really don’t care. OK, maybe not all of my gender—there’s a faction who’d much rather watch that dreamy James Van Der Beek on Dawson’s Creek, of course.
Now, if The WB could slap together a mid-season replacement show with Nikki Cox and James Van Der Beek in showgirl costumes, Will & Grace would be toast!