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Superheroine Hangover

TNT’s Witchblade is back and dumber (if not drunker) than ever.



X96 Radio From Hell’s Kerry Jackson has devised a tasteless-but-funny plan for watching the new season of Witchblade (TNT; premieres Sunday, June 16, 9 p.m.). Usually, I’d simply steal the idea and rewrite it as my own, but since he’s dangled the carrot of a guest-shot on his Star Trek/Sci-Fi Sunday geek-out TV show on Z24, props will be given. Yes, I’m a media whore—I’ve learned to accept it.

Kerry’s scheme: In light of Witchblade star Yancy Butler’s recent voluntary rehab stint for alcoholism, he’ll scan the sets in her previously-filmed scenes and play his own mental game of “Where’d She Hide the Bottle?” If you’re sticking with boozy Butler and this flailing comic-book-gone-basic-cable franchise, Witchbladers, you’d do well to find your own way of entertaining yourselves, as well. As the two-hour second-season opener drags on, you may even want to try Tube Town’s inevitable Witchblade Drinking Game (Kerry’s challenge could not go unanswered).

Get a bottle and settle in for Sunday’s premiere or Monday’s regular timeslot debut (10 p.m.): Whenever tough-chick New York homicide detective Sara Pezzini (Butler) furrows her eyebrow(s) with Muppet-like ferocity, take a shot. Whenever mysterious evil billionaire and must-possess-the-Witchblade obsessive Kenneth Irons (Anthony Cistaro) slips from one indiscernible lisp of an accent to another, take a shot. Whenever Pezzini battles baddies as strobe lights and bad techno kick in, take a shot. Whenever Krispy Kreme receives a blatant product-placement plug, take a shot (careful, these add up). Whenever Irons’ henchman Ian Nottingham (Eric Etebari) skulks in the darkness while spouting off like a runner-up from The Matrix Poetry Slam, take two shots. Whenever Pezzini’s NYPD partners Danny Woo (Will Yun Lee) and Jake McCartey (David Chokachi) appear onscreen together and aren’t mistaken for a gay Long Island hairdresser couple, take three shots. Whenever Pezzini’s “winter” cop ensemble actually covers her midriff in any given scene, finish the bottle.

When you think about it, Witchblade’s tipsy plunge from cool 2000 sci-fi action flick to uneven 2001 summer series to whatever the hell’s going on in 2002 might actually point to drinking problems elsewhere on the crew—has anyone given the writers a Breathalyzer test?

For newbies, the Witchblade is a symbiotic weapon, a bladed gauntlet with “the power to battle the evil that has plagued the world for centuries,” and Pez is this era’s “chosen one.” Unlike the comic book’s chrome-bikinied superheroine, the TV Pezzini kicks villain ass in jeans, a leather jacket and the aforementioned midriff. You don’t even know how much the comic’s original geekstas hate that.

Last summer, Irons tried in vain to grab the Witchblade and/or convert Pezzini to the Dark Side, Woo dropped Zen advice as a ghost (he was killed off in the pilot movie) and, by the end of the increasingly incoherent (intoxicated?) season, most everyone she knew was dead. But in true comic book cop-out style, Pez figured out that the Witchblade had a cosmic reset button and rewound time back to the saga’s beginning, bringing back her pals, (mostly) erasing her own memory and zeroing-out her bar tabs all over town in the process. Out of 35 million Witchblade viewers last season, did anyone call bullshit on this? No. Does America need a few nights in the tank to dry out, too?

Beginning Sunday, Pezzini 2.0 will face evil anew (on the streets and in the supernatural), more humorless scripts (lone funny line: When asked who’d want to murder an Internet porn broker, a dancer replies, “the Christian Right, anyone from Utah”) and visions of the “future” (actually flashbacks now—follow?). Meanwhile, Butler faces the sobering possibility of being replaced on Witchblade if she doesn’t complete her insta-rehab in time to resume production. Guess that “chosen one” prophecy has a sauce clause.

Is anyone else imagining ex-Dark Angel Jessica Alba peeing in a cup while speed-dialing her agent?