Ahhhh, autumn. The time of year when a young girl’s fancy turns to cozy sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes and primetime network demographic breakdowns. Or is that just us?
We here at Boobtube are dedicated to bringing you the very best in bad TV. So much so that we did the unthinkable: We watched clips of every single new fall pilot the networks are offering up. And Les Moonves help us, we very nearly died after subjecting ourselves to such laugh track-tainted horror. It is a dismal forecast, folks. With a few stunning exceptions, this is one of the worst fall crops we’ve ever seen!
We love ABC for trying so hard even when they don’t really have to. Going into the fall season last year, they had a relatively strong group of shows. Sadly, their triumverate of power, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and Lost all underperformed. But Ugly Betty was strong right out of the gates (11 Emmy nominations) and let’s face it, who among us won’t be watching Desperate Housewives this year? Poor Nathan Fillion’s like the sweet, sweet gingerbread used to build the old witch hag’s house of horrors. ABC is in a pretty good position, but they’re not resting on their laurels; with 11 shows on the go, they have the most of any network. That’s smart, since a healthy 85% of them el suck-o the big-o weiner-o.
Come along with us as we examine the Alphabet network’s attempt to lure viewers into a world of lawyers, CEOs and cavemen. Like there’s really a difference.
Cavemen: This half-hour comedy is based on the Geico Insurance commercials featuring self-aware cavemen. (Tues., 8 p.m.)
Salome – Three billion years have led up to this moment, the debut of the best television program ever. Ahhhh. The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals.
Jess – I don’t even want to think of the implications of the fact that commercials are now series fodder. As much as it pains me to say it, this is probably the most original sitcom premise in this year’s crop. But the promos are pretty much laugh free, and the show is making a troubling attempt to comment on race in America. Did someone seriously pitch this as Encino Man meets All in the Family? TV execs, your world frightens and confuses me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pitch a show where the Burger King and the Lamisil fungus creature are roommates trying to solve the murder of the Snapple Lady. It’ll be like Friends meets Twin Peaks.
Tanis – Geico should’ve went with the Alfie-esque gecko chatting up non-responsive animals of varying species. I would have watched that before this. I thought, for a while, that Cavemen could go either way. Look at Dinosaurs. That managed to be poignant, touching, timely AND completely ridiculous all at the same time. But this is just too weird. It’s probably going to be the very first show cancelled for the new season. Extinction in T-minus five… four… three…
Carpoolers: Four guys relish their daily commute as a chance to escape from reality as they commiserate about their jobs and families in the carpool lane. (Tues., 9:30 p.m.)
Salome – I felt really guilty for laughing at the clips, even the “In the Air Tonight” bit. I have a feeling that they’ve put all the jokes into the promos though, and these ain’t exactly impressive promos. Also, Zoob told me I couldn’t like it.
Tanis – Damn straight you can’t like this. It’s fitting clips for both Cavemen and Carpoolers feature a group of dudes in a car, kvetching about their lives. The better to illuminate the complete lack of difference between modern businessmen and their cro-magnon counterparts. Also, way to be creative on the names: Carpoolers. Cavemen. Yeesh. It hurts me deep, deep down inside to know that several Kids in the Hall alumni have a hand in this. Boys, is it too much to ask that you invest your money wisely? Please?
Jess – An existential nightmare, four men are trapped in a car shuttling between an unfulfilling job of meaningless paper pushing and a suffocating, loveless home. The car is a futile escape from these invisible torments. Never arriving, never departing, the men are forever … Oh, you say this is a comedy? Oh.
Women’s Murder Club: A detective, a district attorney, a medical examiner and a reporter team up to solve murder cases. (Fri., 9 p.m.)
Jess – This might be a fantastic title and a fantastic show if it were about a club of elderly women who, bored of bridge, started solving mysteries. Think Golden Girls meets Murder She Wrote. Or even better, a show about bored elderly women who commit murders. Now that’s a show! Women’s Murder Club is such a weirdly impersonal, matter of fact and condescending title. The “Club” suggests amateurism when the characters are all professionals apparently so dedicated to crime-solving that they continue to do it after work. This might seem like an unimportant detail, but even if this show is good, can you see yourself telling people you watch “Women’s Murder Club?” What if we applied this title to other shows? Can you imagine someone calling CSI “Unisex Murder Club?” Oz, “Men’s Prison Rape Box Social?”
Tanis – According to ABC’s website, “When you are a woman working in a man’s field, you get a lot further by teaming up.” Ahhh, so that’s why I haven’t had my big break as a reporter. I just haven’t found the right combination of district attorney, detective and medical examiner to team up with yet! I wasn’t going to watch this, but then I heard Brett Ratner was executive producing. Bring on the mutants and the explosions, dude! Jessica Simpson’s father is also on the list of executive producers, so I guess they must have met on the sets of the Tits N’ Assathon videos Ratner directed for Jess. Oh, Papa Joe, you so wise! Tell me more about how to successfully manage my career!
Salome – Oh, so that’s what Angie Harmon is doing nowadays.
Private Practice: Grey’s Anatomy OBGYN Addison Montgomery moves to L.A. to work at a medical co-op. (Wed., 9 p.m.)
Tanis – I like Kate Walsh, who is very pretty. I like Audra McDonald, who is very pretty. I like Taye Diggs, who is very pretty. I even like Tim Daly. Not enough to pretend I didn’t wish his character was played by Steven Weber, but you know, close. I HATE Grey’s Anatomy, so I would very much enjoy it if this show was a success. It’s been awhile since I’ve hated a title character as much as I do Meredith Grey. Not since Dawson Leery have I so loathed a fictional being. Addison Montgomery is, like, the exact opposite of that. Also, I would play doctor with Chris Lowell any day of the week! Call me, Piz!
Salome – I was so torn on this. I really hate Grey’s now, mainly because Meredith Grey is a simpering bore and I can’t figure out why one guy would be interested in her, much less multiple guys. And Yang, don’t even get me started! I would have dumped her ass long before the wedding. Also, the cutesy McDreamy/McSteamy stuff is so overdone and annoying.
Jess – Kate Walsh is gorgeous and played one of maybe two characters on Grey’s Anatomy who don’t make me want to throw up, but I don’t know if that’s enough. House currently fills my quota of medical dramas (the quota is one), and it has pretty much everything I need: hot people, improbable events, snark. The only thing it doesn’t have is a helicopter that murders people, and for that I can watch ER’s 50th season. I remember being so annoyed with that storyline when it aired, but now I would totally watch a show about helicopters that seek out hapless ER surgeons who used to be in FAME and murders them. We could call it Helicopter Murder Club. Coming up next on the CW!
Eli Stone: Conflicted lawyer seeks meaning in his life after discovering an aneurysm and having odd hallucinations. (Mid-season replacement.)
Tanis – Is that… George Michael? For real? Huh. ABC is smart for holding back ONE of their shows about a lawyer rediscovering his morals until mid-season. Eli is played by Johnny Lee Miller of Trainspotting, once-married-to-Angelina-Jolie, I-secretly-love-the-movie-Hackers fame. I might like this show if it ups its number of ’80s pop stars performing for my pleasure and downplays the treacley sad music of realization so prominent in the clip.
Salome – Only a teensy clip was available but I am looking forward to this midseason offering.
Dirty Sexy Money: An idealistic lawyer is roped into defending the rich, deviant Darling family, headed by Donald Sutherland. (Wed., 10 p.m.)
Salome – KLUUUUUUUUUUUUTE! PS: The ads they’ve bought on Perez that are styled to look like gossip pieces are dumb. And not convincing – ABC’s art department left out the MS Paint’d drool and semen.
Jess – I love Peter Krause and Donald Sutherland. Enough that I would probably watch a show about them reading a phone book. And now it looks like they’ve made that show. Um, yay? Dirty Sexy Money has had one of the most invasive ad campaigns I’ve ever seen. I recently walked into a subway station that was nearly devoured by ads for this show. It was like stepping into some kind of grotesque Disney World ride. That said, of all the shows about rich people this season, I think this is the only one that understands that the public’s interest in the obscenely wealthy is malicious. We don’t want to sympathize with them, or live vicariously through them, we want to hate and ridicule them.
Tanis – Here’s what I learned from the clip for this show: Donald Sutherland wants to show me his nuts on the table. I do not want to see his nuts, table or no. Also, Peter Krause needs a haircut. Question: Why all the shows about lawyers with morals? Is it too much to ask to base these shows in reality?
Cashmere Mafia: A group of beautiful, ambitious, power-hungry women balance their careers with their complex personal lives. (Mid-season replacement.)
Salome – Neeeext.
Tanis – The way you can tell this show from ABC’s other show about four foxy ladies is, THESE foxy ladies worry less about murder and more about fashion. It’s like Sex and the City with ambition and power-suits. Like if all four ladies were SatC’s Miranda. They WISH.
Jess – The truth is, I still have to catch up with an entire season of Ugly Betty. I really don’t need to add a Very Attractive Betty to the pile.
Miss Guided: A comedy about a high school guidance counselor who finds herself facing off with her own high school nemesis. (Mid-season replacement.)
Salome – Tries too hard.
Tanis – From executive producer Ashton Kutcher comes this – NEXT! Seriously. I do love Judy Greer, but ASHTON KUTCHER? I imagine the pitch went like this: “What if a guidance counselor at a high school was hot? But kind of a dork. But still really, really hot?”
Samantha Who?: Sam wakes up from a coma with amnesia. She soon learns that before the coma, she was basically a bitch. (Mon., 9:30 p.m.)
Tanis – I’m not sure what I’m supposed to take away from this show. Christina Appelgate’s character wakes up from a coma with retrograde amnesia, so she doesn’t remember what a big ol’ bitch she was. So now she’s figuring out she was a bitch. If it were “watch her rediscover her bitchiness” I might watch it. But I think it’s another one of those “I’m an awful person! I need to change my ways!” shows that are so prolific this year. You don’t need to change your ways, bitches! Stay bitchy! I love bitches! Hell, I AM a bitch!
Salome – I already forgot everything about this show.
Pushing Daisies: A ‘forensic fairytale,’ this show is a romantic comedy, but with bodies. It’s about a man who brings the dead back to life. (Wed., 8 p.m.)
Salome – I liked this one a lot. It seems really original and heartfelt and the magic realism reminds of Big Fish. This will never make it past the first season.
Tanis – This show is about a dude who touches dead people and brings them back to life. Wishful thinking on ABC’s part. They need this guy to, like, rub himself all over Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and Lost. Bryan Fuller, the creator of the show, seems to have a TINY fascination/kink involving dead people with magical powers. He is the creative force behind Dead Like Me (Which was SO AWESOME) Wonderfalls (ALSO awesome) and wrote quite a bit last year for Heroes (Awesome squared). Lucky for him, I have that same fascination, since I’ve tuned in to all those shows. He’s had bad luck with keeping shows on the air, but I hope this isn’t one of them because it’s easily the best of the fall crop.
Big Shots: The trials and tribulations of four high-powered male executives. (Thurs., 10 p.m.)
Salome – Oh, Lord. I don’t care.
Jess – Let’s see, an unironic use of the term “alpha male” and the odious line “Men, we’re the new women!” Gosh, it’s like you were so busy oppressing people you barely noticed when you became the oppressed class. It’s so hard to be a rich, white dude nowadays! And yet somehow you broke through the glass ceiling and became CEOs. This looks like an Entourage set in the not even remotely sexy business sector, without Entourage’s self-awareness that its characters are douchebags.
Tanis – Pooooor, rich, patriarchical men! Their lives are so hard! One guy’s mistress is hard to control! The other guy can’t find the right pastries for his wife’s party! Wah! My wallet won’t hold all my 50s and my diamond shoes are too tight! This show should be called “Four Rich Douches Who Should All Fuck Off And Die Now.” I know, it’s long, but I doubt you’ll be saying it or thinking about it for long. When Dylan McDermott’s prostitute-frequenting CEO intoned “Men. We’re the new women.” I mentally added “except that we have power and money. Haha! We sure dodged a bullet there! Hey, Mindy! Another scotch! And make it snappy!” Heinous and depressing on every level there is.
Phew. That’s it for ABC. We’ll be updating the site throught the month of September with the breakdown of new shows on Fox, NBC, the CW and CBS! Stay tuned!