NBC is looking less like a proud peacock and more and more like a turkey with a feather duster on its ass.
The Peacock has several categories of shows. They include: “best show you’re not watching,” “once the best show you weren’t watching but now the best show you are watching,” “meh (sub category: Law & Order),” “Holy shit, NBC, you are polluting the television landscape with dreck so unwatchable that it makes us want to cry,” and, of course, the ever-popular “Is ER still on the air? For real?”
The Office, My Name is Earl, 30 Rock and Heroes were all kind of risky ventures that were culty before they became legitimate hits and we give NBC credit where it’s due. Right now, we feel that 30 Rock is the best show you aren’t watching. The Office is firmly in the second category and that’s just fine. You should watch it. It’s funny. Heroes, we waffle on. You aren’t watching it, but you have your reasons. We understand. Last season was certainly not as good as the first, but we want to give it a chance because a) even at its worst it was still better than 90 per cent of what’s on and b) so many pretty people! Meh, as we said, is the category reserved for shows like Law & Order. As in: “Hmm. Chuck is on. Meh. I guess I’ll watch that.” Life, Friday Night Lights and Medium also fall into this category.
Then you’ve got your fetid garbage. America’s Got Talent, for instance. Here’s our assessment of that: You might indeed have talent, America, but you probably aren’t going to make it big by impressing David Hasselhoff. After watching him role around on the floor shirtless while eating a cheeseburger, we don’t think it takes much to impress the Hoff. Ditto America’s Toughest Jobs and Deal or No Deal. We don’t care how much money is in the suitcase, Howie. There can never be enough to make the recurring nightmare of your Boston Pizza commercials go away.
As for that final category, well, the less said the better. They tell us that this is the last year for the doctors and nurses at Chicago’s County General Hospital. We wish we could believe them. ER is like a reanimated corpse in a zombie flick. It’s been staggering around for years sucking the life out of talented actors and actresses. Only Clooney got away unscathed, but he’s bulletproof. Maybe under his casually rumpled designer shirts, he wears the nippled latex armour he donned in Batman and Robin. But we digress. This much is clear: If this show doesn’t end with a giant fucking helicopter crushing the hospital and all its occupants, we are gonna raise some serious hell with NBC.
Before you read on for our assessment of NBC’s new shows, please enjoy this teaser trailer from the new Knight Rider.
Don’t worry. It’ll all make sense soon.
America’s Toughest Jobs – A competition series that tests 13 men and women who leave lame careers to try some of the most challenging, dangerous and demanding jobs on earth. (Mondays/Fridays)
Salome: Hey NBC, we watch the Discovery Channel, too.
Jess: Deadliest Catch the game show. Yeah, cause instead of watching the real hard as nails seafaring motherfuckers, I want to see a bunch of people who washed out of the Survivor auditions eating fish heads. These people couldn’t catch crabs at Burning Man let alone the sea.
Tanis: Once, I read a book called “Gigs!” It was great. Kind of a heftier “Nickled and Dimed.” I would rather stare at the front cover of that book for all eternity rather than watch one second of this show and others like it. I wonder how the networks feel about the writer’s strike now.
Kath & Kim A woman moves back home with her mother after her divorce. (Thursdays)
Salome: You had me at “. . . get up and make us some nachos?” Add in the parade of hilarious set photos of Selma Blair’s wardrobe and hairstyles and I am psyched. Tanis will hate it because she is mean.
Tanis: I hate it. Actually, the promo shots of this reminded me a lot of the promo shots I saw of Pushing Daisies. And I love Molly Shannon. Who guest starred on Pushing Daises. As a candy maker who sets up shop across from the pie maker. I love candy and pies. And pies made of candy. This isn’t really leading anywhere except to my kitchen, so why don’t we end this right now? The show AND my commentary.
Jess: NBC is promoting this as the new Office, but that seems a little presumptuous. It’s the sort of thing that makes me want to avoid this show out of spite. Don’t tell me what’s the new Office, NBC. I’ll tell you what’s the new Office: nothing. Maybe Knight Rider. That one really seems to nail the comedy of embarrassment.
Knight Rider – When a group of ruthless mercenaries kill a reclusive scientist, his creation, an artificially intelligent supercar, escapes to find his daughter and recruit an ex-soldier to thwart them. (Wednesdays)
Tanis: EXCUSE ME, MR. TALKING CAR, but I believe you are the WRONG BATMAN. I do not want to fuck that robot. I won’t watch this until George Clooney is doin’ all the car talkin’. Because fuck Val Kilmer, that’s why. I like that the dude in the “creators” clip I saw was talking about the “Mythology of the show.” Dude, your show is a remake of a show about a talking robot car. Voiced by Mr. Feeney. You show some damn respect for Mr. Feeney. Val Kilmer, however, does not deserve my respect. P.S. Who are you, bewhiskered and allegedly hot guy? Don’t you know there’s only room enough for one dude with a five o’clock shadow on my TV radar? And that spot is currently occupied by Joshua Jackson, so you best get to steppin’.
Salome: That guy is sort of cute. Wait, this is a real show? Pass. Unless it’s another incarnation of The Twilight Zone, a guilty pleasure of mine, I’m uninterested in redos of old shows.
Jess: Man, the writer’s strike sure was rough wasn’t it? The new KITT is hideous and the new dude looks like a young Joe Don Baker. The car might actually be the better actor. It’ll be interesting to see if it does better than Bionic Woman. Where Bionic Woman took an inherently stupid and cheesy concept and tried to go dark and gritty, Knight Rider is staying true to its stupid, cheesy roots and adding more ‘splosions.
Crusoe – As in Robinson Crusoe. Not David Caruso. More’s the pity. (Fridays)
Salome: Stranded on an island?! That is new, new stuff! Look, I like Sam Neill and I’m sure the Sean Bean factor will draw in those that still lovingly treasure their wee pipes (Elvish-engraved!). Plus, Phillip Winchester is fiiiine. I ain’t gonna lie. But this feels a lot like homework. I feel bad for any teachers that were planning to assign the Defoe book. If you thought Cliff’s Notes and film versions were bad, wait until your students try to incorporate TV plot points into their crap essays.
Tanis: I think Jess forgot her comment about this when we were chatting. So I will remind her of it by stealing it for myself: Crusoe looks like period Lost. And it’s true. I bet, if you look close, there’s even a love triangle or two. Hey, networks? Did I not JUST say that I had had enough of mystery islands? Hmm? Well? DIDN’T I? KNOCK IT OFF!
Jess: This looks very expensive and swashbuckling. Unfortunately, no one is talking about it, it’s not getting much promotion and the network has buried it in the Friday grave. It should’ve been made into a traditional miniseries instead of a 13 part series. What the hell is NBC doing this year? It’s like they’re trying to fail.
My Own Worst Enemy – A man who is two people – a hardworking husband and father and a deadly assassin/spy – doesn’t know that he’s two people until he’s suddenly confronted by the fact. (Mondays)
Salome: You can watch this with your parents and be pretty sure that you won’t be ambushed by Viggo Mortenson going down on anyone, so it’s got that going for it, which is good.
Jess: God, I loved Christian Slater in that stupid movie where he had a baboon heart. This will almost certainly be bad but if it really commits itself to badness it could be the new CSI: Miami. There’s a scene in the promos where Slater walks cooly away from an explosion which just ruffles his hair. It made me want to sing out “YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH.” Too bad this occupies the cursed post-Heroes timeslot, placing it up against the real Caruso. Sorry, my baboon heart belongs to Horatio Caine. So I guess this will be the new Journeyman.
Tanis: Christian Slater could’ve been something. Other than a bum. Which is what he is. He could’ve been like John Cusack, getting top (albeit undeserved) billing in movies and pretending to still be cool and relevent. He could’ve been like Jon Cryer, who sold his soul to the devil for exposure before realizing it was a Monkey’s Paw type deal and the only exposure he would get would be a long-running sitcom with Charlie Sheen. Christian Slater is somewhere in the middle of all that. He’s like Nic Cage. He sometimes makes good movies, but most of the time, he makes crap movies and sometimes, he fucks up his personal life spectacularly. Which explains why this looks like face/off, but without the cheese-tastic “ZOMG! MY FACE! YOU STOLE MY FACE!” plotline.
Kings– After saving the king’s son, an idealistic soldier is welcomed into the world of royalty. (Mid-season replacement)
Salome: Intriguing concept and as a Salomé, I perk up when kings offer things. Plus, they’ve just cast Wes Studi and I’m totally in favor of NDNZ getting more work.
Tanis: I will watch this. I cannot pretend otherwise. It might not be good (high concepts sometimes don’t translate well from mind to mind grape to delicious TV mind juice) but it’ll at least have the decency to be interesting. What I’ve heard and seen reminds me of, say, Michael Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union” meets Max Barry’s “Jennifer Government.” And, you know, Ian McShane is like Christopher Walken. He can be in some baaaaad shit, but I will always forgive him. Always. I mean, Country Bear Jamboree, y’all! It’s amazing that I still watch Walken in anything! Much less love him. But I do. So it goes with Ian McShane. I watched Death Race for him! (See also: Statham, Jason). So I’ll watch this for McShane too. If Al Swearengen says we’ll live like kings, I have to believe that we will live like damn hell ass cocksucking motherfucking ones.
Jess: Kings is a modern retelling of David and Goliath. It sounds incredibly ambitious and incredibly risky. I’d describe it in detail but frankly it kind of confuses me. It’s either going to be awesome (and with my luck cancelled early, leaving me to mailbomb NBC with Bibles) or holy shit awful (in which case I will laugh at the other people sending Bibles). Either way, it stars Ian McShane who is the greatest person, place or thing ever. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Way, the Truth and the Life. One day I dreamed I was walking along the beach with Ian McShane. Many scenes from my life played out in the sky. In all of them I could see footprints, sometimes two sets and sometimes only one. “Why is that in all the worst times of my life, there has been only one set of footprints,” I asked him, “Where were you when I needed you most?” Ian McShane replied, “That’s when I was carrying you, your royal fucking highness.”