Slapping On the Back-End...of TV: 3.32
My how the days seem to fly by. We're maybe three weeks in to Season Premiere Season and already the nets and netlets are slapping the back end. And by that I mean they are ordering the final nine episodes to the 13 they've already made to complete a 22-episode run.
Let's take a look at the winners first. Since they deserve it:
"My Name Is Earl" - NBC gets a half-hour comedy hit, which would be nice if its most other buzzed-about comedy wasn't the much-maligned "Joey". Frankly, the early pickup just makes them look more desperate. But hey, Jason Lee. I'm now voting him as likeliest to succeed in conquering low-budget comedies and catapulting into the ranks of such recent luminaries as Steve Carrell and Will Ferrell.
"Everybody Hates Chris" - Between this and Veronica Mars, is there no longer shame associated with watching UPN? Are we growing up, little weblet? UPN also needs to thank the increasingly-unracist 'people meter' systems being employed for a nice ratings uptick in some urban areas.
"Supernatural"- Okay fine, WB. So Supernatural didn't go down in flames like I expected-- it still might in the course of the season. Since I apparently have no control over how much slack the masses are willing to cut Jensen Ackles, how about pairing it next year with a strong sci-fi companion and building a cool little night out of it? Pair it with, say, Global Frequency?
"Prison Break"- Not quite the ratings suckfest I predicted, so hit-hungry Fox is acting fast.
"Rome"- Yeah, it's not on a network, but I am happy it's assured of a second season. Seriously, you guys, it's like Melrose Place set in ancient Rome-- and since it's on HBO they can show everything. Worth watching and highly recommended.
Getting the ax:
Fox's "Head Cases", WB's "Just Legal" [called it], UPN's "Sex, Love and Secrets" [called it], Fox's "Kitchen Confidential" [hey, it's Will Tippin from Alias. . .tough luck, buddy], and NBC's "Inconceivable". Unannounced but likely to be axed are Fox's "Killer Instinct" and hopefully NBC's atrocious "E-Ring" which I tried to be fair to, but ten minutes in I decided that I would rather eat nails than watch another second.
Looking Likely to Get Slapped for the Back Nine:
David Boreanaz may live down "Angel" with Seeley Booth on Fox's "Bones". Geena Davis will probably get a full season as the President of ABC, er, the United States. Alyson Hannigan looks like she'll be unavailable for a story arc on this season of "Veronica Mars" thanks to the success of "How I Met Your Mother". And "Veronica Mars" fans, don't worry, UPN is set on a full season of the drama and numbers thus far have been reasonably okay. Also- does anyone know if Charisma Carpenter will be wearing fewer clothes than Eva Longoria for the entire season? Because seriously, so far, she's taken off more clothes than she's worn. And let it be known that this is not a criticism in any way. Also, Wallace is easily becoming the best sidekick since at least Willow, and perhaps since Garth.
Jennifer Love Hewitt's jugs have been getting the ratings, but will they hold up "Ghost Whisperer"? Hey, "Stacked" got another season. "Invasion" has been slipping in the post-Lost timeslot after a promising start-- Eddie Cibrian might not be the next Matthew Fox. Whatever the Lost knockoff on NBC is, that one's fading, too, but it could get the back nine from seriously-shouldn't-they-be-more-desperate NBC. "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart", sure, it's down in the ratings cellar, but I guarantee it is one contestant slashing another with a paring knife away from ratings gold. Note to Martha: Use those prison connections, girl.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, ATLAS?
Calm down, friends, calm down. No, that's what it means. Things are calming down, as they usually do, after an innovative, wrenching year, which has started happening about every other year. Last year it was the resurgence of series tv, led by ABC's crop of new hits. A few years before, it was the total destruction of all series television as reality shows hit their over-saturation point. Before that, it was the start of the reality tv craze with "Survivor". And remember the primetime game show craze? TV is highly cyclical, governed by the patterns of the weather and the Nielsens. For now, just enjoy the good and look forward to whatever the next big thing is. Me, I'm just hoping it's not a gameshow resurgence. Regis doesn't need the work.