Summer 2008 TV Lineup
Muses and Rants from The Movie Mind
With the summer finally upon us it is time to examine the new crap- I mean, crop, of television shows. Surely television big-wigs have learned something from the writers’ strike and cannot keep making the same mistakes, can they? They sure can, just as sure as we will stay inside all summer, get fatter, and watch the degradation of American society one half-hour of cable TV at a time. With a confirmed racist back for another new season (Dog The Bounty Hunter) and a convicted murderer’s show still on reruns (Nick Hogan from Hogan Knows Best), it is clear that television has stooped to an all-time low. Nonetheless, The Movie Mind will make a veiled attempt at sorting through the nonsense to provide you with a few insights on the best mind-numbing entertainment in the bunch:
- Denise Richards: It’s Complicated [Premiered 5/26/08 on E!] Actually, I can’t think of a less complicated person or show. I’ll tune in the moment they advertise the episode where Neve Campbell guest stars, entitled: Denise Richards: It Couldn’t Be Less Complicated Why I have a Career.
- Living Lohan [Premiered 5/26/08 on E!] Could E! seriously try and find a less relevant family to focus on? You couldn’t pay me to watch one second of this. Somehow, Lindsay Lohan managed to turn watching train-wrecks into a big giant borefest. Looks like E!’s plans for the summer are to do nothing whatsoever of any interest. I am blocking the channel from my remote.
- The Moment of Truth [Premiered 5/27/08 on Fox] I’ve never felt so disgraced watching a TV show in my life. More than that, it wasn’t even a guilty pleasure, or any other kind of pleasure. This to me is the most boring, uneventful, piece of garbage I have ever seen. There are so many mindless shows out there that are quasi-entertaining. Please tell me where the suspense is when people answer questions hooked up to a fake lie-detector that they have answered already! Why don’t they change the show to: How Many Embarrassments Are You Willing to Release for Money? It would get the point a lot quicker.
- Million Dollar Password [Premiered 6/3/08 on CBS] Finally, a game-show that gets it. Regis Philbin shows Bob Barker-like longevity and gets reincarnated with a spinoff of its 80’s classic predecessor. It’s a fast-paced show that you can actually play along with and you don’t have to listen to Howie Mandell drag out every decision for 10-minutes on Pick-a-Number. Plus, watching Doogie Howser squirm at an ill-timed gay-joke by Philbin is priceless.
- 30 Days [Premiered 6/2/08 on Spike] McDonald’s-man Morgan Spurlock is back to spend 30 days in crappy situations for our viewing pleasure. The show might be more entertaining if we didn’t have to deal with his monotonous voice-overs and lame gigs. Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe is a more concise version of this show with better humor to boot.
- Ice Road Truckers [Premiered 6/8/08 on History] The History Channel continues its huge push to become a player with another smash-hit in Ice Road Truckers. While this season takes the stars of season one and throws them into a new route over the frozen Atlantic Ocean, the same fun and suspense will be there. It does appear to be a bit more staged, but with more action and frozen miles, it has never been more appealing to be Large Marge from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.
- America’s Got Talent [Premiered 6/17/08 on NBC] Could also be titled: America’s Got a Lack of Talent, but hey, isn’t that the fun part of watching? There are some acts that manage to be entertaining, but if I am going to watch a competition for the next freak-show act in Vegas, why wouldn’t I just go to Vegas?
- Black Gold [Premiered 6/18/08 on TruTV] Besides having no clue where to find “TruTV” on the channel-guide, I will make be making a concerted effort to watch the latest version of “Find a dangerous/deadly profession and the nuts that do it and feature them in a show”. This time, it’s a life-sized version of Armageddon as the Texas-twangs dig deep for oil and riches.
- The Two Coreys [Premiered 6/22/08 on A&E] I chastise myself every time I tune in to this disaster. Corey Haim still manages to display his lack of acting talent even when playing a shell of himself. These two-guys are not just another tale of the perils of Hollywood youth…they are the template.
- Wipeout [Premiered 6/24/08 on ABC] I am declaring this the best new show on TV (for those of us who can’t stop laughing at other people’s stupidity and resulting pain from said stupidity). A supersized version of the old 2am Japanese import formerly on Spike, MXC, it takes the painful falls and degrading obstacles to a whole new level. While it misses out on the dubbed Japanese announcers’ hilarity (remember Kenny Blankenship??), it more than makes up for it with a higher risk level, and ultimately much more pain for our viewing enjoyment.
- Celebrity Family Feud [Premiered 7/1/08 on NBC] Al Roker (aka Alien) hosts this celebrity take on the show long overdue to be put out to pasture, thus proving the only sure thing in television today: we will watch anything with “Celebrity” attached to the name. [See: Celebrity Apprentice, Celebrity Rehab, etc.]
- Baldwin Hills [Premiers 7/10/08 on BET] What is it about spoiled, obnoxious, socialites that requires there are at least 10 shows to document them at all times? At least this show proves that there is no color-barrier when it comes to over-indulgent rich snobs who have nothing going for them other than their family’s money. Wait…or is that The Real Housewives?
- Greatest American Dog [Premiers 7/10/08 on CBS] This show defines what is wrong with American society. We have officially used up every lame, pathetic excuse for reality TV and had to resort to forcing our pets to have as little shame as we do.
- Flashpoint [Premiers 7/11/08 on CBS] Toronto’s version of our SWAT team will undergo a variety of disastrous situations and should hopefully become a welcome relief from reality nonsense with some high-impact shooting and violence.
- I Love Money [Premiers 7/13/08 on VH1] Finally a show that decided to drop the appearance of being a “reality competition” and calls it what it is: a group of worthless money-grubbers losing any shred of dignity for a chance at some cash. Smells like a refreshing waft of honesty for once.
- Project Runway [Premiers 7/16/08 on Bravo] I confess…I got hooked. While I will claim “my wife made me watch” until the day I die, it is uncertain how a change in locale (show moves to L.A. for half the season), networks (moving to Lifetime next season), and characters (no more Mr.-or really, “Ms.” Fierce Tranny Mess) will affect this edition.
- Jingles [Premiers 7/27/07 on CBS] Survivor creator Mark Burnett is back with what is sure to be his most annoying reality show yet, where contestants create catchy ad-jingles each week for a bevy of products. As if our minds needed more repetition to be “stuck on Band-Aid brand” or “wish we were an Oscar Meyer wiener”.
Shows I am actually looking forward to their return:
- Prison Break [Premiers 9/17/08 on Fox] I somehow got hooked into this one early and can’t get out. This season I assume they will break out of jail, then go back in, then attempt to break out again, all the while managing to mysteriously keep me surprised and intrigued.
- Kitchen Nightmares [Premiers 9/19/08 on Fox] Token obnoxious Britt Gordon Ramsey is back and still manages to entertain while treating others like a 5th-grader who won’t shut up in class. Can’t get enough of it!
- Shark [Premiers 9/23/08 on CBS] Pretty good lawyer/crime drama with the smart-ass Jimmy Woods playing the part perfectly.
- The Simpsons [Premiers 9/23/08 on Fox] This show may go on forever and keeps getting smarter and funnier the whole time.
- The Office [Premiers 9/27/08 on NBC] Still the best running comedy on TV. Period.
- Numb3rs [Premiers 9/28/08 on CBS] Clever crime drama combining the talents of super-agents and uber-nerds.
- Rescue Me [Premier uncertain on FX] Best drama on TV should hopefully return sometime in the spring of ‘09 after an absence that was way too long. Lucky for us FX is airing 10 five-minute mini-episodes to keep our attention piqued. Maybe they should have ordered more of those to keep Tatum O’Neill busy enough to stay off the crack.
- Entourage [Tentative Premier 9/28/08 on HBO] Unfortunately got put off until the fall of ’08 due to the writers’ strike. Here’s to hoping they are not trying to get too clever and go back to the boys living the dream life.