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Fall TV : Prepare to be scared (david boreanaz mention)

By Mike Duffy

Thursday 14 July 2005, by Webmaster

Six new network series with supernatural, horror or sci-fi themes give the fall season its signature programming trend.

You don’t have to be a psychic to detect a supernatural vibe emanating from the fall TV season. Prime time will be doing the paranormal polka as six new network series with supernatural, horror or sci-fi themes give the fall season its signature programming trend.

One of the creep shows is actually called "Supernatural," a weekly horror tale about two brothers who chase monsters. Another, "Night Stalker" (ABC), is a horror-fueled remake of a 1970s cult thriller.

And three of the otherworldly new series —"Threshold" (CBS), "Invasion" (ABC) and "Fathom" (NBC) —share a similar extraterrestrial fixation. In settings on or near water, alien invasions are launched. So what’s up with the prime-time paranormal psychology? Sounds like everyone’s gotten "Lost."

Precisely. ABC’s breakout, buzz-generating suspense drama about castaways on a very strange South Pacific island is a key inspiration for the new wave of supernatural-ized fall programming. And NBC’s quirky surprise hit "Medium," the stories of a psychic suburban mom who fights crime, may have joined "Lost" as an influence in the supernatural trend.

Heavens to Mulder and Scully, sure looks like "X-Files" style is really back in fashion.

But it’s not all goblins, ghosts, monsters and body snatchers this fall. Here’s a summertime sneak peek at what else is headed our way.

Comic intelligence

It’s way too early to proclaim a prime-time comedy revival. But at least three new network sitcoms — led by Chris Rock’s "Everybody Hates Chris" (UPN) —show promising early signs of being fresh, original and, yes, funny.

Like an inner city twist on "The Wonder Years," Rock’s show has him narrating wickedly irreverent autobiographical tales of his 1980s early teen years. The other two innovative picks to click with high-quality humor are "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS) and "My Name Is Earl" (NBC).

Police blotter

Long ago and far away in another prime-time galaxy, the Western walked tall , dominating time slots all over the dial in the 1950s and ’60s. Now it’s the 21st- century law enforcement version of good guys and bad guys — the crime drama — that populates numerous spots on the network schedule and is led by multiple versions of "CSI" and "Law & Order." Well, the body count is going up this fall when four new crime procedurals join the holdovers.

CBS is the highly successful chief offender, with grim, well-made newcomers "Criminal Minds" and "Close to Home" (previously titled "American Crime") giving the network nine crime dramas on six nights. And that doesn’t include CBS’ two hours of "Crime Time" reruns on Saturday nights.

Alphabet soup

ABC hit the comeback trifecta last season with "Desperate Housewives," "Lost" and "Grey’s Anatomy," a trio of hot dramas that put a happy spell on viewers. But a first look at ABC’s new fall series pilots doesn’t immediately reveal a new sensation like "Housewives" or "Lost."

At least "Commander-in-Chief," starring Geena Davis as the first female occupant of the Oval Office, puts an interesting estrogen zing into the "West Wing" style of political drama. Given ABC’s recent track record with drama, don’t bet against President Geena.

Peacock schlock

The former home of "must-see TV" stumbled badly last season, falling into fourth place in the ratings nationally while such forgettable new series as "Father of the Pride," "LAX" and "Hawaii" flopped. And then there was the disappointing thud of "Friends" spin-off "Joey," which was renewed despite its lame showing.

NBC’s new fall series are a mixed bag. But the sharp, maverick lunacy of "My Name Is Earl" — starring Jason Lee ("Chasing Amy") as a cockeyed loser determined to make amends for all his seedy deeds — could evolve into NBC’s most original, laugh-out-loud comedy since "Seinfeld."

Eye on the prize

CBS is No. 1, going strong and a sure bet — thanks to "Survivor," "Two and a Half Men" and the "CSI" factor — to remain leader of the network pack next season. Cool newcomer? The delightfully dizzy romantic comedy "How I Met Your Mother."

It unfolds in witty flashbacks and features sharp writing and a nifty ensemble cast that includes Josh Radnor, Alyson Hannigan ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), Jason Segel ("Freaks and Geeks") and Neil Patrick Harris ("Doogie Howser, M.D.").

Sly like a fox

Last season, Fox found a cure for its drama development ills with "House," an offbeat medical mystery built around a sour, cantankerously brilliant doctor. Now Fox is back with a trio of quirky, mystery-laced dramas that may also have potential.

"Prison Break" follows the strange, compelling story of a law-abiding engineer who gets himself tossed in prison just so he can help his unjustly convicted death row inmate brother break out. "Reunion" explores the lives of six friends across two decades, each episode covering one year, echoing the "24" hour-by-hour storytelling style.

But the most likely hit is "Bones," which receives a huge ratings booster rocket when lead-in "American Idol" arrives in January. "Bones" is about a forensic anthropologist (Emily Deschanel, "Cold Mountain") reluctantly teamed with an FBI agent (David Boreanaz, "Angel") as a sleuthing odd couple.

Underdog surprise

Last season — with "Veronica Mars" and "Kevin Hill" — UPN finally started to shake off its loser image as a cheesy outlet for pro wrestling, lame comedy and tired "Star Trek" shows. Though "Kevin Hill" never fulfilled the promise of its early episodes and was canceled, UPN isn’t backing away from high quality.

And it boldly sends its best rookie — Rock’s "Everybody Hates Chris" — into the Thursday night fights at 7 p.m. against "Survivor," "Joey," "The O.C." and the newly moved "Smallville" and "Alias." That may seem like a suicide mission. But "Everybody Hates Chris" has the look of a funny, feel-good winner.

Doogie Howser, J.D.?

WB is betting on the creepy allure of "Supernatural" to grab its core audience of young men and women. But "Just Legal," an unconventional, lighthearted court-room drama, might find an audience as well. It’s a simultaneously promising and perplexing show. Promising because young Jay Baruchel ("Undeclared") is so darn appealing as a 19-year-old legal prodigy with a juris doctor degree.

And perplexing because Don Johnson ("Nash Bridges") isn’t always the best fit as a cynical, burned-out trial lawyer who becomes the whiz kid’s unlikely partner. Sonny Crockett, attorney at law? Hmmm.

1 Message

  • I already saw the first episode of Bones and it was great, really great. Hope it stays that way for a very long three years.David Boreanaz will keep all his old fans returning time and again.