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She’s got ’em on the list: some renewed, others dissed (boreanaz & davalos mention)

Kay McFadden

Monday 12 December 2005, by Webmaster

To paraphrase Ko-Ko the Lord High Executioner, I’ve got a little list of shows that never would be missed - and others here to stay.

With midseason nigh, it’s time for an update on how the new fall shows have fared, from hits to flops.

The tally below is compiled in top-down order of ratings.* Each entry includes the series’ status and a brief overview, with copious apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan.

1. "Commander in Chief" (picked up). That singular anomaly, the lady president, was truly heaven-sent. ABC’s only challenge is to add male-viewer appeal to a show that skews very female; enter veteran producer Steven ("Over There," "NYPD Blue") Bochco.

2. "Criminal Minds" (picked up). As some day it must happen that a victim must be found - or at least one every night on TV - CBS has shown an uncanny ability to constantly reinvent the police procedural with distinctly different casts and atmosphere.

3. "My Name is Earl" (picked up). Who says the funny fellows, comic men and clowns of private life never would be missed? The sitcom roared back, and an emboldened NBC is moving "Earl" to 9 p.m. Thursdays, accompanied by "The Office" at 9:30. Let’s hope "Earl" doesn’t wind up on rival "CSI’s" dissection table.

4. "Out of Practice" (going on hiatus). Then again, maybe W.S. Gilbert was right. This wheezy, dyspeptic comedy owed its high ratings mostly to lead-in "Two and A Half Men." CBS will bump it in January to try out a new Jenna Elfman show in the same slot.

5. "Ghost Whisperer" (picked up). Jennifer Love Hewitt can’t act and it doesn’t matter.

6. "Invasion" (picked up). Anyone who goes missing on "Invasion" becomes a story line. This pricey series still needs a bigger audience for its aliens-in-our-midst premise. Hey ABC, how about moving it away from "Lost" and over to Mondays once football is done?

7. "How I Met Your Mother" (picked up). Of society offenders who might well be underground, none is funnier than Neil Patrick Harris’ integrity-challenged hound.

8. "Close to Home" (picked up). The nisi prius nuisance just now is rather rife; TV has too many law shows. But CBS smartly moved this female-starring legal thriller from Tuesdays to an audience-compatible slot after "Ghost Whisperer."

9. "Surface" (picked up). When I wrote "Surface" was sinking, an angry producer let me know it was doing fine in the ratings. So no aquatic metaphors pertaining to creativity here - let’s just say "Surface" is a good pairing with the lukewarm "Las Vegas."

10. "E-Ring" (picked up). After suffering from lead-in "Martha Stewart: The Apprentice," producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s well-done "E-Ring" moved to an opening slot at 8 Wednesdays - and it’s beginning to catch on. Good news for NBC.

11. "Prison Break" (picked up). Fox continues to wrestle with its let’s-revise-the-schedule-every-three-months plan. The terrific "Prison Break" will return in March while "24" arrives in January; I wonder if Kiefer Sutherland will look as good as Wentworth Miller.

12. "Freddie" (picked up). Why? I mean, he’s a nice guy in real life, but why?

13. "Threshold" (canceled). Despite a sci-fi boom, the speculative type didn’t do as well (see "Invasion"). "Threshold" also fell on the promise of its dandy pilot. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, I deserve to have my eardrums split by alien software.

14. "Three Wishes" (on the bubble). OK, here’s something on my little list: tear-jerking magical transformation shows backed by product placements. But I can see why that would appeal to advertiser-challenged NBC.

15. "The War at Home" (picked up). Fox has turned Sunday night into a nonstop battle between parents and their wise-ass kids - and in this age of over-coddled offspring, that’s a relief.

16. "Bones" (picked up). Judging by e-mail, there’s a little list with my name and the warning: Thou shalt not criticize David Boreanaz. I still don’t like this sour forensic drama and doubt "Bones"" will do much better when it’s moved to Thursday nights next month as part of Fox’s revamping.

17. "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" (canceled). So many ifs. If the show hadn’t been a direct imitation of the Donald Trump version. If the Donald Trump version wasn’t already sagging. If Martha had been a pizzazz-y, nighttime kind of star.

18. "Everybody Hates Chris" (picked up). This little UPN success story has become cozy rather than hilarious. I love the cast, but the writing lately is soft instead of sharp; it needs more Rock and a bit less Chris.

19. "Hot Properties" (canceled). This trashy riff on "Sex and the City" returns us to our theme: And the real-estate executive who dresses like a slut / And who never holds an open house, then coyly adds a "But."

20. "Inconceivable" (canceled). I barely remember what this show was about.

21. "Night Stalker" (canceled) and 22. "Supernatural" (picked up). Why the two different outcomes for shows ranked so close and both about horror? Ratings and taste are relative. ABC had major-network expectations that the poorly done "Night Stalker" failed to reach; a better "Supernatural" exceeded The WB’s modest ambitions for it.

23. "Killer Instinct" (canceled). A lurid police thriller set in San Francisco couldn’t find an at-home audience; maybe deviant crime fans are out on Friday nights.

24. "Kitchen Confidential" (canceled). A fictional version of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain just couldn’t match the real one.

25. "Reunion" (canceled). The one about six college friends and a murder. And believe me, they’ll none of them be missed.

Also canceled: "Sex, Love and Secrets," "Head Cases," "Just Legal." Still around, albeit not in the Top 25: "Twins," "Love Inc." and "Related," a WB family show that deserves a look-see.

1 Message

  • What a jackass! First, Bones is moving to Wednesday nights (unless something has changed and I missed it) and the show is anything but sour. I think perhaps the writer is the sour one. Bones is great! And David Boreanaz is the biggest part of the reason it is great. I do like the rest of the cast, though I think the writers are not doing such a great job on Tempe at times, making her all but obtuse. How can you write fiction best-sellers and be unaware of so many culturally significant things?