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precarious since 1997 | by maryann johanson

fall TV preview for geeks

Here’s something you don’t hear folks say a lot: I don’t get to watch as much TV as I’d like. Most evenings I’m out at film screenings, and there’s only so much you can TiVo before you give up on ever watching everything (and they’ve yet to come up with a DVR with infinite storage capacity). Even though most TV is complete crap, there’s still more than enough good stuff on the air that it’s not really possible to watch it all unless you make a job of it. I’m not quite ready to do that yet.

So I gotta focus with a laser on what I know I’ve got the best chance of enjoying the most. For me, as a geek, it’s science fiction and fantasy, and boy, there’s a bunch of it coming to the networks’ fall schedule. Forget sitcoms (do people really watch these? this continues to be a great mystery to me). Never mind reality shows (they’re just newfangled game shows). Drama are where primetime TV is at. When TV is at its very best, it’s with the hour-long drama.
Nothing on the roster of new shows that isn’t SF/F intrigues me in the least. There’s crap about women (Gossip Girl, Women’s Murder Club), crap about men (Life, Big Shots), and soap operas (Dirty Sexy Money, Cane), which is crap about everyone. And all the SF/F is likely to be crap, too: I blame the success of everything from Buffy to Six Feet Under to Battlestar Galatica, and now everyone’s jumping on the geek bandwagon. (It’s too soon for the Xerox copies of last year’s hits to show up, but watch for, in Fall 2008, pale imitations of Heroes and Doctor Who.)

But here’s what I’ve got my eye on this season anyway, with fingers crossed that I’m wrong about most of them:

MOST LIKELY TO BE CANCELED AFTER TWO EPISODES:
Pushing Daisies (ABC): Guy with the power to bring the dead back to life resurrects his deceased girlfriend, only now he can never touch her again, lest she die for good. Whatever.

MOST LIKELY TO BE CANCELED AFTER FOUR EPISODES:
Reaper (CW): Slacker gets a new job: bounty hunter for the devil. This one will last a bit longer only because the CW has less stuff it can throw up on the schedule to fill an empty slot.

MOST LIKELY TO MAKE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS SWOON:
Moonlight (CBS): Cute, do-gooding vampire — oh, is there any other kind? *sigh* — is on the prowl for romance. Turn-ons: Hickeys, blood. Turn-offs: Daylight.

MOST LIKELY TO MAKE ME CRY AND GO RUNNING TO FINALLY BUY A REGION-FREE DVD PLAYER:
Viva Laughlin (CBS): It’s the season’s inevitable crime drama/musical (making it just nominally a fantasy), but here’s why it makes me sad: It’s a redo of the British series Viva Blackpool, starring my boyfriend David “Doctor Who” Tennant, and American TV has an abysmal record of migrating Brit shows across the pond. (Cracker, anyone? Brit version: gripping and fan-freakin’-tastic. American version: *shudder*)

MOST LIKELY TO TOTALLY PISS ME OFF:
Journeyman (NBC): Guy starts traveling through time for no apparent reason, and runs into trouble when he meets, in the past, his former fiancée. His present-time spouse is less than happy about this development. This is so ripped off from the bestselling novel The Time Traveler’s Wife. Oh, and Quantum Leap.

MOST LIKELY TO KEEP ME WATCHING FOR AN ENTIRE SEASON:
Bionic Woman (NBC): Here’s chick doing cool stuff, like saving the world and stuff, plus she’s a cyborg. This is from some of the Battlestar Galactica people, which fills me with great hope.

Mostly, though, I’m looking forward to the return of Heroes and Lost. And to trying not to contemplate how they’ll be ripped off next year.

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