|Monday, October 30, 2000||
Volume 66, Issue 50
season line-up offers both hits and misses
By Kunal Mishra
The fall television season brings together the old and the new. Veteran shows partner with or compete against the brand-new crop, with many of them not making it to the end of the season. Here's a review of what's in store this year ...
That's Life (Saturday, 8 p.m., CBS, starring Heather Paige Kent, Ellen Burstyn)
After the demise of last season's Stark Raving Mad, Kent plays a hard-working Italian-American bartender from New Jersey who wants to start college at the age of 32. Her family and friends are colorful, but her classmates and professors are stock characters. I am skeptical about this show having enough steam to continue past the first season. B-
Deadline (Monday, 9 p.m., NBC, starring Oliver Platt, Hope Davis, Bebe Neuwirth)
Deadline takes a journalistic angle toward law enforcement issues. Wallace Benton (Platt) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist who uses any means necessary to get the information he needs. The premiere wasn't anything original, but the sharp cast will make Deadline a keeper. B
The Trouble With Normal (Friday, 7:30 p.m., ABC, starring Paget Brewster, Larry Joe Campbell, Jon Cryer)
Gone are the days of ABC's TGIF shows. The newest member of the Friday line-up is now is The Trouble With Normal. The show centers around a therapist (Brewster) who develops a kinship with four paranoid males. The show is dry due to the lack of quality punchlines. C
Madigan Men (Friday, 8:30 p.m., ABC, starring Gabriel Byrne, Roy Dotrice, John C. Hensley)
Three generations live together in the same New York apartment. The father Seamus (Dotrice), the son Ben (Byrne), and the grandson Luke (Hensley) learn a thing or two from each other.
The premiere is basically about the three of them getting used to their situation. This show is a much better choice than The Trouble With Normal for Friday nights. A-
Ed (Sunday, 8 p.m., NBC, starring Tom Cavanagh, Julie Bowen)
Produced by the same people who bring you The Late Show with David Letterman , this highly touted show doesn't disappoint. While it is the feel-good newcomer of the season, it's not drenched with mushiness.
Part of this has to do with lead actor Tom Cavanagh. He steers the title character in the right direction. Ed is a New York attorney who returns to his hometown of Stuckeyville after getting fired from his job and catching his wife with another man. He decides to pursue his high school crush Carol (Bowen). A
The Geena Davis Show (Tuesday, 8:30 p.m., ABC, starring Geena Davis, Peter Horton, John Francis Daley)
Davis has taken a break from Hollywood for the small screen. She plays Teddie, who is engaged to a widower (Horton) with two kids. The challenge for her is adapting to family life. The dilemmas appear to be resolved in the first episode.
The pending question is whether this show can broaden its scope. A good addition to this show is John Francis Daley. He outperformed everybody else in last year's canned Freaks & Geeks. B
Welcome To New York (Wednesday, 8:30 p.m., CBS, starring Jim Gaffigan, Christine Baranski, Sara Gilbert)
A Midwestern weatherman (Gaffigan) is hired to work on a morning show in the Big Apple. He has to deal with a group of neurotic co-workers who are constantly baffling him.
With the exception of Gaffigan and his fish-out-of-water character, the cast appears to be in a state of awkwardness with their roles. The lack of chemistry can only hurt the show's chances against other office-themed sitcoms. C+
Boston Public (Monday, 7 p.m., FOX, starring Chi McBride, Nicky Kat)
Boston Public is from television wizard David E. Kelley. This is not a step in the right direction for Kelley. The dysfunctional high school theme has been saturated on the big screen. The series premiere seemed like a rehash of certain films. Kelley needs to go back to the drawing board for something more inspirational. B-
The Michael Richards Show (Tuesday, 7 p.m., NBC, starring Michael Richards, Tim Meadows)
Richards is a Krameresque private detective named Vic Nardozza in his self-titled show. His new incarnation, set in the West Coast, fills a void left by the finale of Seinfeld.
I have no problem with a Kramer clone in a different environment. Nardozza's staff at the detective agency can't hold a candle to Richards' character; the title of the show reveals the true reason to watch it. I am expecting Meadows' role to be further enhanced. B+
Cursed (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., NBC, starring Steven Weber, Chris Elliot, Amy Pietz)
This is Weber's big breakthrough after the hit series Wings. His former co-star Tim Daly is being pursued by the law in The Fugitive, while Weber's Jack Nagle is haunted by a curse in this new sitcom.
After breaking up with his longtime on-again-off-again girlfriend (Pietz),
Nagle agrees to a blind date from hell. The woman ends up placing a lifelong
Greek curse on him. While Cursed relies on the slapstick, the premiere
was not completely dominated by bad luck physical humor. B-
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