TV Bites With
The New TV Season: Everything Old is New Again
by Neena Louise
While reviewing the upcoming shows for the new television season, a
saying kept running through my mind: "Everything old is new
again." Networks seem to be reverting, not only to tried-and-true
formulae, but tried-and-true stars: John Ritter, Bonnie Hunt, Carol
Kane, Treat Williams, Forest Whitaker, David Morse, Gary Cole, etc.,
etc., are all coming to television during the upcoming season in formats
that have been very successful in the past. The people behind aging
shows like Drew Carey, ER, The Practice and Buffy
the Vampire Slayer, all claim they will be getting back to their
original premises and ditch the lame gimmicks and silly plot lines used
last season in a futile attempt to boost ratings. It all has me very
intrigued, and I'm eager to see if it will work.
Last season's beginning was rife with cops & robbers, jiggle &
bounce - stultifyingly dull and made more so when the new shows vanished
with astonishing speed and the old shows just got older. There are, of
course, new cops & robbers shows (Boomtown, Miami Heat,
Fastlane) and jiggle & bounce (Birds of Prey, girls
club) in the upcoming season, but the emphasis seems to be on
sitcoms and dramas with fresh premises such as American Dreams, Push,
Nevada and John Doe. For the first time in many, many years,
I'm looking forward to the new fall season for reasons other than being
tired of Rerun Hell.
But I can't help but wonder: why did the networks suddenly get a clue?
Is it because they've been relying on reality TV and endless Sept. 11
exploitation for their ratings (then watching them slide)? Are they
actually listening to viewers (yeah, right)? Are they desperate? Or is
it just that Powers That Be got tired of watching audiences dwindle and
analyzed to what has worked - and what hasn't - in the past? I find that
hard to believe. If the past few seasons are any indication, their
stupidity has become pathological.
The new season has barely begun, but the new shows, so far, are fresh
(well, warmed-over, anyway) and fun. Time will tell if it will last.
Let's hope the networks stick with their new-found intelligence and
don't repeat their past mistakes (such as canceling a show before it has
a chance to find an audience and shuffling time slots around and
around). If they don't, I suspect the upcoming season could be the most
successful in a long, long time.
would love to know what you think, sound off on the
boards and let us know what you think!