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Ready or Not, Here It Comes: TV's Pseudo-Second Season
January 2, 2008  | By David Bianculli
Because of the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, here are a few things we won't be seeing this month that we otherwise would have: the start of a new season of 24 on Fox, the beginning of a second story arc on NBC's Heroes, and two or three months' worth of fresh episodes of most everything else, including such freshman standouts as ABC's Pushing Daisies.

ILaw and Ordernstead, we're getting the likes of NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent, episodes shown last fall on cable. But if you didn't watch them when USA Network first televised them - well, then, to echo NBC's sorry old slogan, they're new to you.

Okay, that comparison's a little harsh. What would have been the second season, effectively beginning tonight, is diluted significantly, but it's not bone dry. Yes, the return this evening of ABC's Wife Swap and Supernanny is cause for more grief than joy, but new episodes of Power of 10 on CBS (8 p.m. ET), with Drew Carey as host, are a pleasant enough diversion, and the season start of NBC's Law & Order, against weak competition, is welcome. Add to that the start of the PBS series Pioneers of Television, and the first-night picture isn't entirely bleak.

To be optimistic for a moment - and a moment is about all I can muster - there are some January prime-time TV offerings still worth anticipating eagerly. HBO's The Wire, which returns Sunday night at 9 ET, is the highlight of the entire month. PBS is devoting the season of Masterpiece Theatre to The Complete Jane Austen. NBC has a lot of episodes stored up of Friday Night Lights, CBS is taking The New Adventures of Old Christine off the shelf, and Fox has another go-round of American Idol.

Those are some of the highlights. But the lights will get dimmer elsewhere, and the inevitable proliferation of nonscripted shows - including the heinous-sounding Fox series Moment of Truth, in which contestants are strapped to lie detectors and asked potentially mortifying personal questions - should sap the spirit as it erodes the broadcast TV audience.

Strap me up to the electrodes and ask me: Am I looking forward to this pseudo-second season? My Moment of Truth says no. I'll do what I can to find and enjoy the best stuff out there - but launching a website called TV WORTH WATCHING, the same day the writers go on strike, now strikes me as a laughably ill-timed coincidence.




Omer Tomlinson said:

HBO is offering "The Wire" episodes the Monday preceding it's first live airing. I watched the season premiere yesterday....a very dense but pleasurable episode. All the familiar characters are back with a few surprises. Poor McNulty has returned to his old vices. The Mayor is fighting budget and hubris problems. Clark Johnson (without the porkpie hat from "Homicide--Life on the Streets) makes an incredibly interesting city editor for the Baltimore Sun. I plan to watch it again Sunday night just to catch what I missed the first time. By the way, I always turn the closed captioning on so I can follow what Snoop and her peers are truly saying. Best show on TV, by far.

Comment posted on January 2, 2008 7:49 AM

stefanie said:

The Wire would be the season highlight even without a strike. (Who am I kidding, it has been the highlight of my life any time I watched a season). I've gotten so passionate about it, I find myself having little patience for people who haven't seen it yet, and subsequently they have little patience for me, as I spend most of any ensuing conversation convincing them to stop everything and immediately add season one to their netflix queue. Anyway, for once, the bizarre scheduling habits of HBO has given us a life raft for the bleak months ahead. That said, thank you for this website. Television has never been better. If you happen to keep up with the gems, (it takes some hunting but there are several) well then, you can find some of the best writing and acting around.

Comment posted on January 3, 2008 6:55 PM

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