NBC might actually have some interesting new shows this fall. Operative word there being "might." Because critics haven't seen them yet. During the network's two fall-preview days closing out this summer's Television Critics Association press tour, we did see:
A Scene It?-styled DVD game built around clips from The Office. A two-sided Heroes bobblehead doll with present-day Hiro on the front of its head and future Hiro on the back. A Battlestar Galactica toaster that imprints Cylon centurion helmets on your white bread. ("Toaster." Slang for Cylons. Get it?)
Oh, please, no. Don't call Fox's exciting new fall drama Fringe that scary word. You know -- the word that sends so many otherwise open-minded viewers racing for the remote.
The G word. The SF word. The F word. (No, not that F word.)
Yes -- as J.J. Abrams (Lost) and other Fringe producers admitted Monday in headlining the Fox portion of this summer's Television Critics Association press tour -- their new show is about speculative science getting out of control thanks to wanton corporate experimentation. Dead people talk, and lovers' brainwaves merge, and all sorts of other not-quite-reality is laid out amid shadowy conspiracies and kick-ass action.
Hit the reboot button. That's what ABC is doing this fall, working harder to rejigger returning scripted shows than to introduce new ones. Thanks to the winter's coma-inducing writers strike, network suits with good reason fear that we barely remember last fall's truncated newbies, like Dirty Sexy Money, or even midseason arrivals like Eli Stone. Or that when we do, we're not so gung-ho to revisit whatever vague recollections linger in brain cells since lashed by the likes of Wipeout.
So during ABC's two days this week at the Television Critics Association's L.A. fall-preview press tour, the network presented only one new scripted series -- a New York-ization of the '70s cops in the witty British drama fave Life on Mars. Instead, ABC's promotional and creative efforts this strike-slapped season will shift away from launching fresh/untested titles and toward nurturing familiar/underachieving shows to reach their full potential.
Even if you looooved Beverly Hills 90210, do you really want to see a remake/spinoff/continuation? Even if it has Shannen and Tori in it? Especially if it has Shannen and Tori in it?
And though tons of viewers now loooove Gossip Girl, do we really need a new ditto show about spoiled rich kids in fab fashions getting all angst-y, only this time in sunny Palm Beach, Florida?