NYPD BLUE finally wrapped last week after 12 long seasons. While it's always sad to see a quality show go, BLUE was probably several seasons overdue, and at least they went out on their own terms. Besides, for the first time in 12 years, I don't have to worry that haphazard channel surfing will land me smack on Dennis Franz's bare ass.
On a less personal note, it also means ABC has a slot to fill. So how have they chosen to replace a true giant of network television, a show that changed the airwaves and paved the way for the 24s and SHIELDs of the world?
With DAREDEVIL, sans tights.
I exaggerate, of course. BLIND JUSTICE is considerably more dignified than Colin Farrell with a bullseye carved into his forehead, red leather or no red leather. Featuring one-time man-behaving-badly Ron Eldard as a cop returning to field duty months after being blinded by a criminal's bullet, it's a fairly routine cop show, with brief smidges of disbelief suspension in the form of his Daredevil-esque heightened senses, which allow him to do things like smell cordite on the door of a stolen car. It's more grounded than comic-book reality, so no somersaulting from fire escape to fire escape (at least not until sweeps), but it does venture further into territory typically reserved for the four-color crowd than your average primetime cop show. The result is a tone that feels sporadically odd, as if Ben Hawkins from CARNIVALE were to wander into the third act of an ER episode, cure an inoperable brain tumor, and then leave without further remark.
But since Detective Jim Dunbar is the new kid on the block, it's only fair that he face an initiation. So sharpen those ears, Detective, it's time to face your forebears!
Clearly, Dunbar has his work cut out for him.
The Week Rerun
When There's No More Room in the O.C., the Dead Will Walk the Earth - I finally watched an episode of THE O.C., inspired more than a little by the fact that I was already Tivoing the episode to catch the new EPISODE III trailer. And I must say? Quite enjoyed it. Didn't have a clue what was going on with whom, but I followed enough to tell it's a fun show. But I do confess a little disappointment, and I'll tell you why. Everybody always talks about how pop-culture savvy the writers are, sneaking in comics references and whatnot, and I could see that. But the kids spend nearly an entire episode trapped inside a mall...and not one DAWN OF THE DEAD reference? Come on, people, that should have been a given.
I Bet Apollo Could Make the Kessel Run in Less Than Five Parsecs - Speaking of STAR WARS, could somebody explain to me why this past week's BATTLESTAR GALACTICA featured a space-battle sequence more exciting in 20 minutes or so than all the space battles in EPISODES ONE and TWO put together? Actually, I already know the answer, but it involves stringing together the words "George Lucas" and "clinically insane", so I'll just move on...
So what brought you the televisual joy this week? Drop me a line at email@example.com. Keep your head and hands inside the television, folks...
MONDAY, MARCH 14
24 (8 PM CST, Fox) Last week saw the return of Michelle, so we're well on our way to completely reestablishing the cast from previous seasons that was supposedly swept away in the season premiere. Dare we hope for the return of Frequently Naked Assassin Mandy?
LAS VEGAS (8 PM CST, NBC) "One Nation, Under Surveillance." A state senator is blackmailed in the hotel, and Ed suspects Sam may be involved in drug-dealing shenanigans.
EPIC TV: THE TOP TEN MINISERIES OF ALL TIME (8 PM CST, Trio) I can only presume that that execrable John Voight NOAH'S ARK miniseries from a few years back will not make the list.
MEDIUM (9 PM CST, NBC) "The Other Side of the Tracks." Allison meets a professor with a nifty knack for chatting up the living-impaired. Does anybody on this show not have paranormal abilities?
TUESDAY, MARCH 15
PLAYING GOD (7 PM CST, WGN) David Duchovny launches his promising film career. Or so went the plan.
HOUSE (8 PM CST, Fox) "Control." The hospital's new board chairman doesn't approve of House. Quel surprise!
BLIND JUSTICE (9 PM CST, ABC) "Four Feet Under." Is that the funeral home's economy plan?
THE SHIELD (9 PM CST, FX) "The Cure." Aceveda's off running for city council, and his replacement is Glenn Close. (Season Premiere)
DELOREAN (9 PM CST, Trio) The story behind the man behind the car behind BACK TO THE FUTURE.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16
PETER PAN (6 PM CST, Starz) So much better than HOOK.
MINISTRY OF FEAR (7 PM CST, TCM) It's Fritz Lang directing a Graham Greene spy thriller, so you can't go wrong there.
THE WEST WING (8 PM CST, NBC) "Ninety Miles Away." Leo's off to Cuba to talk business with Castro, and I don't mean cigars.
ALIAS (8 PM CST, ABC) "The Road Home." Syd tracks a killing machine; Jack tracks a former protégé; Vaughn tracks his possibly still-alive father.
THURSDAY, MARCH 17
KAENA: THE PROPHECY (6:20 PM CST, Starz) Kirsten Dunst voices a rebellious teen trying to save her dying world in this 2003 animated flick.
THE O.C. (7 PM CST, Fox) "The Blaze of Glory." Marissa and Ryan are friends again, and the possibility that they'll be more again has Alex worried.
POINT PLEASANT (8 PM CST, Fox) "Swimming with Boyd." Let me know when Viggo Mortensen's Lucifer from THE PROPHECY shows up.
ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING (8 PM CST, Oxygen) Say, whatever happened to Elisabeth Shue, anyway?
FRIDAY, MARCH 18
STARGATE SG-1 (7 PM CST, Sci-Fi) "Moebius." Part one of a two-parter that ties back into the original movie as the team travels back in time to recover an artifact from that film's villain, Ra.
MEDICAL INVESTIGATION (8 PM CST, NBC) "Mission La Roca." In part one of two, the team is trapped in a Central American country when an earthquake hits while they're investigating an outbreak.
STARGATE ATLANTIS (8:30 PM CST, Sci-Fi) "The Siege." Geez, everybody's about multi-parters tonight. This is one of three, as Sheppard and Weir prepare to defend Atlantis against an approaching Wraith fleet.
LAW & ORDER: TRIAL BY JURY (9 PM CST, NBC) "Truth or Consequences." Three suspects, including one from a wealthy family, are tried for a rape-murder.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (9:30 PM CST, Sci-Fi) "Colonial Day." President Roslin kickstarts democracy, which leads to a showdown for the veep post between Baltar and Tom Zarek (Richard Hatch).
SATURDAY, MARCH 19
FIGHT CLUB (4:30 PM CST, FX) Nuts, I just broke the first two rules.
ADAM'S RIB (7 PM CST, TCM) Classic 1949 battle of the sexes with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as dueling lawyers who also happen to be married.
SUSPIRIA (7 PM CST, IFC) That's one messed up movie, my friend.
THE RELIC (8 PM CST, Sci-Fi) ALONE IN THE DARK if it had been slightly less crappy.
SUNDAY, MARCH 20
MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (6:30 PM CST, Fox) "Ida Loses a Leg." Francis learns secrets about his childhood while taking care of his one-legged demon of a grandmother.
THE SIMPSONS (7 PM CST, Fox) "Mobile Homer." Marge buys an RV. And we've now come full-circle from "The Call of the Simpsons" way back in the first season when Homer bought an RV.
DRAGONS: A FANTASY MADE REAL (7 PM CST, Animal Planet) A mix of hard science and speculative fantasy in the form of a faux "documentary" chronicling the discovery of the frozen remains of a dragon in Romania.
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (7:30 PM CST, Fox) "Immaculate Election." Gob does double duty this week, filming a video on office magic and helping George-Michael run for school office.
GENGHIS KHAN: RISE OF THE CONQUEROR (8 PM CST, Discovery) Khaaaaaaaaan!!!
SPRING BREAK SHARK ATTACK (8 PM CST, CBS) Shouldn't this be airing on a Saturday night on Sci-Fi?
LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT (8 PM CST, NBC) "Ex Stasis." A murder investigation leads to a case involving organ transplants. Ooh, organ legging!
DEADWOOD (8 PM CST, HBO) "New Money." A mining-company agent's arrival has the town's residents worried about their gold claims. And when Deadwood-ites get worried, folk get themselves shot.
KELSEY GRAMMER PRESENTS: THE SKETCH SHOW (8:30 PM CST, Fox) Last week's premiere was uneven, but had some good moments.
BOSTON LEGAL (9 PM CST, ABC) "Death Be Not Proud." Shelley Long as a businesswoman charged with paying for sex. So that's what happened to Diane...
CARNIVALE (9 PM CST, HBO) "Outside New Canaan." Only two episodes remain, and with all the momentum earned this season, I have no idea how it will end.
This concludes our broadcast.