These are perilous times in the Wasteland, my friends! The new season has brought strange tidings and mysterious omens. A good show on UPN that isn't BUFFY (see VERONICA MARS, below)! Several outstanding shows on ABC, and the network hasn't cancelled any of them so far! There are even, God help us, promising rumors about the direction ENTERPRISE is planned to take this season.
It's a lot to sift through. Quite frankly, the entire thing makes me want to go and have a nice lie down. But no time for that now. I'll be your new guide through the TV Wasteland, navigating between oasises of quality programming, entertaining fluff, and outright crap, depending on how much space I need to fill on any given day.
Please keep your head and hands inside the television at all times.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 18
FEAR FACTOR (7 PM CST, NBC) Tonight's ep includes a dare wherein contestants are strapped to a rotating wheel that's half-submerged in water. Not only will some be eliminated; we'll also find out if any of them is a witch.
UFOS: THEN AND NOW (7 PM CST, History Channel) Examining attempts to contact alien life. You know, if it wasn't for Nazis and aliens, the History Channel would lose a good third of its programming lineup.
LAS VEGAS (8 PM CST, NBC) "Games People Play" Since it can't all be bookies and hookers, tonight's episode sees a video game convention plagued by illegal copying. Curse you, copyright violators! Your illegal shenanigans will ruin Vegas for the rest of us!
FARSCAPE: THE PEACEKEEPER WARS (6 PM and 8 PM CST, Sci Fi) If you missed last night's part one of this two-part miniseries, it repeats tonight. In part two, the impending birth of Crichton and Aeryn's child sends John in search of the Ancients for help.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (7 PM CST, Fox) Michael has a one-night stand with a blind lawyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), but doesn't realize she's blind until after they've slept together. Part of a two-hour block, so catch up before the new season premieres on November 7th.
THE BIGGEST LOSER (7 PM CST, NBC) Only in America could weight loss become a competitive sport. At any rate, a bunch of overweight folks diet for a prize of $250,000. But really, shouldn't you be watching ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT? Of course you
VERONICA MARS (8 PM CST, UPN) "The Wrath of Con" Veronica helps a classmate who gets swindled by a variation on the Nigerian email scheme. Nancy Drew and Buffy the Vampire Slayer comparisons aside, holy cow is this show better than it has any right to be. And on UPN, no less!
SCRUBS (8:30 PM CST, NBC) "My Common Enemy" J.D.'s jealous of Elliot's affair with his visiting brother; Cox and Kelso conspire against Molly, who's just too damn cheerful. This show still consistently brings the funny, plus now fortified with Heather Graham.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20
LOST (7 PM CST, ABC) "White Rabbit" Leadership fears plague Jack, who's also tested by recollections of a troubled youth and exacting parents. Me personally? I'd be more worried about the big, unseen flesh-eating monster in jungle. But that's just me.
SMALLVILLE (7 PM CST, WB) "Run" Clark
PROOF POSITIVE: EVIDENCE OF THE PARANORMAL (7 PM CST, Sci Fi) This new reality show in the vein of the Nimoy-hosted IN SEARCH OF offers three stories each ep, only one of which is "true." Tonight, we've got a man who claims to be an abductee, a haunted firehouse, and CIA testing of psychic powers.
THE WEST WING (8 PM CST, NBC) Season premiere: "NSF Thurmont". With Palestinian leaders surrounded in their compound, Israel is willing to sit down with the US and moderate Palestinians to discuss a peaceful solution to the latest outbreak of fighting. Surprising everyone, however, the Palestinians publicly thank the US for inviting them to the negotiation table. Also, Donna (Janel Moloney) is rushed into surgery for a pulmonary embolism.
GHOST HUNTERS (8PM CST, Sci Fi) The surprisingly fun adventures of a group of amateur ghost hunters. This week, they investigate a supposedly haunted Connecticuit restaurant and bar.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21
LIFE AS WE KNOW IT (8 PM CST, ABC) "The Best Laid Plans". Think MALCOM IN THE MIDDLE meets AMERICAN PIE, from a pair of FREAKS AND GEEKS writers. Ben and Ms. Young throw caution to the wind when they decide to get to know each other on a more intimate level. Meanwhile, Jonathan slows things down with Deborah after she admits he's not her first and, despite Dino's family troubles, Jackie grows tired of forgiving his flaky behavior.
THE OFFICE SPECIAL (8 PM CST, BBC America) Cameras catch up with David Brent (Ricky Gervais) and the staff of Wernham Hogg three years after Brent's firing. Prepare once again to wince as you laugh.
CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (8PM CST, CBS) "Crow's Feet". The team investigates two deaths: a woman who recently underwent cosmetic surgery, found dead in a hotel room; and a man who died in his home while it was being fumigated.
ER (8:55 PM CST, NBC) "Fear". Two small children are rushed to the ER after falling from a third story window. The attending staff believes an abusive father is at fault for the tragedy but not all is as it seems initially. Is this show still any good? Yeah, I dunno either.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22
STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE (7 PM CST, UPN) "Home" Once
JOAN OF ARCADIA (7 PM CST, CBS) "The Election". God gets Joan involved in student-body politics. Which is just silly. Everybody knows politics are Lucifer's dominion.
STARGATE SG-1 (8 PM CST, Sci Fi) "Avatar". A virtual-reality training scenario goes terribly wrong (don't they always?), trapping Teal'c and endangering his life. (Repeat)
STARGATE ATLANTIS (9 PM CST, Sci Fi) "Childhood's End". Members of the team must make an emergency landing on a planet populated entirely by young people who willingly die in a mystic rite to protect their planet from the Wraith. (Repeat)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (12 PM CST, Cartoon Network) "Fearful Symmetry" When Supergirl begins having some very disturbing dreams, she gets help from Green Arrow and The Question to figure out what is happening. It turns out she may not be dreaming after all. (Repeat)
THE CELL (8 PM CST, Sci Fi) Jennifer Lopez plays a therapist who uses a high-tech device to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer. She should be more concerned about the comatose audience.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (10:30 PM CST, NBC) Jude Law hosts, and probably parodies one of the, like, 37 different movies he's in this year.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (8 PM CST, ABC) "Who's That Woman". Cash-strapped Mrs. Huber figures out that Susan had something to do with Edie's house fire and tries to blackmail her. That's what she gets for leaving a measuring cup in a crime scene.
JACK AND BOBBY (8 PM CST, WB) "Valentino". After failing to convince Bobby to break it off with Dex, Grace and Jack take matters into their own hands. Also, the future reveals that President McCallister has trouble with his oldest of four sons, Jack, and the secret service. More depressingly, a fictional future president from the year 2049 is more inspiring than either of our candidates in 2004.
BOSTON LEGAL (9 PM CST, ABC) "Change of Course". A cop killing centers on a haughty defendant, reluctantly represented by Lori and zealously by a firm veteran, who has been a patient in mental facility. Meanwhile, Shore plays hardball with a witness in a shoplifting case involving a kleptomaniac CEO. Shatner, baby!
20: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY'S SCARIEST MOVIES (9 PM CST, AMC) A guide to the best in horror, mystery, and suspense films from a list compiled by Entertainment Weekly magazine. Hosted by Elvis himself, Bruce Campbell.
And that's it from my first trip into the Wasteland. See you again in seven days.