We've now entered August and have one month to go until the networks start to roll out their fall television programming and it shows in this week's TV Wasteland. Love 'em or hate 'em, reality TV dominates the fresh programming airing on networks right now, with some channels broadcasting two or more episodes a week to keep viewers entertained and attracted to their advertisers. The smaller cable networks, like Sci Fi Channel, FX Network and USA Network tend to keep away from reality TV, instead preferring to maintain their commitment to paying for an actual writing staff for a dramatic television series (and may God protect and keep safe all TV execs that make shows where writers can get jobs.) Still, it makes me stop and wonder just what the landscape of television will be like ten years from now. Will shows like SURVIVOR and BIG BROTHER prove to have legs? Will more reality shows replace traditional dramatic fare? Will there be a new STAR TREK series on TV that doesn't need writers and is instead reality based? As a wise green creature once told me, "Constantly in motion is the future. Soon will be season one of ALLY MCBEAL on DVD, yes?"
Here's the lineup for this week...
MONDAY, AUGUST 2
WHO WANTS TO MARRY MY DAD? (10 PM, NBC) It all comes down to this in tonight's season finale episode. Who will the girls pick to marry their Dad? Perhaps more importantly, will Blockbuster have any copies of HELLBOY in stock so you can watch something else on your TV?
CSI: MIAMI (10 PM, CBS) "Hurricane Anthony" After a hurricane hits their neck of the world, Horatio and his team try to solve the deaths of three people. Was it homicide or an act of God? When God's fingerprints turn up at the crime scene, Horatio looks up to the sky and mutters "Think you were going to get away with it?" (Repeat)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO (11:30 PM, NBC) Jay welcomes Brittany Murphy to the show tonight to talk about her new movie, LITTLE BLACK BOOK. Ron Reagan comes on next to talk about why he likes Democrats versus Republicans.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 3
NIP/TUCK (10 PM, FX) While teenage son Matt continues seeing the very mature Ava (Famke Janssen), Christian and Troy decide to provide their services for free for a fashion model that was viciously attacked.
THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (11:30 PM, CBS) OPEN WATER director Chris Kentis comes on to chat with Dave about how he shot his thriller. Former President Bill Clinton, also a guest on tonight's show, listens eagerly from the green room, wondering why he never asked Hillary to take a "vacation" diving in the open ocean.
LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (12:35 AM, NBC) Natalie Portman is on tonight's CONAN. Did you hear me guys? NATALIE PORTMAN.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4
SMALLVILLE (8 PM, WB) In "Magnetic," Lana's new boyfriend is the latest Freak of the Week, putting her under his spell thanks to the creep's magnetic powers. Hey, wouldn't you? Next hour, in "Shattered" Lionel Luthor does his very best to try and make everyone believe his son is crazy. Father knows best. (Repeats)
NEXT ACTION STAR (8 PM, NBC) It's the "Next Action Star" movie this week as we see the winners, Sean and Corrine, star in their own action flick. Writers? Who needs 'em!
THE SIMPLE LIFE 2: ROAD TRIP (9 PM, FOX) It's two back-to-back episodes tonight of THE SIMPLE LIFE, wrapping up this season's adventures of Paris and Nicole. In the final episode the girls are sent rocketing off into space with only twenty minutes of oxygen.
THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (11:30 PM, CBS) Tom Cruise plugs COLLATERAL on Dave's show tonight and is perhaps humiliated with performing a stupid human trick.
LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (12:35 AM, NBC) Jamie Foxx is on to talk about his new flick, COLLATERAL, and his cut scenes from the sex orgy in EYES WIDE SHUT.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 5
LITTLE NICKY (8 PM, FOX) The Prince of Darkness must pick a heir to the family underworld and it winds up being Adam Sandler having a bad hair day. To this day people that worked on this film still apologize to strangers.
CSI (9 PM, CBS) "Feeling the Heat" The CSI team investigates two deaths where excessive heat played a factor. Kudos to the CBS programming department for scheduling this re-run in the middle of summer. (Repeat)
FRIDAY, AUGUST 6
STARGATE SG-1 (8 PM, SCIFI) "Icon" Daniel's arrival on a distant world leads to a civil war and him trapped on the other side of the Stargate.
ENTERPRISE (8 PM, UPN) "Hatchery" When the crew discovers a Xindi-Insectoid nest of eggs inside one of their crashed ships,
STARGATE ATLANTIS (9 PM, SCI FI) "Suspicion" The Atlantis team begin to suspect that a spy working for the Wraith may be among the population of the Athosians living with them in the Ancients' city.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 7
CSI: MIAMI (10 PM, FOX) "Big Brother" In the second episode of this show this week on the network, the team investigate a murder that happened inside a sorority house that's set up for 24/7 internet broadcast, kind of like the offices of CINESCAPE. (Repeat)
MADtv (11 PM, FOX) 24's Elisha Cuthbert guest stars, leaving young men alone on a Saturday night with something to do besides play DOOM 3. (Repeat)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (11:30 PM, NBC) The world's hardest working soccer mom, Kelly Ripa, is the host this week while progressive hard rockets Outkast supplies the music. (Repeat)
SUNDAY, AUGUST 8
THE 4400 (4 PM, USA) Beginning at this time USA is broadcasting all six episodes of THE 4400 back-to-back beginning with the two-hour pilot and ending with the season finale. While the network hasn't officially announced a second season for the show, the strong ratings this series has netted would make it seem like a no-brainer. (Repeats)
THE SIMPSONS (8 PM, FOX) Marge relates stories of important events from history and everyone in them looks like someone we know from Springfield. (Repeat)
THE 4400 (9 PM, USA) Season finale. "White Light"
THE DEAD ZONE (10 PM, USA) "Cycle of Violence" Johnny witnesses a vision of a school shooting, leading him to try and find out which teen will eventually commit the crime.
TV Wasteland is our weekly Television column.