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Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself

TV Wasteland's new writer would like you to know a little about himself (and by the way, the season premiere of THE SIMPSONS is this week!)

By David Michael Wharton     November 01, 2004


THE SIMPSONS
© Fox

Hi there, have we met? We're three weeks in, so I suppose I should introduce myself. Name's Dave, and I'm tending bar in this little corner of Cinescape these days. Meant to do this before now, but the first two weeks of the column have been a bit hectic what with the learning curve and all. Still, better two weeks late than never.


So, what do you need to know about me? Well, I watch way, way, way too much television. I mean, otherwise I wouldn't have my name on the byline up there, would I? Normally, that would just make me a "couch potato" or "antisocial introvert" or "potential serial killer." But thankfully, I've managed to con several organizations, including this one, into actually throwing small quantities of money at me for doing what I would be doing anyway. Except since I'm getting paid for it, it's "productive" instead of "sad."


I am a geek from a long line of geeks, but can nonetheless pass for well-adjusted when need be. I'm married to a disproportionately gorgeous young lady who humors my obsessions and whom I have managed to gradually corrupt to geekly ways, though she'll deny it (but she cried during FARSCAPE: PEACEKEEPER WARS...don't let her tell you otherwise).


I love TREK for what it once was and what it could be again, but I haven't watched any of the series regularly since NEXT GENERATION. I'd love for ENTERPRISE's new direction to win me over this season, but I'm not holding my breath.


I stuck with BABYLON 5 through the shaky first season and was rewarded through the glories that followed. I have permanently cauterized the part of my brain that stored the memory of "Grey 17 is Missing," and should probably do likewise for the part that remembers LEGEND OF THE RANGERS.


I still mourn for FARSCAPE, but I'm glad it finally got the finale it deserved. We're not likely to see a show as original or daring for a long time to come.


I'm a devout fan of Joss Whedon and J. Michael Straczynski, J.J. Abrams and Rockne S. O'Bannon, but I'm long past the point of thinking any of them walk on water. Rick Berman and Brannon Braga burn in perpetual effigy in my home, and I don't expect them to stop anytime soon.


For all its slow bits, I still like Sci Fi's DUNE miniseries better than David Lynch's version.


I still have a crush on Jaye from WONDERFALLS, one which will only be made worse when the DVD set comes out this winter.


I liked last year's BATTLESTAR GALACTICA mini, and can't wait for the series to premiere here in a few short months. I'd love to see Ron Moore realize the lofty goals he's set for this new (ahem) enterprise, and I hope they can pull it off. My nostalgia for the original show extends no further than vague memories of watching it back-to-back with BUCK ROGERS and pretending my bike was a Viper fighter, but I've got no problem whatsoever with the new show departing from the old. They could march Lorne Greene's corpse out in drag as far as I care, so long as the stories are engrossing and well told. If you feel otherwise, more power to you, but just don't expect me to get misty eyed at thoughts of Dirk Benedict.


I quote LOGAN'S RUN. I harbor youthful fantasies of green Orion slave girls. I now consider my annual trek to San Diego for Comic Con to be something of a spiritual pilgrimage. I bleed geek.


If you bleed geek too (and let's face it, if you're reading this, there's a good chance you do), then chances are you agree with some of my thoughts above, couldn't care less about others, and actively want to lynch me for others. That's what that geek blood is all about: passion. For peculiar things, for silly things, for things that plenty of folks just plain don't get. But after all, where would be the joy if everybody "got it?" It's no fun making obscure DUE SOUTH references if everyone within earshot knows what you're talking about.


I'll have a Cinescape email set up shortly, but in the meantime, feel free to write and say hello to inhetet@hotmail.com. So step up, have a drink, tell me what shows make that flicker in your eye--you know, the one that makes the Mundanes nervous--glow just a little bit brighter.


But just know going in, there's no way you're going to convince me that ANDROMEDA doesn't suck.


Keep your head and hands inside the television, folks...


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1


FEAR FACTOR (7 PM CST, NBC) Four siblings get their heads locked in glass boxes filled with spiders. If we can just get one on Joe Rogan, we're set.


INVESTIGATING HISTORY (7 PM CST, The History Channel) Hunting a lost treasure of Ghengis Khan. KHAAAAAAAAAN!!!


AWESOMELY BADDER VIDEOS (7 PM CST, VH1) Sub-par celebrities mock sub-par videos on a show named via sub-par grammar. Followed by AWESOMELY OVERSEXED, which pretty much sums up the whole VH1 experience, when you think about it.


STARGATE SG-1 (8 PM CST, Sci Fi) "Meridian." Attempts to build a weapon of mass destruction threaten an alien civilization. Or they would, if they could actually find any weapons of mass destruction. (Repeat)


SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE PRESIDENTIAL BASH 2004: THE GREAT DEBATES (9 PM CST, NBC) Sporadically funny sketches mock our consistently depressing presidential candidates.


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2


GILMORE GIRLS (7 PM CST, The WB) "You Jump, I Jump, Jack."

Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) tries to make a deal with foreign exchange student Mikail Mxyzptlk (Trent Ford) in the SMALLVILLE episode "Jinx".

Logan involves Rory in a dangerous stunt for his secret Yale society. Who knew Wolverine was a Yale guy?


COYOTE UGLY (8 PM CST, USA) A movie based on a dive where hotties dance on the bar and spray men with water. I'd say that's not enough of a premise to fuel an entire movie, but that's never stopped Hollywood before.


GENE RODDENBERRY'S ANDROMEDA (7 PM CST, Sci Fi) "Star-Crossed." Like I said, not a fan of this one. But if you like this sort of thing, it's the sort of thing you'll like. (Repeat)


TEEN TITANS (9 PM CST, Cartoon Network) "Betrothed." Starfire has to return to her home planet of Tamaran for her arranged wedding. As a fan of the legendary Wolfman-Perez run from the 80s, I still can't quite embrace this anime-styled take on the characters I love, but that's probably just me being a fuddy-duddy.


HARVEY BIRDMAN, ATTORNEY AT LAW (10 PM CST, Cartoon Network) Part of a six-hour block of this wonderfully weird show. To the day I die, I will not laugh harder than I did during the "Apache Chief" episode.


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3


LOST (7 PM CST, ABC) "The Moth." Former hobbit Charlie hits withdrawal when his stash runs out, while Jack gets himself buried alive in a cave-in. Still no sign of any Sleestaks, though.


SMALLVILLE (7 PM CST, The WB) "Jinx."

The cast of THE O.C.

Mister Mxyzptlk makes his debut! Only here, he's a refugee from European Tiger Beat, as opposed to an extradimensional imp with a funny hat.


PROOF POSITIVE: EVIDENCE OF THE PARANORMAL (7 PM CST, Sci Fi) Ghosts appearing on videotapes, alien abductees, and a firefighter who thinks he's a reincarnated Confederate officer.


MYTHBUSTERS (8 PM CST, Discovery) "Ping Pong Rescue." Attempts are made to surface a boat from the bottom of a bay using only ping-pong balls. If I knew how, I'd be starring on this show, instead of writing about it.


THE WEST WING (8 PM CST, NBC) "Third-Day Story." Bartlett rallies support for his Mideast Peace Plan, while the Republicans push for a tax cut.


JACK & BOBBY (8 PM CST, The WB) "Election Night." They filmed three separate endings for this episode, with the events of Tuesday night to determine which one airs. Tune in to see whether devout liberal Grace is ranting or cheering.


GHOST HUNTERS (8 PM CST, Sci Fi) The team investigates a pair of women who claim to be possessed. I'm still freaked out by the footage of that chair scooting across the floor from last week.


CSI: NY (9 PM CST, CBS) "A Man a Mile." A construction worker is killed in a tunnel explosion. Or so they want us to believe. You ask me, it was those damn Morlocks.


DRAWN TOGETHER (9:30 PM CST, Comedy Central) The roommates try to find a suitor for Clara. Last week's premiere was nowhere near SIMPSONS/FAMILY GUY levels of genius, but it definitely had some funny moments.


THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4


THE O.C. (7 PM CST, Fox) "The Distance." Season Premiere. The

Arik Soong (Brent Spiner) celebrates with his young Augment friends in ENTERPRISE's "Cold Station 12".

prime-time soap with 87% more geek cred per episode returns for its second season.


LIFE AS WE KNOW IT (8 PM CST, ABC) "Secrets and Lies." Miss Young considers ending her dalliance with Ben, while Dino considers moving out of his mom's house. FREAKS AND GEEKS alum Samm Levine appears in the second week of his guest stint. Not that I got to see the first part, since the Morality Nazis at my local ABC affiliate decided last week's episode was too risqu for us to make up our own minds about whether or not we were offended by it.


CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (8 PM CST, CBS) "What's Eating Gilbert Grissom?" This is one of the few shows on television where that title might actually refer to cannibalism. It doesn't, but it could.


ER (9 PM CST, NBC) "An Intern's Guide to the Galaxy." I haven't watched this show in ages; I just thought it deserved mention for the Douglas Adams reference in the title.


WITHOUT A TRACE (9 PM CST, CBS) "Nickel and Dimed." Kicks off a two-parter wherein a young mother vanishes after leaving her three-year-old with the babysitter.


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5


JOAN OF ARCADIA (7 PM CST, CBS) "P.O.V." God turns up as a filmmaker and commands Joan to make a videography of her life. I bet it's all black-and-white and artsy.


STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE (7 PM CST, UPN) "Cold Station 12."

The first part of J.R.R. Tolkien's THE LORD OF THE RING trilogy comes to live-action life in THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING

Week two of Spiner-fest! Dr. Soong's Augments raid a storage facility to steal embryos left over from the Eugenics Wars. And guest-starring Paul Muad'Dib, as well (the Alec Newman-Sci Fi Channel version, not the Kyle MacLachlan-David Lynch version).


JULIUS CAESAR (7 PM CST, History Channel) Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, then stick around for the Caligula profile at 8 PM.


PET SEMATARY (7 PM CST, AMC) Stephen King's tale of an ancient burial ground that resurrects the dead and causes bad spelling.


THE AVENGERS (7 PM CST, BBC America) Another show I've never given a fair shake, at least in part due to lingering psychological trauma from the big screen remake. I still have nightmares of Sean Connery in that bear suit.


MEDICAL INVESTIGATION (9 PM CST, NBC) "Mutation." A mutant strain of the flu is on the loose, but it only kills people; it doesn't do anything cool like cause them to shoot optic blasts from their eyeballs.


FILMFAKERS (9 PM CST, AMC) Unwitting actors get drafted into a fake mob film called "Big Bang." Guest-starring Erik Estrada!


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6


VERY WORST JOBS (7 PM CST, Spike) Watch this and feel better about your 9-to-5. Unless you're a sewage diver or something.


JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (7:30 PM CST, Cartoon Network) "The Return." The League puts themselves between Lex Luthor and a pissed-off Amazo. The toon version of Amazo doesn't have the groovy little red skullcap, though.


CENTIPEDE (8 PM CST, Sci Fi) A team of spelunkers is menaced by giant centipedes. Say what you will about Sci Fi's Saturday night original movies--you always know exactly what you're going to get. Tonight, you get centipedes, by God.


THE GODFATHER (7 PM CST, AMC) Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7


THE SIMPSONS (7 PM CST, Fox) "Treehouse of Horror XV." Season premiere. A week late for Halloween, but who cares? Flanders has premonitions of death, Lisa and Bart play Holmes and Watson, and the Simpsons are injected into Mr. Burns in a FANTASTIC VOYAGE takeoff.


ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (7:30 PM CST, Fox) "The One Where Michael Leaves." Season premiere. The second season return of one of the funniest shows on television. So watch it and give the show some much-needed ratings, for crying out loud.


THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (7 PM CST, The WB)

THE SIMPSONS

The Frog net nets the network premiere of the first film in the spectacular fantasy trilogy.


DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (8 PM CST, ABC) "Running to Stand Still." I can see where the TWIN PEAKS comparisons are coming from, but I still think those comparisons overlook this show's regrettable lack of dancing midgets.


DALLAS REUNION: RETURN TO SOUTHFORK (8 PM CST, CBS) I was too young to get swept up in the fervor when this show was originally on, but still, gotta give the shout-out to my hometown.


BOSTON LEGAL (9 PM CST, ABC) "Truth Be Told." A mayoral candidate hires the firm to block his opponent's TV smear campaign. Incidentally, "Has Been," the new album collaboration between William Shatner and Ben Folds, is way more addictive than it has any right to be.


This concludes our broadcast. See you next week.



TV Wasteland is our weekly Television column.


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