Apparently it pays to be a thirtysomething psychic criminal consultant on NBC, but it doesn't to be a teenaged daughter of Satan on Fox.
NBC has not only added three episodes to their season order of MEDIUM, but they went ahead and ordered a second full season next Fall. The show's been a spooky hit for NBC so far, doubling the network's averages for the same time slot earlier in the season. The new episodes will bring this first season to a total of 16 episodes, just six shy of your average full season. Not bad at all for a midseason show.
The pilot episode didn't do much for me. It struck me as a bizarre hybrid of the procedural, the supernatural thriller, and the domestic drama, but the characters failed to engage and the other elements didn't really stand out. It was mining territory that had already been covered--and covered well--by shows like THE DEAD ZONE and MILLENNIUM. And with none of the solid characters or style that populate those shows.
In the intervening weeks, however, Allison and her family have slowly begun to win me over, and the show's writing has sported clever dialogue and a penchant for jaw-dropping openings. And it's nice to see a character with otherworldly abilities who manages to also have a fairly stable home life, unlike the Frank Blacks or Johnny Smiths of the world.
POINT PLEASANT, on the other hand...it's certainly had its moments, as one would expect from a writing staff that includes Marti Noxon and TICK genius Bed Edlund. But on the whole, the adventures of the apple of Satan's eye have so far seemed like a mélange of other, better stories without really finding its own identity. It wants to be THE OMEN. It wants to be BUFFY. It wants to be TWIN PEAKS. But so far, I'd rather be watching any of those than this.
And apparently I'm not the only one that feels that way, as POINT has been steadily losing viewers over the past few weeks, even as its O.C. lead-in has been gaining. Maybe Fox, given its dramatic slide in the ratings this season, will actually give this show a chance to find its footing and its audience...but then again, this is Fox. Not exactly a sterling record when it comes to genre shows. Might be time for Noxon and Edlund to update those resumes.
The Week Rerun:
THE WORST PART WAS, HE KEPT CALLING HER "CHIEF": Poor Clark Kent. He's gone four seasons of teen angst and surging sexual tension with nothing to show for it. And now, to add insult to injury, we find out that Chloe--who would surely have taken Clark to the Phantom Zone and back again if he'd even taken an interest in her--went to Metropolis for the summer and lost her virginity to Jimmy Freakin' Olsen. And he calls himself Superman's pal.
PINK HEARTS, YELLOW MOONS, AND GREEN CLOVERS: It was a magically delicious moment on last Tuesday's SCRUBS when J.D. and Turk pestered guest star Colin Farrell to recite the Lucky Charms slogan.
HAL!: How cool was it during last Saturday's JUSTICE LEAGUE when Green Lantern John Stewart--in the midst of battle against time-altering villain Chronos, whose machinations had destabilized the time-space continuum--suddenly vanished, to be replaced by...Hal Jordan. Almost as cool as Batman playing good cop/bad cop with his own elderly BATMAN BEYOND-era self.
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, JANUARY 31
THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER (7 PM CST, WGN) Alec Baldwin's only outing as Jack Ryan, but he's still more compelling than Ben Affleck.
SCREAM 2 (7 PM CST, AMC) At the time, I was upset at this film for killing off Randy Meeks, the only character in the series to know and live by the Rules of Surviving a Horror film. Since then, I've seen THE JAMIE KENNEDY EXPERIMENT, and I'm okay with it now.
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (7 PM CST, TCM) The classic 1956 SF thriller with alien Commie pod people.
DEADLINE (7 PM CST, Trio) "Pilot." You what TV needs more of? Oliver Platt. This Brilliant But Cancelled series will have to do, courtesy of Trio.
24 (8 PM CST, Fox) Guys...I know there are many talented writers on your staff...so if there's a mole inside CTU this season, I'm going to have to kill at least one of you. It's for your own good, trust me.
REPLICANT (8 PM CST, USA) Jean-Claude Van Damme beats himself up, but strangely not over the state of his career.
MEDIUM (9 PM CST, NBC) "In Sickness and in Adultery." Uh oh, Allison thinks her hubbie may fooling around with another woman. Always a good idea to cheat on your psychic wife.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 1
GILMORE GIRLS (7 PM CST, WB) "Come Home." Rory helps Logan write an article for the Yale Daily, but her motives aren't as straightforward as he might think.
DEATH BECOMES HER (7 PM CST, ABC Family) The script, however, does not.
HOUSE (8 PM CST, Fox) "DNR." House and company enter muddy moral territory when a paraplegic jazz singer collapses during a performance and his DNR (do not resuscitate) order causes friction between the Doc and the wife.
SCRUBS (8 PM CST, NBC) "My Hypocritical Oath." No Colin Farrell this week, which means I won't have to worry about getting my socks wet in the puddles of my wife's drool.
HELLBOY (8 PM CST, Starz)
NYPD BLUE (9 PM CST, ABC) "Old Man Quiver." Andy investigates the death of an elderly millionaire as this long-running show winds toward the end of its final season.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 2
SUPERWEAPONS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD (7 PM CST, Discovery Channel) This is arguably the coolest description I have ever read: "Using period techniques, engineers, timber framers, and blacksmiths build a giant claw attached to a wooden crane that could smash a Roman galley."
SMALLVILLE (7 PM CST, WB) "Pariah." Crazy-but-cute teleporting Alicia is the prime suspect when Lana is attacked in her apartment, but further investigation reveals that the culprit was actually somebody who really didn't like her Neutrogena ads.
JACK & BOBBY (8 PM CST, WB) "A New Frontier." Grace takes Bobby camping but also schemes to meet up with Tom on the trip. Or you could watch a less fictional but also less compelling president on most of the other networks.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3
HAPPY DAYS 30TH ANNIVERSARY REUNION (7 PM CST, ABC) This is wasting valuable time that Henry Winkler could be spending guest-starring on ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.
THE O.C. (7 PM CST, Fox) "The Second Chance." I initially though the episode description of Ryan and Caleb "butting heads" during a Nicholls family dinner was speaking metaphorically, but since one of them ends up in the emergency room, I'm guessing it's meant literally.
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (7 PM CST, AMC) Shake the pillars of heaven with Jack Burton and company.
POINT PLEASANT (8 PM CST, Fox) "The Lonely Hunter." A meteor shower hits Point Pleasant, but quickly retreats and apologetically explains that it was actually looking for Smallville.
CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (8 PM CST, CBS) "Nesting Dolls." A pair of women are found buried together in the desert, covered in tar. Well, at least they weren't feathered as well.
BLACK BOOKS (8:30 PM CST, BBC America) "Grapes of Wrath." A riotously funny Britcom about a bookstore owner with few social graces and no patience for his customers.
WITHOUT A TRACE (9 PM CST, CBS) "Volcano." An autistic boy vanishes during a school trip to a museum, but at least he isn't stranded in a crappy Tommy Lee Jones volcano movie.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4
GREATEST COMMERCIALS: SUPER BOWL VS. THE WORLD (7 PM CST, CBS) Forget about the commercials...what about "Greatest Ill-Conceived Super Bowl Halftime Stunts That Subsequently Plummeted the Nation Into a Year of Asinine Puritanical Censorship"?
STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE (7 PM CST, UPN) "United."
STARGATE SG-1 (7 PM CST, Sci-Fi) "It's Good to Be the King." Wayne Brady guests as the leader of a Goa'uld invasion force. Wait...like WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? Wayne Brady? After the invasion, does the winner get to do a little something special with Drew Carey?
A KNIGHT'S TALE (8 PM CST, TBS) An interesting concept that never quite comes together, this flick does feature some damn impressive jousting and Paul Bettany as a thoroughly amusing Geoffrey Chaucer.
STARGATE ATLANTIS (8 PM CST, Sci-Fi) "Hot Zone." A nanite virus infects Atlantis, forcing the residents to call in Dr. Ray Palmer, who responds by stepping on their brains.
MEDICAL INVESTIGATION (9 PM CST, NBC) "Mousetrap." Everything old is new again: tonight, the disease of the week is bubonic plague.
NUMBERS (9 PM CST, CBS) "Vector." Charlie tries to pinpoint the origin of a mysterious illness that may be bioterrorism. No word yet if Jack Bauer will be called in to consult.
MONK (9 PM CST, USA) "Mr. Monk Gets Cabin Fever." Wherein Monk contracts a flesh-eating bacteria from a gaggle of oversexed twentysomethings and is eaten by a dog.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (9 PM CST, Sci-Fi) "You Can't Go Home Again." Adama and Apollo work to try and find Starbuck after her Viper crash, but President Roslin questions whether the search is worth the resources.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 5
SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS (7 PM CST, TNT) Because the vapid self-congratulations of the Oscars just aren't good enough.
TEEN TITANS (7 PM CST, Cartoon Network) "Birthmark." Slade returns for the first time in season four, and he's after Raven.
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (7:30 PM CST, Cartoon Network) "The Cat and the Canary." Sexual tension will no doubt abound as Green Arrow teams up with Black Canary to rescue Wildcat (voiced by Dennis Farina, no less) from an underground fight club (whoops, I just broke the first two rules).
PREDATOR'S STORY (9 PM CST, Animal Planet) No, not that Predator.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 6
SUPER BOWL XXXIX (5 PM CST, Fox) It's the Patriots versus the Eagles in what will hopefully be a wardrobe-malfunction-free game.
THE UNINVITED (7 PM CST, TCM) Assuming you're not in the mood for football, you could always watch Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey hunt ghosts.
CARNIVALE (8 PM CST, HBO) "Creed, OK." Sofie reaches out to Ben and Stumpy wagers on an important fight. And, if there's any justice, I won't have to see Brother Justin naked again.
THE SIMPSONS (9 PM CST or whenever the Bowl is over, Fox) "Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass." Homer becomes a personal choreographer and winds up producing the Super Bowl halftime show.
AMERICAN DAD (9:30 PM CST or
This concludes our broadcast.
TV Wasteland is our weekly Television column.