Fall TV starts now, as I TiVo or Ti-NO Terriers, Nikita, Hellcats and Thintervention
Had your fill yet of the America’s Got Talent So You Think You Can Dance with Big Brother’s Real Housewives blur of reality TV and burnoff series filling summer?
Consider today’s column a tasty preview of the relief that’s coming. Most new fall network TV shows won’t debut until the week of Sept. 19, when we’ll devote that day’s Floridian to sorting the next Glees (very good) from the next Jay Leno Shows (not so good).
But there’s a few series, especially on youth-oriented underdog The CW, that show up a little earlier. So consider this column a preview Fall TV preview; a sweet glimpse of the choices that will come when the Big Brother house is aired out and summer TV is in the rearview for nine more months.
Nikita, debuts at 9 p.m. Thursday on WTOG-Ch. 44: This is the smart, forward-looking spies-and-slick shootouts series that Fox fumbled so spectacularly years ago in Joss Wheedon’s Dollhouse. Action star Maggie Q (Live Free or Die Hard) is sizzling as Nikita, a damaged street kid trained as a government assassin looking to take down her former handlers. ER alum Shane West is convincing as the dreamy, conflicted middle management guy who can’t decide whether to kiss Nikita or kill her. And if you can put up with stick-thin models tossing around beefy stuntmen like they tried blocking the door to a Loboutins sale, then this slick re-re-re-invention of the French La Femme Nikita film (after Bridget Fonda’s disastrous Point of No Return and USA Network’s Nikita series) will go down well. TiVo, if only to see Maggie Q in a swimsuit a few more times.
Terriers, premieres at 10 p.m Wednesday on FX: What would James Garner’s beleaguered private eye Jim Rockford look like in the new millennium? I’m betting he’d resemble Donal Logue’s Hank Dalworth, a one-time alcoholic-turned low-rent P.I. after getting ousted from the police force and losing his marriage. Logue’s Dalworth is a perpetually cashless, working class guy who somehow remains optimistic and on good terms with his knockout ex-wife (Rockford fans, this sound familiar?). When a good friend gets killed by a rich sleaze, Dalworth snaps out of his stupor and begins putting all his resources to work nailing the guy, assisted by his partner with a thieving past, Britt Pollack (True Blood’s serial killer, Michael Raymond-James). TiVo for the recession-friendly storyline; everybody loves when a street guy takes out the rich sleaze.
Hellcats, debuts at 9 p.m. Wednesday on WTOG-Ch. 44: It’s like a Frankenstein monster of different tween TV types; a mashup of Glee’s postmodern snark, Make It Or Break It’s teen girls squabbling drama and the same cheerleading squad immortalized in Bring It On. Still, Alyson Michalka is compelling and brightly bratty as a pre-law student forced into cheerleading to keep her scholarship. And they even let High School Musical’s perpetual villain Ashley Tisdale play someone with a pulse; a detail-oriented cheerleading captain who isn’t the baddest girl on the block. Ti-NO unless you fear withdrawal symptoms since Make It or Break It has wrapped its latest season.
Thintervention with Jackie Warner, debuts at 10:15 p.m. Monday on Bravo: Warner, once such a glorious ball of reality TV drama in the show centered on her Beverly Hills gym (Bravo’s Work Out), becomes a thin clone of bossy Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels here. The show, which features Warner coaching eight people to weight loss in their own surroundings – kinda like Michaels’ summer show Losing It – doesn’t really spark until we spend time with the participants. Instead of Biggest Loser’s feel-good togetherness, we see a collection of backbiting knuckleheads so annoying you understand why Bravo might inflict Warner on them in the first place. Ti-NO, unless super-thin, super-driven, super nutty weight loss experts are your thing.