I usually don’t watch new television shows, because most of them are terrible, and 90% won’t even make it to a second season. Better to wait for word-of-mouth and stream the first season later. But it is kind of interesting to try to figure out why a show exists, and got picked up by a network. Here are my completely baseless guesses:
Whitney (Wednesday, 9:30 ET, NBC)
Why?—Because Whitney Cummings is a young, fresh-faced, attractive, funny female comedian whose stock is very high right now.
But why really?—Who says her stock is high? She’s kinda-sorta on the radar, I guess, from doing random things like the Comedy Central roasts and hosting MTV specials. I mean, I recognize her, so I suppose that’s good. She is more attractive than the average comedian, but during the course of a stand-up routine she actually gets a lot less attractive for some reason. I think it’s because I never quite buy into the persona she’s selling—big-city girl brashly flourishing her psychoses like a badge of honor. I think it would work better if she allowed herself to be more of a bitch; and from the promos it seems like Whitney actually dials down the bitchiness.
Prediction—cancelled after season 1.
Terra Nova (Mondays, Fox)
Why?—Avatar meets Jurassic Park meets Lost. Fox always has to debut at least one show every season that’s overloaded with cheesy television CGI.
But why really?—Hit ideas can only keep banging up against other hit ideas so many times, before they knock each other senseless. But there might be some pent-up demand for this sort of thing, after the demise of other sci-fi serials like Heroes and FlashForward.
Prediction—lumpy beginning, but makes it to another season.
New Girl (Monday, 9 PM, Fox)
Why?—Oh, Zooey Deschanel is adorable, isn’t she? Aren’t we all glad she’s stopped making jazz albums so we can keep pressing our index fingers against her adorable button nose?
But why really?—Okay, I’m getting a little sick of Hollywood foisting gorgeous women on us, slapping glasses, clumsiness, and odd mannerisms on them, and then asking us to believe this makes them complete nerds, who will never ever be able to hook up with a guy. I believe the plot of the pilot is about Zooey’s male roommates coaching her on how to go and pick up a guy in a bar for meaningless sex, so she can get over a bad-break up. Because Zooey Deschanel would totally need hours and hours of coaching to pick up a guy in a bar for meaningless sex.
Prediction—New Girl still looks kind of funny, and Deschanel looks like she’s back on her game. A lot of dorky guys like her, because she’s always in roles which make it seem like dorky guys have a chance with her. Here’s my list of alt-girls who really get geeks’ engines revving, ranked in ascending order of geek-love inspiring:
Drew Barrymore (just ‘cause she dated Tom Green, which—WTF was she thinking)
Tina Fey (may be just a smidge too far on the side of geek herself)
Aubrey Plaza (the intern from Parks and Rec)
Ellen Page (everyone seems to think she’s a lesbian for some reason. Maybe ‘cause it doesn’t seem like such a long way from having Michael Cera be your boyfriend.)
Isla Fisher (is married to Borat)
Danica McKellar (Winnie from Wonder Years; is supposedly some kind of math genius)
Anne Hathaway (hey Anne, your geek-worship is gonna start drying up if you keep having on-screen sex with people like Jake Gyllenhaal. Consider yourself warned).
The anti-geeks: Gwyneth Paltrow, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman. I can’t imagine Seth Rogen or Michael Cera getting anywhere near Charlize Theron, without her punching them out.
Where was I? Oh, I think New Girl will last a couple seasons, at least. Whether it becomes a hit depends on how many women watch it. Do women like Zooey Deschanel?
Charlie’s Angels (Thursday, 8 PM, ABC)
Why?—I have no idea.
But why really?—The original, only with boring hair. I am trembling with expectation.
Prediction— Who knows; maybe it will be smart and clever and pop-culturally aware, and have snappy dialogue, which Minka Kelly will somehow be able to deliver…. who knows? I think I do—cancelled after six episodes.
So, mostly, I’m looking forward to seeing how The Office operates with James Spader at the helm (I can’t think of a conceivable way it would work, but that show has surprised me with their resourcefulness before), and hoping they crank out those Mad Men episodes as fast as possible. And there’s always football.