It's difficult to believe that the creators of Showtime's Episodes are not holding a grudge against network TV.
Their last series, the CBS sitcom The Class, was axed after one short season, and their follow-up comedy (for cable, natch) is nothing if not an indictment of how the worst broadcast shows get made, sometimes in spite of a great idea. Just take a gander at Episodes' fictional network honcho, a crass and careless tyrant who transforms an urbane British hit about the headmaster of an elite boys school into a broad comedy for American audiences starring Matt LeBlanc.
Only a week into the new year, and already the volume of new TV is overwhelming. Case in point: this Sunday's logjam of new titles on network and cable, ranging from the truly sublime to the hopelessly ridiculous and instantly forgettable. Here's a rundown from best to worst.
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CSI: NY (Friday, 9/8c, CBS)
Ever since JAG signed off nearly six years ago, one of the most frequent topics in my mailbag is the hope that David James Elliott (last seen in ABC's short-lived Scoundrels last summer) will find his way back to CBS. For at least one week, his fans get their wish, as Elliott guests as the FBI agent ex-husband of Sela Ward's Jo. (Do we sense a triangle brewing?) In the case of the week, a guy dressed as a clown shoots a bakery owner, and the investigation reveals a skeleton in Det. Flack's past. (Presumably not wearing floppy shoes.)
Thomas Haden Church and Claire Forlani have dropped out of Showtime's new comedy, Episodes.
Thomas Haden Church joins LeBlanc in Episodes
Church's exit is due to a scheduling conflict, but no reason has been ...