Jump the Shark

Can One Tree Hill Thrive Without its Stars?

Hilarie Burton and Chad Michael Murray, One Tree Hill

To some fans, One Tree Hill without Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton sounds kind of like Seinfeld without Seinfeld... and Elaine.

The CW's plan to replace the leads with three new characters has elicited skepticism from fans who consider the show's heart to be the dynamic between Murray and Burton's characters, Lucas and Peyton. (A TVGuide.com poll found that nearly half of respondents will take a "wait and see" approach to the revamped OTH.)

They may be right to hold off on a decision, because these types of major cast revisions can go either way. read more

House, Bones, Grey's Have Sex Dreams... But Not Sex


Look, we have unrealistic dreams of our own. We don't need to see the unrealistic dreams of the imaginary people on TV, too. That's just too many steps removed from anything we might ever care about.

So we're underwhelmed by the new hallucinatory sex trend sweeping this season: House and Cuddy and Bones and Booth ended the will-they-or-won't-they speculation in their respective finales, and Grey's Anatomy introduced Izzie's brain tumor by having her have sex, loudly and often, with the very-dead Denny. (In so doing, the show also made the first-ever argument in favor of cancer. Bad.)

All the sex was pretend. Or set in an alternate dream-world. Or something. read more

Distracting Guest Stars: This Ain't Your Little Sister's Hilary Duff

Christopher Meloni and Hilary Duff

A new trend is making us jumpy — shark jumpy, that is: Young, hot musicians going for acting cred by guest-starring on gritty procedurals.

First Taylor Swift guested on CSI. Then Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz appeared on CSI: NY. Now, Hilary Duff is joining NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Tuesday, 10 pm/ET). Duff has aimed for acting cred before, playing an oversexed popstar in the movie War, Inc., but no one saw it. Now on SVU, she's playing an irresponsible young mother who becomes a suspect in her daughter's disappearance. Really? It was hard enough for us to buy her as the heroine in A Cinderella Story, and that part was made for her.

We understand that guest stars are important to series, and that the bigger the name, the better the ratings. With procedurals, the more salacious the crime, the bigger the buzz for the show and guest star. But does seeing such recognizable stars — and ones not known for dramatic acting — take you out of the story? Weigh in after the jump

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Critiquing Randy Jackson — Can Judging Jump the Shark?

Randy Jackson

You had to feel for Kris Allen last week after watching his stirring rendition of "Falling Slowly" on American Idol. The crowd went nuts with each soaring note, and later we found that Paula Abdul, Kara DioGuardi and Simon Cowell were quite pleased with his performance. Unfortunately for Allen, Randy Jackson critiqued his song first:

"A'ight, so check it out man, uh, dude — for me, for you tonight... I gotta tell you something, man. I don't know, it never really quite caught on for me. And yo, I love that song, but for me, it was pitchy from note one, for me."

Were we all listening to the same song? And for us, Randy, that critique could have been a bit more coherent — for us.

Read on for more about Randy's judging style and tell us what you think! read more

Has Rescue Me Rescued Itself?

Denis Leary

After an uneven fourth season and an 18-month absence, Rescue Me is back with 22 buzzy new episodes. Franco's spouting 9/11 conspiracy theories, best buds Tommy and Lou come to blows over a woman, someone will find out they have cancer and the brilliant Michael J. Fox plays Janet's new boyfriend — but is this enough to bring Rescue Me's audience back to the firehouse? Read on and give us your thoughts after the jump! read more

Has Pushing Daisies' Bryan Fuller Brought New Life to Heroes?

Greg Grunberg

Comic book guys are a little happier on Tuesday mornings now that Bryan Fuller returned to Heroes as a consulting producer and writer. As Fuller was creating the beautiful world of Pushing Daisies on ABC, Heroes fans did plenty of grumbling and sighing over its slipping quality: Why would producers think we'd want to see Season 1 rehashes of Parkman painting the future and Hiro witnessing an apocalyptic explosion?

But now, after cool twists like bringing back Parkman's wife and baby, as well as Micah as a helpful rebel, the show seems reinvigorated and more focused — fuller, if you will. The show may even have done the ultimate act of changing the future, saving the world from another bad season of Heroes. Once a show's jumped the shark, can it un-jump and thrive? Do you think Heroes has done just that? Tell us what you think after the jump!

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It's a Godawful Small Affair! The Bizarre Life on Mars Finale

Life on Mars

p>"Can a series finale make a show jump the shark?" asks my colleague Mickey O'Connor, referring to ABC's wackadoo Life on Mars wrap-up, in which we discover that time-traveling cop Sam Tyler is actually an astronaut from the year 2035 on his way to Mars. Cue the David Bowie; it's going to be a wild ride.

You see, in order to make the two-year-long journey more bearable, the astronauts upload a type of virtual-reality vacation for the brain. In Sam's case, he thought it would be cool to be a cop "way back" in 2008. But of all the luck, the ship hit an asteroid field or something, which rejiggered the program's calendar, sending Future Sam even further back into the past — to 1973.

Nevertheless, there are some nice touches. Tyler's copilots on the 2035 Mars probe are played by the same actors from the 125, including Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol and Harvey Keitel — who, it's revealed, is actually Sam's father. But otherwise, the finale reveals that the entire show as we knew it was a fiction. All those cases and characters and complications never existed. (Poor Lisa Bonet!)

What did you think of the Life on Mars finale? Refreshingly original or an idea past its time?

Give us your thoughts after the jump. read more

90210: Now Featuring Silver, Interrupted

Jessica Stroup

What the heck has happened to one of the most likable characters (and there aren't many) on 90210? We know Silver comes from a funky broken family with a lot of baggage, and we know the series has a new show-runner with a new style, but we're having a hard time believing Silver would go from zero to crazy in just the last few episodes. Not just a little crazy; we're talkin' Emily Valentine crazy! Read on and tell us what you thought about Silver's behavior. read more

Gossip Girl: Who Will Be Next to Spin the Wheel o' Destruction?

Gossip Girl

We know that Gossip Girl thrives on nihilism, and we love it, but lately it seems like our favorite rich and beautiful Upper East Siders are indulging in enough self-destruction to make even us raise an eyebrow.

We'll watch Chuck drink himself into a stupor, alienate all of his friends and loved ones and almost kill himself any day. We expect that kind of behavior from him; his dad was a Basshole and his mom died before she could salvage his sensitive little soul. But now that others are spinning the old wheel of destruction, will it land the show in shark-jumping territory? Read on and weigh in after the jump. read more

What the Deuce? Stewie Griffin to Guest on Bones?

David Boreanaz, Stewie

What the deuce are the Bones producers thinking? Stewie Griffin, Family Guy's matricidal baby, will appear in all his animated glory on the May 7 episode of Bones. Really?

Crossovers can be risky ventures and can push both shows involved to the precipice of a shark jump, but when an animated character is involved in the crossover, is it automatically time to the cue the Jaws theme?

The episode's story goes that Brennan asks Booth to be her baby-daddy, and shortly after, Booth becomes seriously ill with an affliction that causes hallucinations — apparently ones that include a highly-rated Fox cartoon baby. To be fair, only the ailing Booth will see or interact with Stewie, so it's not like the little hellion will be slicing and dicing corpses alongside Bones' crew.

Until last week, the most troublesome shark-jumping storyline discussed on Bones was the much-teased bedroom romp between Booth and Bones that will reportedly take place in the season finale. But will we, as fans, even want make it to the finale after sitting through such a blatantly ridiculous attempt at cross-promotion? Weigh in after the jump!

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