Raines, October Road, The Wedding Bells, Andy Barker, P.I. and Battlestar Galactica
With spring comes the hope that the networks have a sleeper
hit waiting in the wings — like last March, when CBS delivered
two keepers in The Unit
and The New Adventures of Old
. But this new wave of mid-season contenders also
tends to disrupt familiar viewing patterns. (In other words:
Bring back Men in Trees
, sooner rather than later.) It may
not exactly be four weddings and a funeral, but this week,
as we try to make sense of March's chaotic shuffle of comings
and goings, I'm weighing in on four arrivals — some fresher
than others — and a much-awaited season-finale departure.
When: Fridays, Starting March 30, 9 pm/ET, NBC
The Situation: Replaces Las Vegas after two Thursday previews
The Lowdown: "I see hallucinations of murder victims," says the haunted detective hero (a sardonically glum Jeff Goldblum) of this aggressively quirky twist on L.A. noir. His visions aren't ghosts, but as they help him make sense of the clues, he worries he's going nuts. One thing's for sure: Raines is weird.
My Score (0-10): 6
When: Thursdays, Starting March 15, 10 pm/ET, ABC
The Situation: Replaces Men in Trees into April
The Lowdown: Every you-can't-go-home-again cliché is recycled in the comically pretentious saga of a writer (Bryan Greenberg) reuniting with the former pals (including his ex, Laura Prepon) he exploited in a best-seller, "Turtle on a Snare Drum." (Ick.) The woeful sub-Dawson's Creek dialogue caused me actual pain.
My Score: 0
The Wedding Bells
When: Fridays, 9 pm/ET, FOX
The Situation: Replaces an hour of reality
The Lowdown: Fluff from David E. Kelley that's so cutesy even Ally McBeal might cringe. Three sisters (named Bell, get it?) run a wedding parlor, juggling control-freak bridezillas — cue the grotesques — amid their own trite romantic complications. It's about as appealing as a bridesmaid's gown. All together now: "I don't!"
My Score: 3
Andy Barker, P.I.
When: Thursdays, Starting March 15, 9:30 pm/ET, NBC
The Situation: Replaces 30 Rock until mid-April
The Lowdown: Nerdy sweetness and deep silliness flow effortlessly from Andy Richter as a chipper accountant (don't dare call him a bookkeeper) turned accidental gumshoe in a series of blissfully absurd capers. "Ooh. Tax return. Things just got interesting" is something I bet you never heard Magnum say.
My Score: 8
When: Sundays, 10 pm/ET, Sci Fi Channel
The Situation: The end of Season 3. Renewed for a fourth season (1/2008)
The Lowdown: The twists pile up furiously. If a verdict in Baltar's trial for treason weren't enough, shocking revelations spread like a virus among the Galactica crew as the fleet prepares to jump ever closer to Earth. What will they find in the nebula? don't understand it all, but my mind is blown.
My Score: 10