Remember when TV was young and networks took genuine risks? Where is the chutzpah these days that once resulted in wacky-premise shows like The Munsters, I Dream of Jeannie or My Mother the Car? With another fall lineup composed mostly of the same old tired formats and ideas, here’s a look at some TV shows we’d really like to see:
MTVBush League (reality, :60). Everyone’s got a bad habit to kick and rules to skirt, and the Bush girls — Jeb’s daughter Noelle and Dubya’s Barbara and Jenna — show how it’s done in Bush League. With miniature cameras mounted on close friends, Secret Service agents, pharmacists, and bartenders, we’ll get an up-close and personal look at how the First Daughters get their buzzes on while trying to fly under the radar of media scrutiny.
NBCOne Foot In (comedy, :30). The antidote to the TV malaise that hit seniors when Matlock went into reruns, One Foot In follows the exploits of wacky seniors and their long-suffering caretakers at Shady View Retirement Home. It’s a mildly hilarious, glacier-slow comedy that paces the jokes for the older viewer, who will love characters like Terrence, the evil HMO administrator; Teddy, the flamboyantly gay, Viagra-pushing pill guy; and Heloise, the testy gastrointestinal consultant.
ABCAppalling! (reality, :30). Upping the ante established by Fear Factor and Dog Eat Dog, ABC rolls out Appalling!, where bikini- and Speedo-clad 20-somethings do battle against one another amid all manner of objectionable substances. A tug-of-war over a pool of moldering horseradish, an "egg toss" with freshly harvested buffalo testicles, and bobbing for cigarette butts in buckets of vinegar-infused bat guano are just a few of the challenges contestants will face.
FOXChicks Kick Ass! (reality, :30). From J-Lo’s Enough to Buffy, Xena and Dark Angel, everyone loves a tough female who can handle herself with the boys. Until now, though, it was all fiction. In Chicks Kick Ass!, real women with axes to grind will have a chance to sock it to their real-life tormentors — be it a spouse, boyfriend, boss, or car mechanic. "The guys will mostly take a lot of shots," said show consultant Steven Siegal, "but they get paid well, sign lots of waivers, and, let’s face it, probably have it coming."
WBSeaside (drama, :60). The lesser-known superhero small town, Seaside is to Aquaman what Smallville was to Superman. In Seaside, the teen Aquaman, while star of the swim team, struggles to gain acceptance while trying to explain the seaweed behind his ear, the hermit crab that dwells in his pocket and the motive behind his heroic campaign to shutter Seaside’s Red Lobster. His mysterious mentor, Dolphinman, leads him on a crusade against tuna fishermen in the first season while Aquaman fights for the attention of Laura Quint, a lobsterman’s daughter wrestling with her own alter ego as a mermaid.
T. Alex Miller writes from L.A.