We watch... so you don't have to.

Dead Pool '98: Greg Knauss


3. Brother's Keeper. The fact that I almost nodded off just now, trying to type the name of this rotting pile of offal, gives you some clue as to how long Brother's Keeper will last if there is an ounce of justice left in this wrung-out world. The sheer, crushing weight of Keeper's banality will cause it to collapse in on itself, creating a singularity so inconsequential that everything -- including the attention of the six or seven viewers who stumble across it -- will not only escape, but immediately forget that such a thing ever existed.

A description of Brother's Keeper reads like a weak parody of every sitcom cliche to huff down the pike in the past fifteen years. And if all those shows are mercifully decomposing in unmarked pauper's graves, then a fresh helping of the same old crap doesn't even deserve glancing consideration, much less millions of dollars and half an hour of network time that could be better spent broadcasting dead air. At least static sometimes makes amusing patterns.

Hey, ABC: If the most original thing about your show is that the pitch ends with "...and he's a place-kicker!" then you should just pack it up and head back to the farm, because your next idea -- "...and he's a monkey!" -- has already been done.

Of course, if inconsequence and tedium were the only thing marking television shows for death these days, the gutters would run thick with blood. Brother's Keeper also has the baggage of a time slot to drag to its grave. The only people who haven't seen the likes of Brother's Keeper a million times before -- toddlers -- are in bed by 9:30 on Friday night. Teens will be busy lying in a pool of their own urine at that hour. And adults will likely opt for, gosh, freakin' anything but one more adorable child. Even old people who have nodded off will finish watching the hour-long shows that they started thirty minutes earlier.

Which basically leaves place-kickers as the only people in America who will bother with Brother's Keeper. And those bastards at Nielsen always under count them.

2. Wind on the Water. There is a billboard on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, just south of the 10, that's owned by some toothy designer/perfumer/bon vivant named "Bijan." He features himself in a new pose every few months, grinning or smoking cigars or standing with Michael Jordan or just generally being tan and rich and ha-ha-you-little-people-amuse-me smug.

About a year or so ago, he appeared on a new version of the sign with Bo Derek, and the only reason I remember this is she was damned near naked. That sort of thing is startling, an enormous nearly-naked woman suddenly looming above you on the freeway. Bo looks pretty good for someone well into her 70s.

Or at least she did on a billboard. Where -- I note for those of you who don't realize these sorts of things on your own -- she didn't move, and didn't speak, and didn't act. Didn't do anything, really, but stand there in her underwear and stare vacantly. Which, based on my limited knowledge of her body of work (and thus her body), appears to be what she does best.

But the Widow Derek is only one reason to dread the coming of Wind on the Water. The shameless fart joke I've been trying not to make about its name is another. As are the "extreme sports," the Saturday night timeslot, the Hawaiian setting, the complete lack of promotion, the whole cattle ranch thing, the inevitable romantic subplot, the jousting siblings, and the animatronic, moldering corpse of Lee Horsley. I keep waiting for the press release announcing that Wind on the Water is a prank.

And waiting, and waiting, and waiting... It can't possibly be real, can it?

1. To Have and To Hold. There are publicity-seeking mob informants that have a better chance of lasting through October than To Have and to Hold. The show looks to have all the terrible momentum of a train wreck, where things are just moving so fast -- so terribly, horribly fast -- that they can see the school bus across the tracks ahead but they can't stop in time. TH&TH has so many strikes against it, CBS has to be dropping it on the blood-stained altar of the new season as an offering to the hungry, vengeful TV gods, in hopes that it will sate their appetites and let the rest of the new line-up live.

I haven't seen one ad, one sign, one mention of To Have and To Hold from CBS -- the network that's actually proud of Walker, Texas Ranger. This bodes ill in ways too numerous to count. When I phoned CBS for comment, a spokesman denied the show's existence, dismissing it as a "rumor," which he attributed to "that bastard Littlefield."

Even the title sucks. If you can't past the first five words of the script without making your audience cringe, you're not going to have a whole lot of luck with the next sixty pages. The copyright notice is probably badly written. Even the show's abbreviation -- TH&TH, or "thandth" -- is awkward. If this show manages any fans, they're going to spend their little gatherings spitting all over each other, just trying to get the name of the show out.

But it's silly to worry about that, since the show won't manage any fans, ever. Nobody will watch it, including the cast and the crew. Because, Lord, if there's ever a time for vaguely interesting shows appealing to a wide range of people on that shitbox called the TV, it's Wednesday at 9. Geeks will watch Voyager. Teens and lonely, lonely men with watch Party of Five. Spastic simpletons will watch 3rd Rock. People actually looking for comedy will watch Drew Carey. And the rest will watch Charmed, or Shannen Doherty will come over and kill their cat. That leaves invalids who can't blink their distress fast enough for the nurse to notice as the target audience for To Have and To Hold.

Of course, a week later, they'll have learned when to request their morphine.


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