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Fall '99: Returning Shows

We hear you.

You are out there and we hear you. You are saying, "If I read one more word about Action I will be sick." You are saying, "I've had it with Freaks and Geeks and I haven't even seen an episode." You are crying, "I don't care if The West Wing is so great it cures syphilis with only one viewing, stop touting it already!"

And we hear you. You want to know what's going to happen with the shows you already watch, the shows you've fallen in love in front of, the shows you've fed the cats to, the shows you've watched weekly with the sound and your pants off. Profiler. The X-Files. Buffy. Costello.

Oh, wait. They cancelled Costello. Right. Pants back on.

Herewith, then, is TeeVee's Guide to This Year's Returning Shows, or, as we around the office like to call it, TVGTYRS. Scrupulously researched, carefully checked, assiduously proofread, poorly named -- here it is.

The X-Files
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson consider an attempt at an acting career, but instead decide to continue speaking in monotones and looking dour in reaction shots. Everything remains inadequately explained.

The Simpsons
Homer does stupid things. The only new plot twist this season comes when you decide to watch another show.

That '70s Show
Fashions become so egregious you wish this really was a show from the '70s.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
More breasts but less Angel, who is now too cool for this shit.

Law & Order
Exactly the same as every other season but with a new cop, so you can tell what season you're watching when you catch the reruns on A&E.

Chicago Hope
Finally, another season of Mandy Patinkin's contractually required song-and-dance numbers.

King of the Hill
In an attempt to pull the show out of last year's ratings slump, Beavis and Butt-head make a cameo appearance. Just kidding! They become regulars as of Episode 3.

To make the show more easily distinguishable from The Simpsons, starting this season all the characters will be colored yellow.

Suddenly Susan
The remaining conscious viewers in the audience blearily wonder why NewsRadio was cancelled before slipping into their final comas.

Felicity gives herself a crewcut, thus guaranteeing that she'll spend the second season single.

Dawson's Creek
Expect stunningly articulate dialogue from a demographic normally known for embracing idiot rockers like Korn.

Star Trek: Voyager
The intrepid crew continues to bungle its way across the Delta Quadrant; disgrunted Trekkies continue to bitch about Janeway vs. Kirk, Picard and Sisko.

Ally McBeal
Ally has problems with her love life this year, as does everyone else at her office. Persistent, recurring hallucinations do nothing to solve said problems.

Party of Five
Having exhausted the cancer, addiction, battery and depression storylines, the Salinger family faces a new terror: Claudia's demonic possession. Nobody notices.

Beverly Hills, 90210
Those lovable Hillsters still inhabit a world where there's no relationship between cause and effect; bad hair ahead for Kelly, Donna, Dylan and Steve.

Just Shoot Me
David Spade persists as snarky office boy as his utter lack of talent goes unnoticed for the third year running; rest of cast bumbles about in mildly amusing self-centered ways.

Heartwarming drama continues to raise temperature of collective viewing public's circulatory systems; heat-related brain damage worsens. Expect hugs in the kitchen, intrafamily cryfests, touching background music.

It's like, you know...
It's like Seinfeld, you know, except with two women and on the wrong coast and on the wrong network, which will probably continue to ignore it, but only if we are very lucky.

Two Guys and a Girl and No Pizza Place
Excellent actor chemistry and comedic timing will be squandered by bad writing, even after the departure of the pizza place.

Touched by an Angel
Scores of guest stars will be convinced of the powers of a monotheistic Judeo-Christian God, while Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims in need languish.

The Practice
The homicidal eccentrics of Boston turn to Bobby Donnell's firm after being turned away from Cage, Fish Associates. Expect continued stubble from Dylan McDermott.

Brandy will struggle to convince everyone she's a flesh-and-blood actress, as opposed to an advance scout for the impending Anime invasion.

7th Heaven
Christian right-wingers and family advocates continue to approve of the show; viewers continue to watch godless 20/20.

Veronica's Closet
The alleged "actors" on this show will continue to draw breath, paychecks for at least 13 weeks.

Truth, justice, and the American way will be rescued from assorted swarthy or unpatriotic types. Old "Top Gun" footage runs out midseason and is replaced by chase scenes from The Dukes of Hazzard.

3rd Rock from the Sun
French Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Kristen Johnston continue to play wacky aliens on Earth, but their lines are drowned out by the loud smacks of John Lithgow chewing the scenery.

Ricky Schroeder will bare his bottom repeatedly; a nation of women still sitting shivah for Bobby Simone will fail to respond. Dennis Franz reprises his role as Job.

Unloveable anti-actor Norm Macdonald snarks his way through storylines as actual trained actors try vainly not to lose concentration in their scenes.

Viewers keep ratings high as they watch, week after week, for the long-awaited episode "The one where Monica finds out she's adopted, which explains why she bears no resemblance at all to Ross."

Jesse loses a family, gains a career, discovers that it's still not a decent substitute for a compelling sitcom premise.

Niles yearns after Daphne; scores of well-dressed male viewers murmur, "I can think of one reason they won't get together, honey..."

Alyssa Milano checks her slide into Red Shoe Diaries territory for another season as she and fellow cable-bound actresses provide hours of entertainment for people turned off by Sabrina, yet scared by Wicca.

Producers continue to fling actors and actresses at the show in desperate hopes that one of them sticks; expect to see the fired Chicago Hope actors hired at County General during fall sweeps.

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Melissa Joan Hart attempts to revamp wholesome witch as beguiling jailbait. Hijinks ensue.

For Your Love
Deedee Pfeiffer wonders why nepotism hasn't done a damn thing for her television career; lame plots and one-line jokes swirl over her head unnoticed.

Nash Bridges
Producer exultation over winning ratings war with critical favorite Homicide does nothing to improve quality of plots, acting.

Jamie Luner takes over for the opthamalogically challenged Ally Walker. Television gods confirm that Luner is kiss of death incarnate and cancel the show.

The Drew Carey Show
Further attempts to replace actual humor with gag episodes backfire when Christa Miller drowns during filming of all-underwater show; Craig Ferguson and Kathy Kinney actually find depths of irritation previously unplumbed.

Dharma & Greg
Too much Greg, not enough Dharma. Still.

The aging former king of family sitcoms pins his hopes on a ratings spike accompanying Lisa Bonet's return to television; audience continues to mistake the show for reruns and tunes to yet another edition of Dateline.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Second bananas Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady, and Greg Proops spend another season proving that they are vastly more talented than Drew Carey, even though he has the power to put on any show he wants, even a silly one stolen from the BBC.

Diagnosis Murder
Dick Van Dyke and company continue to provide the kind of linear plotting the elderly find missing from their everyday pointless lives.

The Jamie Foxx Show
Professional irritant Jamie Foxx attempts to set the cause of race relations back thirty years after only managing fifteen years last season.

Walker, Texas Ranger
Chuck Norris and company continue to provide the kind of linear plotting too shameless even for Diagnosis Murder. Elderly Chuck kicks ass, thus fulfilling major fantasies of Social Security crowd.

The Pretender
Jarod poses as a TV programming executive who green-lights further seasons of insipid action-adventure slop.

Martial Law
In a fit of pique, the ample Sammo Hung eats his remaining costars; Arsenio Hall proves indigestible.

Family Guy
Baby Stewie murders his dimwitted brother in a midseason two-parter; the family dog has the house torched with the family still inside, and goes on a mad bitch-humping spree with the insurance money. Oh, and lots of strange non sequitur tangents.

Early Edition
In a very special episode, Gary has his subscription cancelled.

7 Days
In a very special episode, Parker goes back in time 7 days and cancels Gary's newspaper subscription.

The King of Queens
In a controversial cross-over episode for November sweeps, Doug and Ray Barrone agree to swap wives.

Everybody Loves Raymond
In a controversial episode for November sweeps, Frank and Marie agree to an open marriage. Special guest stars: Bea Arthur, Abe Vigoda.

The series scores its highest rating ever when one fan of the comic strip accidentally surfs by UPN while the show is on. "Hey, it's a TV show about Dilbert," the fan will say. "But how come he has a mouth?"

Spin City
Scandal hits city hall when the mayor is caught en flagrante delicto with a zäftig intern played by special guest star Mindy Cohn. Mike continues to, gallingly, score better-looking chicks than he has any right to in real life.

Will & Grace
After inadvertently stumbling into a meeting of Promise Keepers, Will decides he's "through with this gay crap." In a gripping two parter, Grace combs her hair.

During sweeps, Ted Danson breaks character, announces he is a "narcissistic hack" and attempts to euthanize himself with a bottle of Drano.

Boy Meets World
In a 12-part story arc called "Boy Kills World", Cory, angry after after Topanga refuses to marry him, begins murdering, with ruthless precision, every character on the show.

Sports Night
ABC, realizing it inadvertently renewed a high-quality show, delays the second season premiere while it figures out a way to kill off the program.

Malcolm & Eddie
Bill Cosby makes an appearance and gives Malcolm a stern talking to. Lisa Bonet makes an appearance and gives Malcolm an ugly shirt. Viewers suffering from extreme deja vu go out and vote for George Bush.

The Hughleys
Eric Stoltz joins the cast as a mentally-challenged klansman who moves into the Hughleys' garage and brings a new perspective to this interracial suburban sitcom. Expect guest appearances by Louis Farrakhan and Martin Luther King III.

The Steve Harvey Show
Steve Harvey keeps right on doing, uh, whatever exactly it is he does on his show. Viewership remains at precisely zero.

Additional contributions to this article by: Chris Rywalt, Lisa Schmeiser.


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