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

U! P! N!

There aren't many new shows on UPN. The network only programs two hours a day, doesn't do weekends, and Friday is a movie. So once you figure that Thursday is given over to WWE Smackdown! (exclamation point included, as per law) and there are a couple sitcoms that didn't get cancelled (The Parkers and One by One), you're pretty much out of space. Even so, they've decided not to bring back a whole lot of shows.

First, of course, is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The beloved series ends seven years on the air, the last two of which were on UPN and really sucked. The big question was whether UPN would try to hold onto the Buffy demographic, or let them go on the theory that they've probably all been alienated by the show itself. The answer, as it happens, is that they're going to be throwing terrible half-hour comedies at the wall in the blind hope that something will stick.

They're also not bringing back Twilight Zone, possibly because it got lower ratings than the Sci-Fi channel's reruns of the original version. Apparently, not everyone finds Forrest Whittaker as creepy as I do. And did you ever see Platinum? It was pretty good, although I'm basing that opinion on having watched the first half of two episodes. Still, that's more than anyone else saw. Also cancelled were Haunted and Abby, about which I know nothing. They could be making up the show names for all I know.

Okay, let's get to the new stuff.

The first thing that UPN hopes you will find funny and easy to relate to is All of Us, a show based on the lives of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. You know, like the difficulties inherent in being young, fabulously wealthy, and absurdly talented. Frankly, I didn't even know people were sitting around laughing at the Smiths' problems. Although I have to admit I got a chuckle at the idea that Will was going back to the "Bad Boys" well, presumably in an attempt to wash the taste of "Wild Wild West" out of people's minds.

Oh, wait. It seems the show will be a bit more ordinary than I thought. There's a guy with a child and an ex-wife, and he's got a new girlfriend, so the Situation (which will lead to Comedy) is that he's trying to build a new life while still keeping his ex-wife involved in his child's life. In what may be a first for television, this actually isn't ridiculous. I know at least two people in that situation, which is two more than the number of teeny black orphans I know that got adopted by rich white families.

Dropping farther down the ladder is The Mullets. It seems there's a family of dumb people, and they've got mullets, and there's Loni Anderson. And the big joke is that they're all idiots. Whoopee.

In the Inevitable Star Vehicle, we've got Eve in The Opposite Sex. She plays a total hottie who tries to go on dates and work while assisted by wacky friends.

Then there's Rock Me Baby. Dan Cortese has somehow forced his way back on television, and he's playing a thinly-disguised version of Howard Stern. He's a radio shock jock with a wife, and he has to balance his duty to his job (his boss insists he be "edgier") and his duty to his wife (his wife would prefer he cut back on the stupid gross stuff). Because this is a television show, the stupid gross stuff will obviously win out. Say, have you noticed how often television characters have to "balance" stuff? Eve has to balance dating and work, Dan Cortese has to balance his home life and his professional obligation to lower the common denominator, and the guy playing Will Smith has to balance his girlfriend and his ex-wife. I don't know if anyone's balancing anything in The Mullets, but I wouldn't be surprised.

There's also one new drama, because after all, they've got to put something on after Enterprise. And that something is called Jake 2.0, which sounds to me like they thought of it over drinks the night before the announcement was due.

"Okay, so there's this guy Jake, right? And he's a computer geek."

"I hate it."

"Wait! Let me finish! And there are these things called 'nanites,' which are really tiny robots, and they infest his body and give him superpowers."

"Now we're getting somewhere!"

"So the government makes him the center of a... I don't know, a special-ops team or something. With a doctor and a chick and his roommate, and some other people. Yeah!"

"But if he's a computer geek, doesn't that mean the show's got to have a lot of typing?"

"No, because, see, the nanites let him, like, communicate with computers. Telepathically. And that way we don't need the typing."

And so on. If you ask me, it all sounds suspiciously like Automan. Which would be great!

So after all that, UPN's schedule is all sitcoms on Monday and Tuesday, Enterprise and Automan 2.0 on Wednesday, Pro Wrestling on Thursday, and a movie on Friday. To the extent that they've got a brand identity, I guess it's that they've got more African-Americans than other channels. Too bad most of the shows are so bad.


TeeVee - About Us - Archive - Where We Are Now

Got a comment? Mail us at teevee@teevee.org.

* * *