US TV

Preview: Heroes

Heroes

In the US: Mondays 9/8c, NBC. Starts September 25, 2006
In the UK: Not yet acquired, although Channel 4 is most likely to pick it up

After last year’s sci-fi ‘dump’, where virtually every new drama commissioned by the US networks – Invasion, Surface, Threshold, etc – had an SF theme, it’s interesting to note that NBC’s Heroes is more or less the only new SF show this time round. Even then, it qualifies more as fantasy than SF, since it follows a group of ordinary super-heroes – if there is such a thing – rather than aliens or some other sci-fi staple. It’s not very original and clearly owes The 4400 a debt or two, but it’s actually pretty good.

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US TV

Preview: Our Thirties

Our Thirties

In the US: ABC, not yet scheduled (although TV.com reckons 1st September)

In the UK: Not yet acquired

Last sitcom of the day, Our Thirties (aka Our 30’s) is another Friends ‘homage’. Its simple premise is that people in their 30s have already done interesting things and have plenty of back-story, so a sitcom about a group of 30-year-olds will therefore be interesting. Plus kids are all on the Internet these days, leaving only people in their 30s watching tele.

It’s not a theory that holds much water. But Our 30’s does have one saving grace – Peter Serafinowicz. Yes, the voice of Darth Maul and star of Look Around You, Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and numerous other fabulous British comedies has made his way across the Atlantic to appear in a US sitcom. And doesn’t he do well?

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US TV

Preview: The Angriest Man in Suburbia

The Angriest Man in Suburbia

In the US: CBS, but no air date yet

In the UK: Not yet acquired

Ah, after The Class, we have another CBS sitcom. This one isn’t quite as interesting. In fact, it’s altogether tepid. So tepid, in fact, that CBS haven’t yet decided if they want to air it (it’ll probably be a mid-season replacement if one of the other shows commits suicide), and no one in the UK has acquired it yet.

The basic set-up is that a house-husband who stays at home and looks after the kids while his (literally) high-flying wife goes off and wins the bread is frustrated by the fundamental injustices of life: women who hold up queues by talking on their mobile phones for too long; being called “Mister Mum”. You know, really serious stuff.

So angry is he that he starts to hallucinate his car’s satnav system giving him advice on how to stress-down. That’s how angry he is. Ooh.

And that’s more or less it. Slightly dorky husband; smarter, infinitely patient wife who puts up with his gaucheness – you’ve seen it all before in Everyone Loves Raymond and King of Queens, to name but two.

If this ever sees the light of day, expect either significant changes or a run of three shows at most. But don’t waste precious eyeball time on it, whatever you do.

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US TV

Preview: The Class

In the US: Monday, 8.30pm, CBS. Starting in the fall.
In the UK: Not yet acquired.

Time for some sitcoms I think. First up, The Class.

Watching The Class, you’ll get an eerie sense of Friends déjà vu. If you look at the production credits, you’ll understand why.

The show’s set-up is relatively simple. A guy who wants to propose to his childhood sweetheart decides it might be nice to have a party with as many of their third-grade compatriots as he can gather together. So he tracks them down, invites them to the party and before you know it, a motley collection of 27-year-olds who all knew each other 20 years previously is assembled in the front room.

That’s pretty much the premise for the show: a minor school reunion that ends up with everyone staying in touch and becoming sort-of friends again. The hook is in how much they have (or haven’t) changed, what old romances might re-ignite and so on.

It’s actually pretty good. I laughed and most of the characters were at least intriguing and not utterly off-putting – always a good sign.

Most of the cast are unknowns, apart from another Joey-escapee, Andrea Anders, who’ll probably be one of the main focuses for the show. Most of them aren’t great, but given something less sit-comy to do, they may turn out good in later episodes.

As for the Friends déjà vu, it’s directed by Cheers-creator James Burrows, who did an awful lot of work on Friends as well. It’s also the work of David Crane, one of the co-creators of Friends. All in all, with the slight exception of The Loop, it’s actually the most promising US sitcom I’ve seen since, well, Friends.

Definitely one to watch should a UK channel pick it up. For more info, check the CBS web site.

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US TV

Preview: Jericho

Jericho

In the US: Wednesdays 8pm ET/PT, CBS. Starting in the Fall.

In the UK: Hallmark has first-run rights, with ITV getting second-run rights

While ABC may have looked at Lost and only spotted the soap opera elements (cf the review of The Nine), CBS has gone for something a lot closer. Jericho has soapiness, but it also has a far more intriguing mystery as well as the isolation of Lost. I think this one stands a good chance of running for a while.

The lure? Possible nuclear war.

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