Here’s a sneak peek at the new fall TV shows
Okay, summer hasn’t even officially started and I’m already tired of all the reruns on TV. Sure, we’ve got CBS’ ”Survivor,” but that’s only one hour a week, and I need a little more entertainment than that. TV fanatics who are equally restless can while away the next few months mulling over some of the new shows heading to the networks this fall (hey, it’s never too early). Judging by the pilot tapes I’ve seen, some of these series may be more worth the wait than others.
Bette (CBS, Wednesdays, 8 p.m.) God only knows why Bette Midler, who continues to make a mint with films and flashy stage shows, wants to do a sitcom, but at least she’s sticking with what she knows. Miss M plays Miss M in all her hyperactive, overly theatrical glory -? living the life of a big star while residing with a typical for TV family (husband, kids, publicist, etc.). So if you like Bette, then you’ll like ”Bette” ?- although you may, like me, be a little creeped out by her new, unnaturally svelte look.
Gilmore Girls (The WB, Thursdays, 8 p.m.) The frog network is understandably high on this show, featuring Lauren Graham (currently appearing on NBC’s burn-off series ”M.Y.O.B.”) as a mother so young, she and her adolescent daughter (Alexis Bledel) are usually mistaken for sisters. Graham has an ease with comedy and offers the network some slightly more mature charm than that of the other WB girls, and ”Gilmore” is a pitch-perfect attempt at a young ADULT dramedy for the teencentric network. (”Jack and Jill” doesn’t count; those boneheads are more juvenile than the ”7th Heaven” twins.)
The Steven Weber Show (tentatively re-titled ”Cursed”) (NBC, Thursdays, 8:30 p.m.) Here’s what you need to know: This dull comedy features a vaguely likable TV star (”Wings” vet Weber) looking put-upon in a variety of contrived settings, while surrounded by a variety of irritating costars (including ”Caroline in the City” vet Amy Pietz). In other words, it’s time to walk the dog.
The Fugitive (CBS, Fridays, 8 p.m.) Another ”Wings” alum, Tim Daly, takes on the now familiar role of Dr. Richard Kimble in this perfectly competent, well-produced action hour. That said, after the legendary 1960s series starring David Janssen and blockbuster 1993 movie with Harrison Ford, how long are folks going to remain interested in this story? Yes, it’s a conceptually perfect idea for a TV series, but at some point the reinventions cease to be compelling. I don’t think we’re there yet, however, so CBS probably has a hit on its hands.
Dark Angel (Fox, Tuesdays, 9 p.m.) I was really not looking forward to yet another postapocalyptic sci-fi drama, even if this one is produced by James Cameron. But lo an behold, the pilot for ”Angel” (cowritten by Cameron) is actually very cool. The supremely attractive Jessica Alba plays Max, an escaped government-engineered warrior who’s hiding out as a bike messenger in a ruinous postnuclear society. When she’s not searching for her fellow petri dish pals, she’s reluctantly teaming with a rich freedom fighter/guerrilla journalist (Michael Weatherly) to help the oppressed. It’s slick, expensive looking fun, and Alba is fine as a Lara Croft-type badass with a nice ass. Let’s just hope Fox gives it more of a chance than it did ”Harsh Realm.”