TV Article

Show and Tell

What to expect from the Fall 2004 TV season -- EW takes a look at the good (''Jack & Bobby'' and ''Joey'') and the bad (''American Dad'' and ''Medical Investigation'')

After watching clips of new series at the networks' recent fall-lineup presentations, I feel prepared to offer some insta-assessments.

MOST PROMISING

Jack & Bobby (The WB) Not the Kennedys, but one of these young men (Matt Long and Logan Lerman) will grow up to be President. That's the premise of this present-day drama about two high-school-age brothers, in a show from Greg Berlanti (''Everwood'') and Thomas Schlamme (''The West Wing''). It glows with warmth stoked by a fiery Christine Lahti (''Chicago Hope'') as the boys' single mom.

Desperate Housewives (ABC) ''Twin Peaks'' corpse Sheryl Lee dies again (a suicide) but keeps track of her neighborhood, peeking into the homes of Felicity Huffman, Teri Hatcher, and Marcia Cross. Looks like good, black-humored fun.

Joey (NBC) Matt LeBlanc does what he knows best, with ''The Sopranos''' Drea de Matteo performing comedy adroitly as his sister. If the boob-job jokes disappear, this spin-off will have liftoff.

Kevin Hill (UPN) Taye Diggs stars as a savvy single lawyer who foster-fathers the 6-month-old daughter of his cousin. Sounds corny, but Diggs radiates disarming charm without smarm.

Wife Swap (ABC) Finally, a reality show that's less smutty than it sounds. Two households exchange wife/mothers for 10 days; each woman imposes her own values and orders on the new clan. The culture-shock clips were a riot.

LEAST PROMISING

Medical Investigation (NBC) A.k.a. Generic TV Show. Tagline: ''They don't just solve mysteries, they save lives.'' My line: They don't just bore you, they flatline.

The Benefactor (ABC) A real guy who owns a basketball team (Mark Cuban) gives away money. Like, to 16 contestants vying for a million. Hey, ABC, there was a fictional show like this in the '50s called ''The Millionaire''; it was better than the clips of this air ball.

American Dad (Fox) This early-'05 cartoon about a dumbo suburban CIA-agent father from Seth (''Family Guy'') MacFarlane is looking like a federal crime.

Hawaii (NBC) A.k.a. Generic Tropical Cop Show, this one starring ''The Terminator'''s Michael Biehn and the ubiquitous Eric Balfour (''The O.C.,'' ''24,'' ''Six Feet Under'').

Listen Up (CBS) Tony Kornheiser is a terrific humorist and a stitch on ESPN's ''Pardon the Interruption,'' but you, Jason Alexander, are no Tony Kornheiser in this pallid-looking version of the writer's life.

Originally posted Jun 04, 2004 Published in issue #768 Jun 04, 2004 Order article reprints