Friday, October 15

Sunday Night Special - ABC is bringing the fun back in a way that's been missing since, well, since Melrose Place went off the air. And perhaps not coincidentally, Marcia Cross, the psycho Kimberly Shaw of MP, is one of the stars in the new apple of ABC's eye, Desperate Housewives. While Cross may be suffering from a bit of (highly effective) typecasting, co-star Terri Hatcher has been cast against type, in a surprisingly likeable role. Hatcher is probably best known for her work on Lois and Clark (or maybe her deplorable Radio Shack commercials with Howie Long), but I'll always remember her most fondly as a bitchy scene stealer in Soapdish. Her portrayal of a somewhat awkward but sweet divorcee has won me over. Eva Longoria plays the character I had expected Hatcher to portray, a pampered but discontented woman, having an affair with her hot underage gardener.

The creator of Desperate Housewives, Marc Cherry, owes a debt of gratitude to the Alan Ball oeuvre of the underside of life in a cul-de-sac. But Cherry's prior work on The Golden Girls is apparant in that DH has a greater emphasis on the humor side of black humor as compared to American Beauty or Six Feet Under.

The series has not only lifted ABC's Sunday night numbers (which doesn't bode especially well for Alias) but it has also caused NBC to dig up a copycat series. But in addition to fans, Desperate Housewives already has some opponents--and you know if One Million Moms comes out against something, it's likely to pique my interest.

Another Sunday night series that's captured my attention is The WB's Jack & Bobby, which was panned, sight unseen, by John earlier this TV season. I wholeheartedly disagree with the dismissal of this well-produced, well-acted and intelligent, albeit gimmicky, new show.

Jack & Bobby is set in the present day, but the audience knows that the character of Bobby will go on to become President of the United States in 2041. Occasionally, flash-forward segments will bookend the current-day action, giving us insight into how the events we saw will one day influence the President. Yes, it's a little bit schlocky and a perfect opportunity for stunt casting (second item). But, I grudgingly admit that the gimmick does show a glimmer of creativity, and I hope that it will be used judiciously.

Created by a former Clinton staffer and produced by Greg Berlanti of The Broken Hearts Club and Dawson's, I think one-hour teen dramas continue to stake their claim on The WB (Excepting One Tree Hill, of course...that show sucks).