More reviews of the new fall shows are trickling in….
“Men in Trees” (Fridays, ABC): Anne Heche, far more cute and likable than I would have suspected, plays a relationship coach who — get this — HAS TROUBLE WITH HER OWN RELATIONSHIPS!! I know, it’s crazy. So crazy it just … might … work. After her fiance cheats on her and dumps her, she flees to Elmo, Alaska, an isolated little town that’s just the place for her to clear her head and start over. Jokes about how backward the place is abound (They don’t know what soy lattes or spinning classes are! If she uses a hair dryer, it short-circuits the whole building!), and that sort of thing gets old pretty fast for me. But it’s a perky show, “Northern Exposure” meets “Ally McBeal,” and quite harmless. Let’s face it, if you’re home on Fridays nights, you might as well be watching a show about someone who can’t get a date either. TiVo verdict: Meh. It’s not for me.
“Smith” (Tuesdays, CBS): Ray Liotta plays a thief (art, jewels, etc.) whose wife and children think he’s just a regular ol’ corporate businessman. He has a team of heist-meisters who assist him in his grand operations, which in the pilot episode included ripping off a Chicago museum, and they all have personal lives of their own and oh WOW do I ever not care. I made it through half of the first episode before I quit. Evidently we’re supposed to find these people interesting solely because they’re criminals who lead double lives. But guess what? Characters have to say or do something noteworthy, funny, unusual, clever or dazzling in order for us to find them interesting. And these people speak generic dialogue about generic things, and don’t even seem to be enjoying themselves while they do it. TiVo verdict: It would be an insult to my TiVo to make it record this show.
“Jericho” (Wednesdays, CBS): Who says the apocalypse can’t be fun? Skeet Ulrich plays a 32-year-old guy who returns home to Jericho, Kan., after an unexplained five-year absence. The next day, a mushroom cloud is seen in faraway Denver, and all of Jericho’s communications technology ceases to function. What the sam hill is going on? Is it war? An accident? An attack? I really liked Gerald McRaney as Skeet’s dad, also the town’s mayor, trying to urge calm and reason among the citizens before panic sets in and the casualties begin. I like the idea of the show, and the general level of excitement in the first episode entices me to keep with it. TiVo verdict: Season Pass, at least for now.
“Kidnapped” (Wednesdays, NBC): After just one episode I already like this better than Fox’s generic “Vanished.” A millionaire’s teenage son is abducted and the millionaire calls in a specialist, a freelancer named Knapp (Jeremy Sisto) who specializes in, um, getting kidnapped people back. The cops and the FBI will just screw it up, the reasoning goes. Knapp GETS THE JOB DONE. Already cool, but then “Kidnapped” kicks it up a notch by bringing the FBI in anyway: The kid’s bodyguard was wounded in the abduction, which caught the attention of an FBI buddy of his (Delroy Lindo), and now the Feds are involved, like it or not. The FBI and Knapp butt heads over procedure, while I presume details about the family’s past will illuminate clues as to the culprit’s identity. The creator/writer is Jason Smilovic, whose “Karen Sisco” was an unwatched gem a few years ago and whose recent film “Lucky Number Slevin” is worth watching. “Kidnapped” feels smarter and more intriguing than its plain premise (it’s just a kidnapping, after all) would suggest. Minus points for using a song by 3 Doors Down in the pilot. You might just as well stab chopsticks in my ears.TiVo verdict: Me likey. Season Pass.