Volume 91, Issue 16

Wednesday, September 24, 1997

Beep beep


'Tis the season for new shows

Turning on the television may be a turn-on for viewers this season, with a step in the direction of originality in the immediate forecast.

Old shows are taking new angles for their premieres. ER, for instance, has decided to take its premiere to a new level tomorrow – live. Broadcasting a prime-time hour-long drama live hasn't occurred since the 1960s and is something to look forward to. The least that could happen is the show runs as flawlessly as ever. Many people will be checking their medical textbooks, though, to see if Mr. Clooney and the cast make any mistakes.

The cliff-hanger nightmares are coming to an end as the premieres of Friends (tomorrow), X-Files and The Profiler (Nov. 1) draw nearer. Will Mulder live? Is this finally the end of Ross and Rachel? And does the Jack of all Trades succeed in his plot to get Sam? The famed cliff-hanger ploy has captivated viewers through the years who waited patiently to see who shot J.R. and who the bomb at Melrose Place killed. Then there was the incessant promotion of the Buchman baby on Mad About You and what they would name their long-awaited baby.

The promotions for sitcoms show the big three U.S. cable stations are looking to pull viewers back for the next season with new gimmicks and advertising beginning long before the season starts. NBC, ABC and CBS, in fear of HBO, Fox and UPN are pushing their shows more than ever. Perhaps this will eventually lead to better programming, but it may be a technicolour dream.

With the new season came the return of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Sept. 16) and Xena: Warrior Princess (Sept. 23). For those who don't know anything about either show, here is a synopsis: a continuation of the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer has gone to the small screen. After burning down her high school, Buffy, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, transfers to a new school that ironically is on the mouth of hell. After slaying the Master, what demons can Buffy possibly destroy this season? We can only wait.

Xena: Warrior Princess, is a show based in Ancient Greece but is shot in New Zealand and explores the world of evil friendship and leather bodices. Xena, played by Lucy Lawless, has become a big hit. From left to right this show goes into everything and along the way Xena kicks some major butt.

Despite attracting mainstream audiences, Buffy and Xena have found more success than even the gods could have dreamed. The idea of cult shows is a theme that has developed over the past two television seasons and should continue into the next. Perhaps having begun with shows like Star Trek and Babylon 5 (premiering in January), more programs are heading to the arenas for conventions and onto the Internet for live chats.

New shows that look like they may have staying power include Veronica's Closet (from the creators of Cheers),Dharma and Greg and Brooklyn South. Veronica's Closet stars Kirsty Alley as an aging supermodel that owns a lingerie line. Dharma and Greg is a sitcom that tells the tale of a hippie's daughter marrying a blue-blooded boy – just the premise is a good laugh. Lastly, from the creators of Hill Street Blues and the writers of NYPD Blue comes Brooklyn South – more cops on the beat trying to keep their lives going.

Needless to say, the best place to be this fall is on the couch, sitting with a large ice tea, some Crispers and tuning into your favourite shows. The reruns are almost over folks, time to get your clicker ready to either turn it up or to turn it off. Either way, television hasn't been this exciting since Monty Burns was shot on the Simpsons.

–Sarah Thompson

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997