Entertainment
Behold the mighty picture box in all of its televisual glory! Comrades, the future is ours!
Chris Ostrowski

Television Preview: Maximizing the boob-tube

The Gauntlet's comprehensive guide to wasting your life vegging out in front of the holy box

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After a summer of lame reruns and a long string of reality shows that never should have seen the light of day, fall heralds not only the start of a new school year, but a whole slate of brand new and returning TV shows sure to rot your brain faster than an Ichiban-and-beer diet can give you scurvy. One must be aware though, for amongst the slate of new programming are many bad eggs. There is always a dearth of new programs with poor premises, untalented actors in their casts, and plots retread from once-popular shows. Returning shows also promise to fill your screens with crap, some of them refusing to be cancelled. With a little effort these stinkers can be avoided with ease.

NEW SHOWS

Worth a Try

Inconceivable (NBC/CTV)

First there was a show about the ER, then there was a show about two plastic surgeons, and now we've got a show about a series of clients at a fertility clinic--the trifecta is complete! (The fertilization begins Fri., Sep. 23)

Prison Break (Fox/Global)

A man tries to bust his brother out of a maximum-security prison because he feels his sibling is innocent. It is definitely a legal option to explore provided you're confident you can flee the country. (The breakout began Mon., Aug. 29)

Close to Home (CBS/CTV)

A madman locks his family in a basement as a cop tries to chase him down. It's like Law and Order crossed with Desperate Housewives, with a few explosions to up the awesome quota to insanely awesome. (The neighborhood gets closer Tue., Oct. 4)

Ghost Whisperer (CBS/CTV)

Okay, so it stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as a medium who can see the dead so it might not be the best thing in the world but it's worth a look before it's potentially buried six feet under. (The next life begins Fri., Sep. 23)

Invasion (ABC/CTV)

A family in crisis is forced to deal with what may be an alien invasion. Though because this is a TV show named Invasion it most certainly is an alien invasion. It's any one's guess how the rest of the planet deals with those pesky aliens. (The encounter begins Mon., Sep. 21)

Dead On Arrival

The Apprentice: Martha Stewart (NBC)

Will her catchphrase be "That was your last souffle?" Will she somehow get a comb-over? Thanks, but no thanks, Martha. (Breaking out of jail Mon., Sep. 21)

What About Brian (ABC)

If you have seen the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin, you've seen this show. It's another one about some swinging single in a sea of married couples. Haven't we met and gone on a few dates before? (Premieres mid-season 2006)

Kitchen Confidential (FOX)

"Chef" Anthony Bourdain's books come to TV. Think Gordon Ramsay (from Hell's Kitchen), throw in more temper and a lot less skill, and you've got the recipe for this stinker. Send it back to the kitchen! (Flops a souffle Mon., Sep. 19)

The War at Home (FOX)

A clone of Malcolm in the Middle plopped into the middle of the Sunday night animation block, just like Malcolm in the Middle used to be. Weird. (Copies itself into existence Sun., Sep. 11)

Head Cases (Fox)

A high-power lawyer comes out of therapy with no job, no wife, no life, and a psycho civil suit lawyer tagging along like Pikachu does with the capped kid on Pokemon, except with much less furry animals fighting. No. (Meet your crazy attorney on Wed., Sep. 15)

RETURNING SHOWS

Not to be missed

CSI (CBS/CTV)

Good old crime scene drama from every major city in the states. Put your money on Boise for the next spin off. (Returns from AWOL Mon., Sep. 19 (Miami), Wed., Sep. 21(New York), Thu., Sep. 22(Las Vegas))

24 (fox/Global)

You have to wonder what the US government will do this time to screw itself so badly that it will once again require the "deceased" Jack Bauer to come back from the dead, AKA Mexico. (Returns mid-season 2006)

Veronica Mars (CTV)

A young girl and her father are investigators looking a bit too deep in a supposedly idyllic community teeming with skeleton in every closet. (No date has been set currently by CTV)

Survivor: Guatemala (CBS/Global)

Nothing beats watching another bunch of yahoos and yuppies plopped in the middle of nowhere making fools of themselves. As long as there are rednecks in the world this show will never get old! (Returns Thu., Sep. 15)

Corner Gas (CTV)

Dog River, Saskatchewan may be small in size, but it is definitely not small on the laughs it provides. Hooray for decent Canadian programming! (Dog River reappears on the map Mon., Sep. 19)

Wishful cancellation

Malcolm in the Middle (Fox/Global)

After so many seasons of Frankie Muniz's face, it's time for little Malcolm to grow up and leave our television screens for good. Child stars are only watchable while they're still children. (Season seven graduates to Fridays beginning Sep. 30)

American Idol 5 (Fox/CTV)

After five seasons this show still hasn't produced any legitimate stars since Kelly Clarkson. (Returns mid-season 2006)

The Office (NBC)

Even with former Daily Show correspondent Steve Carell at the helm as the Boss, this is still a poor rip-off of the BBC series of the same name. Close this branch down! (Season two punches in on Tue., Sep. 20)

The Bachelor (ABC/CityTV) So far, none of the seven bachelors have ended their bachelorhood. What makes anyone think that the eighth one will be different? (Returns mid-season 2006)

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC/Global) Clearly, this show is just a Sears ad in disguise with screechy prima donna-slash-pretty boy Ty Pennington at the helm, crossed with a bit of Trading Spaces. (Two-hour season premiere unveils season three on Sun., Sep. 25)

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