Friday, January 04, 2008

Gladiators Ready!

This weekend sees the revival of one of the guilty pleasures of my youth - the return of "American Gladiators" (NBC, Sun., 9 p.m.) to the airwaves.

Yes, I was a fan of the original "AG." And why not? If shows like "Jeopardy" can test the minds of the average American, why not have a show that tests them physically? Besides, seeing the average American get pummelled by 250-pound guys named Laser and Nitro is a helluva lot of fun.

I remember one episode of the old series in which they had international contestants and there was this 275-pound Olympic weightlifter from Sweden or Norway who absolutely flattened the gladiators. Ah, memories.

I worry that the new version, with hosts Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali, will be too glitzy because it's now on network TV rather than syndication, and with the Hulkster on board, the gladiators might become wrestling-like caricatures where half the show is people yelling into the camera.

I hope not. It would cut down on the pummeling time.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: There may be a writers' strike going on, but some of TV's most talked-about shows are starting the weekend with new episodes.

"Friday Night Lights" (NBC, 9 p.m.) is new tonight and next week, as the Dillon Panthers get some unwanted guests as a rival team's school is destroyed by a tornado and the teams must share facilities. Needless to say, that doesn't go over well. Meanwhile, Landry continues to try to define his relationship with Tyra, and Tim Riggins moves in with the Taylors, leading to a lot of fun moments. And, next week, Smash and his family continue to be overwhelmed by college recruiters. It's followed by a new "Las Vegas" at 10 p.m.

"Women's Murder Club" (ABC, 9 p.m.) is brand-new tonight.

Also new tonight is the return of "Flash Gordon" (Sci-Fi, 8 p.m.) and "Stargate: Atlantis" (Sci-Fi, 10 p.m.) Meanwhile, Lifetime reveals its all-new reality lineup with "Look Good Naked" (Life, 9 p.m.), followed by "Matched in Manhattan" at 9:30 and two episodes of "Top This Party."

As for the weekend, one of TV's most acclaimed dramas is back as "The Wire" (HBO, 9 p.m.) kicks off its final season.

While I believe its the only new episode left in the can, "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 9 p.m.) answers who lived and who didn't in the aftermath of the tornado cliffhanger (what is it with tornado subplots? Do the housewives also move in with the Dillon Panthers?)

Also on Sunday, Fox gives us a new "Simpsons," "King of the Hill" and "American Dad," but not a new "Family Guy." CBS is brand-new with "The Amazing Race," "Cold Case" and "Shark." VCR ALERT: With the NFL playoffs, expect all of these shows to not start on time.


zodin2008 said...


It's safe to say, that if the 'Housewives' moved in with the Dillon Panthers, it would take about half an episode for Tim Riggins to end up in bed with Gabby Solis. ;-)

I am so grateful to have "FNL" back, by the way. As episodes continue to run dry, these last few become precious commodities.

I was also a huge fan of "American Gladiators" and I also watched wrestling as a kid. Let's face it, with new scripted Television drying up, why not bring back something like AG and have some fun with it? Next cheesy 80's action I would like to see brought back has to be my all time favorite guilty pleasure - "G.L.O.W. - the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling"!!!! That was one hilarious (and sexy) show.

Speaking of the 80's, it's revival time everywhere - not only is AG coming back and NBC already announced a new version of "Knight Rider" with Hasselhoff as Michael Knight once again, but Stallone is even bringing back "Rambo"! Go figure.

What's next...are they going to exhume Reagan's body so he can have one last great summit with Gorbachev?

hotsur said...

I hate the overuns that the NFL causes. The solution is to have the NFL games start 30 minutes earlier or start the TV prime time 30 minutes later. If you use a DVR Sunday night is a nightmare. It is time that the networks act responsably.

While I am in a bitchy mood why in football games must we have numerous ad breaks. If you have a TD, extra point, kick off , runback and an injury that is almost ten minutes of ads. No wonder everything runs late

Phillip Ramati said...

Zod - GLOW? Seriously? Just kiddin' :-)

Hotspur - The reason the problems exist with CBS is because they refuse to alter 60 Minutes, which they always run in full because of its ratings. While Fox has a built-in half-hour post-game show that can be altered so that there is no runover, the same thing doesn't exist with CBS. Though the ads may be excessive, the NFL isn't going to get rid of them any time soon.

Jonathan said...

The ad breaks are even more annoying if you're at a live football game. It's funny that people who have never been to a live game really belive that these teams only have a few timeouts between them. They get like thirty a game with commercials.

You don't have the T.V. feed, so you'll just be watching these guys in the middle of an exciting series, and then all of a sudden they're just hanging out and talking about whatever. It's a very surreal moment when you see that for the first time.

Phillip Ramati said...

I find the ad breaks most annoying straight after kickoffs. A team scores, it goes to commercial, it kicks off, it goes to commercial again before the other team begins its series.