Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Silencing The Peanut Gallery

No amount of nuts you may want to send to CBS will save "Jericho" (CBS, 10 p.m.) this time around.

Last year, when the series was seemingly cancelled, an impassioned campaign in which fans of the series sent thousands of packages of nuts to the network (echoing the final line of last season's finale from series star Skeet Ulrich) as a sign they wanted the show, about how a small midwestern town copes after a nuclear attack on the U.S., to continue.

In a rare bit of grace, CBS listened to the fans and brought the series back for seven episodes this season. Unfortunately for the network and the show, that didn't translate into any more viewers.

But at least "Jericho" fans won't be facing cancellation with a cliffhanger, which is what happened last year. Producers, fearing a repeat of leaving the fans hanging, filmed two versions of tonight's finale - one for if the series was renewed, and one if it wasn't. The second ending won't wrap up all the storylines, but it will give fans some sense of closure, which is probably the most important thing a drama can do.

Over at Fox, things are also a bit hit-and-miss with the schedule. The network has already officially cancelled "The Return of Jezebel James," Amy Sherman-Palladino's (Gilmore Girls) return to TV. The show was a big misfire with both critics and viewers. Unknown is the fate of the Julianna Margulies series, "Canterbury's Law," which was yanked last night for a "House" rerun.

Yet, incredibly, the network announced that "Prison Break" would be back for a fourth season and will have a spinoff set in a women's prison (unfortunately, not the sort of women's prison you see late at night on Cinemax).

It just goes to show you that network programming isn't much more random than a game of darts.

MONDAY RECAP: "How I Met Your Mother" survived Britney Spears and doesn't seem the worse for wear. The main focus was on Ted (Josh Radnor) and his dermatologist (guest star Sarah Chalke, one of the best pure comedic actresses working on TV right now). Spears had a small role as Chalke's receptionist who develops a crush on Ted. Spears wasn't a train wreck, and maybe all the promotion CBS did helped bring viewers to the show. But it's kind of a shame that Spears got all the promotion when Chalke, still a regular on "Scrubs," was the real star.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Autism is becoming one of the most important health issues in the U.S., affecting about one in every 150 American children. HBO puts a new face on the problem with "Autism: The Musical" (HBO, 8 p.m.), a documentary about trying to stage a musical presentation featuring a cast of autistic children. The documentary has gotten raves from the critics, so this might be worth checking out.

On the other hand, obesity is also a problem among Americans, but I don't recommend "The Biggest Loser" (NBC, 8 p.m.), which seems generally exploitive about the subject, at least the way NBC promotes it.

Also on this so-called reality-filled night are "American Idol" (Fox, 8 p.m.) and "Dancing With The Stars" (ABC, 8 p.m.)

Finally, "The Riches" (FX, 10 p.m.) adds insult to injury with an episode entitled "Friday Night Lights."


Phillip Ramati said...

Update with HIMYM - overnight ratings said the episode drew in 10.6 million, its best number of the season, and 900,000 more than usual. And especially good against ratings juggernaut Dancing With The Stars.

Britney, all is forgiven!

zodin2008 said...

Well, then thank you Britney.

And let me add that she not only didn't detract from the hilariousness and brilliance of the episode, but she was actually funny and did a solid job. Not great, but solid. That's the best we could have hoped for.

Sarah Chalke is a terrific comedic actress and considering her typical chemistry with Zack Braff over on "Scrubs", it's not surprising she'd have a similar natural ease with Ted(Josh Radnor) and the rest of the hysterical HIMYM gang, especially Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Marshall (Jason Segel).

I am sad about "Jericho" but I am glad I got 7 extra episodes.