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Monday, February 20, 2006

New fall shows to watch: Jack & Bobby, LAX, and Joey

September 15, 2004

I’m no Roger Ebert. However, when it comes to choosing fresh TV programs that entertain, I can hold my own.

As I dove into several shows that premiered this week, it occurred to me that I need a rating system to convey the best and worst to you, my loyal readers. So I’ve come up with a Tube Talk rating guide to steer you down the bumpy path known as fall TV season. That way, you’ll know a stinker such as Coupling before you invest 30 minutes of your life that you’ll never get back.

Thank me later.

Four stars: Do NOT miss this show. Use extreme measures if necessary, including hiding if visitors ring the doorbell, bribing a neighbor to record it for you if you haven’t mastered your VCR and screening phone calls. Or, just become completely irrational and don’t leave home when it’s on.

Three stars: It’s good, not great. Catch it if you can.

Two stars: If you’re home with nothing to do, turn it on.

One star: It’s so bad; you’ll want to shut off the TV and write an angry letter to the network that aired it.

I’ll use this rating guide the next few weeks, as new shows debut. So study it; there will be a pop quiz later.

Jack & Bobby - Four stars. Whatever you do, don’t miss this show. It’s that good. I’m talking hot Krispy-Kreme-doughnut good. I admit I almost didn’t tune in because the title implied a political story we all know too well. But this isn’t the Kennedy story. That became obvious in the first few minutes. This story of Jack and Bobby is told in compelling flashbacks with narration, flip-flopping between the future and present day. It’s The Wonder Years meets The West Wing. Newcomer Matt Long shines, as does Christine Lahti. This was the best new show I saw all week, on any network. If you missed its debut Sunday, don’t despair. I spoke with a WB representative Monday, and she told me The WB will air the first episode again Thursday at 9 p.m.

LAX - Three stars. It didn’t exactly restore my faith in airport security, but it did entertain. Heather Locklear never disappoints. At times, she was channeling Amanda Woodward. Blair Underwood was fantastic, too. The show received some unflattering early reviews, but I disagree. Locklear and Underwood have romantic chemistry. They have that love-hate Moonlighting bickering down to an art. And my favorite Australian, Paul Leyden, as Tony, had more screen time than I hoped. The airport-based show is a little bit comedy, a little bit drama, and a whole lot of suspense. Between the drunken pilots, escaped dog, backed-up runways, unclaimed child, and a bomb, LAX was flying high on adrenaline.

Joey - Three stars. Joey is doing fine. Die-hard Friends viewers will still enjoy his endearing personality and viewpoints. If subsequent shows are as good as the pilot, I think viewers will embrace Joey. There were several laugh-out-loud moments on Thursday’s premiere, involving his lack of Shakespeare comprehension, David Cassidy, and Joey’s audition for a new job, which proved that following the light isn’t as easy as one would think.

Father of the Pride - Two stars. I’m a sucker for an animated series, especially one with animals. The show was funny at times and the animation was excellent. My biggest complaint was that I had trouble understanding Siegfried and Roy with the strong accents. There were several funny moments too crass to recount involving the lions and tigers. Overall, the show didn’t leave me roaring with laughter, but it was cute. It has potential. The previews for upcoming episodes look even better than the premiere, but I don’t think this one will be king of the jungle when it comes to ratings.

Originally published 9/15/04 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


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