The last crop of new fall shows debut this week. Here’s my take on the newbies.
Premiere date: October 15, 2007
Airs: Mondays @ 9:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Imagine waking up one day and having no memory of your job, your boyfriend or your parents. That’s the situation for Samantha Who? As the victim of a hit-and-run, Samantha awakes from an eight-day coma to discover she knows nothing about her life. As she slowly begins to uncover the details of who she is, her findings leave her stunned: She’s an alcoholic who cheats on her boyfriend and takes pleasure in being mean to her secretary. Samantha soon discovers that her old life isn’t necessarily one she’s eager to return to and begins making changes. Christina Applegate shines as the befuddled Samantha. Barry Watson plays her sweet boyfriend. (This part could make me forgive him for the dreadful What About Brian.) Sultry Jennifer Esposito is perfect as the best friend, as is Jean Smart, as Samantha’s overbearing mother. Samantha Who? won’t go down in the TV history books as cutting edge dramedy, but for folks who like the types of shows such as Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, this one may be for you.
Premiere date: October 18, 2007 at 10 p.m. on CBS
Airs: Sundays @ 8 p.m. ET on CBS
Give me a musical, Hugh Jackman and Las Vegas, and I’m in. Usually. That was until about 10 minutes in to the pilot episode for Viva Laughlin. It pains me to pan a show starring the loveable and talented Jackman, the yummy Eric Winter, DB Woodside and Melanie Griffith, but I must be honest. This one hurt. As a lover of musicals, I had high hopes. But when the show’s lead, Lloyd Owen, broke out in song to Elvis’ Viva Las Vegas, I was cringing. The actors aren’t singing the songs by themselves, which may be part of the problem. They sing along with the original artists, which makes for some odd sounds and lip movement that doesn’t always match the words of the song. Even Jackman, an accomplished Broadway star, couldn’t make it believable. The show is about a small-time businessman (Owen) who dreams of opening a casino. He’s forced to turn to his rival (Jackman) for financial help. The show is milled as a mystery drama, but the real mystery is why the show doesn’t work, with such a great cast and concept. I applaud CBS for thinking outside the box and giving us a musical, but there are too many other good dramas on the tube this season to spend time at Viva Laughlin.