Fall TV: Oh, the horror!

You’ve gotta love network TV execs. Every time one of ‘em comes up with a fresh idea, the rest inexplicably start churning out pale imitations the following season. Last season’s watercooler smash, Lost, has spawned a plethora of new supernatural and sci-fi shows for the upcoming fall season. What’s worse is that they all have annoyingly generic, interchangeable titles, making it tricky to remember which is which.

Take the ones about alien or sea-creature invasions: There’s NBC’s Fathom, which was retitled Surface, perhaps so it would sound more like CBS’s Threshold, which might as well be called Invasion (that’s the ABC one, with the little girl who says, ”Mommy, you smell different”). None of the above should be confused with the Fox drama The Gate, a grisly crime show that’s been redubbed Criminal Instincts. Then there’s the straightforward-sounding Supernatural, which is about guys stalking creatures at night, like The Night Stalker, which at least sounds slightly scarier than The Ghost Whisperer, which isn’t scary at all (unless they decide to let star Jennifer Love Hewitt sing the title track).

And just to mix things up, the networks have given non-supernatural shows supernatural-sounding titles, like Fox’s Bones (about a coroner) and NBC’s Inconceivable (about a fertility clinic). Even the ABC sitcom Freddie is getting in on the act; nope, it’s not a half-hour showing the lighter side of the Nightmare on Elm Street villain, but rather, a frighteningly laugh-free vehicle for a certain Mr. Prinze Jr. Trust me on this one, you’ll need to watch it with the lights on.

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Comments (4 total) Add your comment
  • EP Sato

    I was noting this on some of the sci fi boards earlier this summer and am also wierded out by how many of these sci fi shows ALL sound like a remake of another old show, or like a remake of a new show that will be on another network.
    Besides Lost, and the CSi type shows, the other show people seem to be ripping off is the X Files. In both the 4400 (okay, it’s a show from last season) AND the Inside, FBI type agents fight unnusual crimes. Funniest of all, Pete Coyote left the 4400 to play the EXACT SAME CHARACTER on the Inside.
    Frustrating is that no one put any stock into “Traditional” science fiction this time around, as in space ships and laser guns. Odd because one of the best rated shows right now for the coveted age groups is the new Battlestar Galactica. Where are the cheapo immitators of that show? UPN, I’m looking in your direction!

  • mando

    isn’t bones about an antropologist that helps solve crimes, not a coroner?

  • Tiffer T

    Though all of the new Lost-clones sound pretty lame to me, I do take quite a bit of pleasure in the fact that everyone jumped on sci-fi/fantasy train instead of the Desperate Housewives tugboat of crap. Even though I can watch D.H. with some measure of enjoyment, I truly feel that show did NOT deserve half the acclaim and hoo-hah it received and think this 2nd season’s gonna be a stinker. I wonder if the networks went for Lost-alikes instead because they recognized real quality and loyalty of this genre’s viewers… or if they thought they could never compete with or clone D.H.? Hmmm. I sincerely hope it’s the former!

  • Kristen

    When does the EW Fall TV Preview issue come out?? I hope I didn’t miss it! That’s how I keep all these “look-alike” shows straight…

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