|I am ready for a new TV season. After sitting through weeks of non-stop Friends finale hype, I took in that final episode only to find it dull and uninspired. Thanks for nothing NBC. Your much-less-publicized Frasier finale was a better show and truer to the spirit of its long-running series.
So yeah, still feeling the effects of a Friends hoopla hangover, I am ready for the summer TV season to tease and tantalize me. Heres how a pack of upcoming shows shape up. Check those local listings for broadcast times.
· The Casino (Fox) premières June 14. Here you can see two guys who made a fortune on the Internet living out their Rat Pack dreams of owning a Las Vegas casino. Producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice) is involved in this documentary-style reality series set inside the walls of the legendary Golden Nugget casino. Look for cameras to wend their way into the back rooms and shadowy areas of gambling operations that are usually off-limits. But dont look for a bunch of guys getting whacked like in Martin Scorseses similarly titled film (Casino).
· Amazing Race (CBS) premières July 6. My favourite competition-based reality show is back for a fifth instalment. This show features 11 teams of two, each with a pre-existing relationship, that bicker non-stop as they zoom past many of the most breathtaking places on the globe. Week after week the race continues and teams get eliminated until one duo rushes its way to victory and a cheque for $1 million. This program provides a unifying message in that it demonstrates that same-sex couples, mothers travelling with daughters, husbands and wives, and lifelong friends are all capable of acting like ruthless bastards, if it means they can get 15 minutes ahead of another team.
· The Jury (Fox) premières June 8. The creators of acclaimed series Homicide and Oz bring us this interesting one-hour dramatic offering. This intense new courtroom series examines criminal cases from the presiding jurys point of view. While the show does have some regular cast members, the primary players, the jurors, will change each week. No word yet if an episode will feature a Homer Simpson-like juror who continually disagrees with the verdict offered by his peers, just so he can remain sequestered in a hotel with free room service.
NOT SO PROMISING STUFF
· Next Action Star (NBC) premières June 15. A bunch of wannabe Rocks and Schwarzeneggers are going to get blown up and tossed off buildings in a show driven by famed Hollywood producer Joel Silver (the Die Hard and Matrix movie franchises). At the end of the series, one male and one female amateur action star will be selected for roles in what is promoted as a "major motion picture." In reality, its an NBC TV movie to air later this summer. Ooh, I am all a-tingle.
· The Simple Life 2: Road Trip (Fox) premières June 16. In the spirit of William Hung, that American Idol "She Bangs" loser guy, Fox has decided to carry another joke too far. Once again, pampered rich girls Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie will be seen sneering and jiggling their way through misadventures in small-town rural America. The big twist here is that by making the show a road trip from Miami to Beverly Hills, the high-maintenance pair gets to piss off everyday folk in multiple time zones.
"I DIDNT KNOW IT WAS STILL ON THE AIR" STUFF
· The Drew Carey Show (ABC) New episodes not yet scheduled. No Friends-like goodbye love-in here. This long-ago ratings hit is being quietly taken out back and shot, in the form of an almost-zero-publicity-involved final episodes burn-off this summer. Its ABCs way of saying, "Hey, thanks a lot for the glory days. Now get the hell out!"