Space Ramblings

Drunk, Crazy, On Drugs? Want to Work for CBS?

Drunk, Crazy, On Drugs? Want to Work for CBS? CBS now has openings for network executives with severe mental problems and drug addictions. Have no sense of reality. Pick shows based on throwing darts at your assistants.

At least that’s the best explanation I have for this lineup.

CBS made some very tentative moves towards edgier fare today, unveiling a fall schedule that includes a musical film noir, a detective who happens to be a very old vampire, suburban swingers and a sprawling prime time soap about a powerful Latino family in South Florida.

“For those of you who accuse CBS of being too conservative, you will feel differently when you see the shows we have lined up,” said Leslie Moonves, chairman of CBS Corp.

Of course your audiences is conservative, ‘Leslie’ but your choices are still conservative– just conservative and insane. A musical film noir or a Latino soap isn’t incredibly pushing the boundaries of TV. It’s just being stupid.

Perhaps the biggest CBS gamble is “Viva Laughlin” – an American version of “Viva Blackpool,” a dark and delightfully quirky British series. Set in a seedy casino town, the original mixed elements of the classic film noir with satire and big musical production numbers in which characters would suddenly burst out singing such pop songs as Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking.”

It will be interesting to see how closely the American edition – produced by actor Hugh Jackman (who will occasionally co-star) and veteran TV writer Bob Lowry (Showtime’s “Huff”) – hews to the original concept and style.

Like I said drugged and crazy. Seriously, first of all stop ordering British non-reality TV show remakes. Only one of them has ever worked and that’s The Office.. and it was a long shot too driven by an ongoing romance.

Secondly stop ordering the kind of British TV shows that nobody in their right mind would watch. Certainly not CBS audiences. Have you learned nothing from One Foot in the Grave with Bill Cosby, CBS?

This will go over on the CBS audience about as well as Cop Rock did on ABC.

“Cane,” a big ensemble drama about the external rivalries and internal struggles of a Cuban-American family that has built a very successful rum and sugar business. Jimmy Smits stars as the adopted son of the family’s patriarch (Hector Elizondo) and the cast also includes Nestor Carbonell (“Lost”), Broadway and film star Rita Moreno and Polly Walker (“Rome”).

Por se que cancellito in 3 months. This is basically WB’s Mississippi with Cubans. Why that seemed like a better idea… I have no idea. Running soaps in prime time is risky at best. Running family based soaps is an act of sheer desperation. I know CBS is gambling on the latino audience but Univision is going to do telenovelas better than a bunch of white guys at CBS. Just give it up.

“Moonlight,” which revolves around the “life” of undead detective Mick St. John who tries to help the living instead of snacking on them. The other vampires are not amused.

What if Angel and Forever Knight had really sucked? Well they might have been something like this.

“The Big Bang Theory,” which will join the network’s Monday block of half-hour sitcoms. Created by Chuck Lorre (“Two And A Half Men”), the show feels like a riff on “Beauty and the Geek,” the CW reality series, as a group of smart but socially challenged guys get dating lessons from a new neighbor played by Kaley Cuoco (“8 Simple Rules”). Johnny Galecki (“Roseanne”) is the lead geek.

Canceled in two weeks. What are you people even thinking? This show’s formula is unbalanced and it has no audience on CBS. It’s Mork and Mindy meets Freaks and Geeks. Terrible, terrible idea.

Another surprise was the absence of a series called “Babylon Fields.” The drama – in which a small town has to battle zombies – had generated as much advance buzz as any show under consideration by the major networks and was considered a sure thing for the fall lineup. (CBS sources said today that the series might resurface as a mid-season offering.)

Damn well better, since it’s the only interesting series in the mix– but I guess CBS panicked because of Jericho’s failure (something the network itself caused with an extended hiatus) and so we get Moonlight instead.

CBS will also have another new and edgy drama to throw into the winter mix. “Swingtown” is set in 1970s suburbia where the sexual revolution is taking hold and couples are starting to experiment in the changing social climate. Included in the large cast are Molly Parker (“Deadwood”), Grant Snow (“Melrose Place”), Lana Parrilla (“Boomtown”) and Josh Hopkins (“Brothers & Sisters”).

In other words American Dreams meets Desperate Housewives meets The Young and the Restless. No this won’t survive either. Nostaglia shows don’t tend to.

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