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TV Guide: Best & Worst New Shows of 2007
Topic Started: Dec 27 2007, 05:06 AM (745 Views)
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The Best:

The Big Bang Theory
A lighthearted, laugh-inducing sitcom with a fresh spin on a familiar setup: two roommates who are thrown into a tizzy by their desirable new neighbor. The fresh spin, of course, is that this plays like a (slightly more) staged version of Beauty and the Geek(s). Roseanne vet Johnny Galecki plays Leonard and Jim Parsons is hilarious as Sheldon — they're smart, they're awkward, and they're utterly likable. Kaley Cuoco costars as Penny, the lovely blonde object of desire next door.

Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levy) is arguably NBC's new face of comedy. The computer techie becomes the concern of both the NSA and the CIA when their intel is accidentally downloaded to Chuck's brain. Now that he's government property, agents John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and hottie Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) must keep a watchful eye on him during their precarious secret missions. The show drops shout-outs to Comic-Con, video games and Princess Leia, so it's a perfect lead-in to the network's Heroes. But all viewers can relate to Chuck's everyman issues as the unattached good-guy (whose chemistry with Strahovski is palpable) and the underappreciated geek stuck working for "the man" at a big-box retail store.

One of the breakaway hits of the summer, Damages is the rare example of a legal drama that actually breaks that venerable television mold with great success. Driven by a stellar cast that's headed up by Glenn Close as ruthless attorney Patty Hewes, Ted Danson as the scandal-scarred Arthur Frobisher and Rose Byrne as Patty's protégée Ellen Parsons, the show's controversial first season was equally shocking and riveting.

Dirty Sexy Money
A bona fide guilty pleasure that unabashedly embraces what it is. Dirty Sexy Money centers around Nick George, played by Six Feet Under star Peter Krause and tells the tale of an idealistic lawyer attempting to manage the ridiculously wealthy Darling family: patriarch Tripp (Donald Sutherland); his wife Letitia (Jill Clayburgh); their children, the "professional divorcée" Karen (Natalie Zea), the "principled politician" Patrick (Billy Baldwin), the flawed "man of God" Brian (Glenn Fitzgerald), and the "well-behaved twins" Jeremy (Seth Gabel) and Juliet (Samaire Armstrong). A family saga with all the drama of modern life and all the sordid appeal of classics like Dallas and Dynasty.

Gossip Girl
This deliciously juicy new CW series has combined the upper-class secrets of The O.C. with the unsupervised and super-sexual teens of Cruel Intentions. Pit all that money, fashion, alcohol and parties against the non-Upper East Siders and you've got enough competition, backstabbing and moral confliction to fill Page Six. Not surprisingly, these high-schoolers are unbelievably gorgeous but have enough flaws to scar those who come within five feet. Blake Lively, who plays troubled-yet-desirable Serena, has stepped up her game since The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and convinces audiences with her quiet demeanor and ability to rise above the rest. What's more, a mysterious narrator (voiced by Kristen Bell) named Gossip Girl not only keeps us all in the loop about these lovelorn adolescents but leads us into temptation each week.

Mad Men
From Sopranos scribe Matthew Weiner comes this scintillating, sexed-up period piece about the advertising industry's watershed era, the early 1960s. AMC's first foray into original programming, Mad Men takes an uninhibited look at what life on Madison Avenue was really like for the ad men, their mistresses, their steno staff and their lonely housewives at home. Newcomer Jon Hamm stars as Don Draper, a chiseled, sharp-as-tacks ad man with a lot of dark secrets — and even more mistresses; meanwhile, his sometimes-smarmy, usually alcoholic coworkers and their not-quite-demure secretaries dabble in adultery and unabashed ambition. Noir, often funny and always unflinching, this sleeper success examines everything from feminism to anti-Semitism, all against a backdrop of material excess, impeccable art direction and sumptuous costume design.

Pushing Daisies
For a show that's all about death, this most creative entrant to the fall 2007 TV season manages to leave viewers smiling and cheerful. Loner Ned (Lee Pace) is a talented pie-baker whose touch brings the dead back to life. It's the latter gift that leads to his partnership with a PI (Chi McBride). Though he was able to bring his murdered childhood sweetheart (the quirky Chuck, played by Anna Friel) back to life, Ned can't have his pie and eat it, too: One more touch and she's gone forever. Rooting for the socially awkward but quick-witted Ned is easy, as he navigates two divergent lives, and watching the series' cast of other eccentric characters (including Kristin Chenoweth's Olive, who pines for Ned) against such a lavish, whimsical backdrop offers a fairy-tale escape from the muted, everyday grind.

Samantha Who?
Most people think of Samantha Who? as Christina Applegate's long-awaited small-screen return, but the quirky sitcom also boasts one of the best casts of the 2007 TV season. Jean Smart, Barry Watson, Jennifer Esposito and Gilmore Girls' Melissa McCarthy all make their presence known as screwball characters. The premise is simple: A girl loses her memory and is shocked to learn about the horrible person she used to be. She sets out to right her past wrongs and figure out who she wants to be. The end result is a laugh riot, which is why this show was one of the first of the year to be picked up for a full season.


The Worst:

This was one of those blink-and-you-missed it shows, a pseudo-reality series about buxom blonde swimsuit model and former Barker's Beauty Lauren Jones, who tries her hand at being an anchor at a small Texas television-news program. Her uncomfortable encounters with her journalist colleagues and her first attempt at following along with the teleprompter were painful to watch, and it only went downhill from there. No wonder the show lasted a measly single episode.

Big Shots
On the surface, this series seemed like a winner, featuring a group of charming guys (Dylan McDermott, Michael Vartan, Joshua Malina and Christopher Titus) with an impressive list of bona fide TV successes under their belts. But not this one. Big Shots follows the four high-powered friends as they whine and obsess over business and love in an ill-conceived attempt at reinventing Sex and the City for the male gender. But it hasn't found its audience with either men or women.

Bionic Woman
Just what we need: another show with powerfully iconic hero characters. Although the concept of turning humans into bionic fighters without their knowledge is somewhat intriguing, there's not much more to this NBC series than a lot of high kicks and secret operations. Michelle Ryan, who plays the show's bionic star, Jaime Sommers, is fun to watch in action, but her tough-girl talk isn't all that convincing, and Isaiah Washington performs better as a heart surgeon. Bionic Woman is just not as hardcore as it wants to be... even with all those superhuman abilities.

The undeniably likable Jerry O'Connell heads up this beyond-formulaic sitcom about four guys who get to know each other while carpooling to and from work. And guess what: They're all sooo different! Guess what else: They're all different in ways that conform to the broadest suburban stereotypes. Not even a guest spot from O'Connell's real-life honey, Rebecca Romijn, could make a dent in the relentless predictability of this disappointing effort from creator and executive-producer Bruce McCullough (Kids in the Hall).

Did producers really take this for a winning concept? Granted, the Geico cavemen commercials had their moment, thanks in part to a catchy tune and snappy editing. But in sitcom form... not so much. A group of cavemen struggling to fit in while battling discrimination was groan-inducing for so many reasons. Now maybe if they had made a series about that debonair gecko....

Before Journeyman even premiered, people were expecting it to be the next Quantum Leap. Boy, were they disappointed! The major problem with this show is not so much the time traveling as it is the two completely unnecessary love triangles. The time traveler was once engaged to a girl who supposedly died but instead has actually been jumping around the timeline just like him. This creates a lot of drama with his current wife, whom years ago he stole away from his own brother. Week after week, the show spends half the episode dealing with the family drama while the rest is spent in the past trying to help random strangers whose fate has them going on to do something great in the future. The characters are flat and most of the missions are yawners — Quantum Leap it ain't. Heck, it's not even Back to the Future Part 3.

Fox brought us this reality series about aspiring country singers in the Tennessee town that represents the Mecca of that genre. But instead of focusing on the gritty underbelly of these real youngsters trying to break in to the business, the short-lived show featured a primped-for-prime-time cast of pretty young things, including Rachel Bradshaw, the daughter of legendary Steelers quarterback and current Fox commentator Terry Bradshaw. Too heavy on the glamour and too light on the country.

Viva Laughlin
The grand experiment of the musical drama has once again failed — in a dramatic way. On paper, Viva Laughlin had lots going for it, despite all the singing — for one thing, there was an impressive list of talent attached, including Hugh Jackman, Melanie Griffith and the onetime it-girl Mädchen Amick. But when it came down to it, the series hit more than a few sour notes with viewers and critics alike. It was only further evidence (like we needed any) that just because a concept works across the pond (Laughlin was based on the popular English series Blackpool) doesn't guarantee success in the States.

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Hooray for Mad Men, Dirty Sexy Money and Pushing Daisies! I love those shows. :D
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Shockingly...I agree with these! I so wanted Big Shots to be a hit, but it failed miserably! When the writer's strike ends, ABC needs to seriously think about what they are going to do to fix that Thursday night, 9pm slot!! It needs something and something big...
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Woo hoo for DSM and SW?!
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Ahem. "Dirty Sexy Money" is NOT "Dallas." "Dirty Sexy Money" is NOT "Dynasty."
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