Monday, September 23

New TV season proves there is life after O.J.


New TV season proves there is life after O.J.

‘Murder One’ is the best of the best, but ‘Central Park West’ is
bottom of barrel

By Jennifer Richmond

Daily Bruin Senior Staff

Just in case you’ve been so caught up with the O.J. Simpson
trial and

its verdict that you have missed all the new shows on TV, here’s
a quick

review of what’s hot and what’s not.

What’s hot…

UPN’s "Nowhere Man." Another "Fugitive"-type show, the dramatic
"Nowhere

Man" follows Thomas Veil (Bruce Greenwood) as he tries to
rediscover the

life he once had after he loses it because of a photograph he
took.

With such unique storylines, you can’t help but be sucked in
from the

get-go. Everything is going great for Veil. His wife loves him,
his newest

photo show is a big hit and everything seems perfect – until he
comes out

of the bathroom of his favorite restaurant to find his wife
missing and the

owner, who’s known him for years, staring at him blankly. No one
knows him

and now he’s running for his life. "Nowhere Man" is a great show
with a new

and interesting twist every week.

ABC’s "The Naked Truth" comes in a close second. When
photojournalist

Laura Wilde (Tea Leoni) can’t make it working for a regular
paper, she is

forced demean herself as an employee of "The Comet," a
tabloid

newspaper.

Most of the portrayal of Wilde’s job is pretty realistic,
especially

when it comes to what she has to go through to photograph
celebrities.

Whenever there’s a huge opening, "Extra" and "Entertainment
Tonight" are

always around, snapping pictures and asking questions about
rumors they’ve

heard.

But "Truth" gets its slant from Leoni’s character. She is
playing a

Pulitzer Prize-nominated photo-journalist competing with the
scum of the

earth devoted to getting any naughty picture they can of the
celebrity of

the moment. And creator Chris Thompson thrives on this idea,
beginning with

Wilde’s nick-name – "Ethics" – bestowed on her by the old pros.
Thompson

continues to put Leoni in the position of succumbing to the evil
that

surrounds her and the end results are always priceless.

NBC’s "Caroline in the City," another plus this season, will
probably do

well just because it’s squeezed in between "Seinfeld" and "ER."
But it’s

not the touted Lea Thompson that makes the show the fun it is;
it’s her

assistant, Richard (Malcolm Gets).

Gets is the thorn in Thomson’s side. Although Thompson is the
star, he,

like Chandler from NBC’s other hit "Friends," has all the best
lines and

always steals the spotlight. It’s his sarcasm and affinity to
come up with

the perfect line to any situation that makes him the gem he
is.

The other star would have to be Thompson’s next-door neighbor,
Annie

(Amy Pietz). She, without a doubt, is the modern Rhoda from the
’70s hit,

"Maude." She’s another sarcastic pain, but her stinging remarks
and

constant interruptions make for a great treat.

But while these three shows are great in their attempts, the No.
1 show

goes to Stephen Bochco’s "Murder One."

Like classic Bochco, his newest production has a captivating
aspect that

you can’t find anywhere else. Whether it be the script, the
storyline or

the incredible actors he seems to find, Bochco has a way of
melding

together a show that ends up being an award winner every
time.

This time the award goes to Bochco’s leading man, Daniel
Benzali, who

plays the ernest role of Ted Hoffman in another trial of the
century.

Coming from a stage background, Benzali understands when to give
it his all

and when to back off and simply let the lines flow. Even some of
the

corniest lines come off brilliantly because of his quiet
understated

tones.

Although Benzali makes "Murder One" the masterpiece it is, the
show

wouldn’t be the brilliant piece of art Bochco has created if it
weren’t for

the supporting cast, all of whom have qualities that stand out
on their

own.

There’s one small problem with "Murder One – ABC decided to put
it up

against NBC’s mega-hit "ER." Unfortunately this could mean a
quick death.

But because the drama began on Tuesday nights, it may have
drummed up a big

enough audience to give "ER" a tough fight. But we’ll have to
await the

verdict on that one.

What’s not hot …

Coming in at the top of the list is CBS’s new answer to FOX’s "X
Files"

- "American Gothic." The drama follows "X Files’" footsteps with
the fact

that it maintains a spine tingling weirdness. But unlike "X
Files,"

"Gothic" seriously lacks when it comes to plot.

The weirdness creates suspense and fear with tactics like
sentences

written in blood, a child’s voice constantly repeating the
phrase

"Someone’s at the door," and Sheriff Lucas Buck (Gary Cole), who
might as

well be Satan. Unfortunately, that’s as far as the fright show
goes, and

that’s not enough to keep a series running.

The story has the town sheriff chasing Caleb Temple (Lucas
Black) after

the sheriff killed the boy’s sister and the boy’s father died
mysteriously.

The show becomes a chase similar to the old favorite "The
Fugitive," but

rather than a desperate search for justice, "Gothic" is a war
between good

and evil to see how long good can stay ahead. An interesting
topic, but not

interesting enough to maintain an audience for an entire
season.

Next we have NBC’s "Brotherly Love" starring the Lawrence
brothers. It’s

your typical family sitcom. Three brothers who are trying to get
along

under one roof and their supervisor of a mother, who has just
come back

into their lives. What makes this one different? The fact that
the show’s

brothers are real life brothers. By George I think we have a
winner here -

NOT!

The comedy is dull, boring and predictable, and that’s the best
thing to

be said about it. Joey Lawrence’s time has come and gone. Now
it’s time for

him to focus on his failing music career.

The young UPN Network was lucky enough to get on this list
because

they’re starting the season similarly to how they ended it -
with nothing.

Granted their top show, "Star Trek Voyager," is still going
strong, but

their new shows are seriously lagging, especially "Deadly
Games."

With the computer being the hot topic of the moment, UPN figured
a

computer game gone awry would be a great action-adventure show.
And while

it is an interesting concept, the result bytes.

Dr. Gus Lloyd (James Calbert) creates a video game using all the
people

he can’t stand as models for his bad guys. But when the system
breaks down,

his lead bad guy, the jackal (Christopher Lloyd), comes to life
and brings

the other villains with him. Another case of good versus
evil.

Each show is a different level of the game. And with each new
level

comes a new villain. Lloyd and his ex-wife, Lauren Ashburn
(Cynthia Gibb),

find themselves battling each new enemy for survival. Their
survival means

killing their opponent and making it to the next level and the
next show.

Give me a break. This game was over long before it started.

Last and definitely least worth anybody’s time is CBS’s newest
in the

line of Darren Starr trashy prime-time soap operas, "Central
Park West." I

don’t know why their last attempt with "Models Inc." didn’t clue
them in

that their time has come and gone. We want new story lines!

Who cares that this time it’s set in New York. It’s still the
bitchy

girl trying to lay her new boss’ husband, while the fresh lawyer
battles to

keep his name out of the paper, but falls in love with an
investigative

reporter. Typical, boring and predictable. Even "Melrose" is
better than

this tripe, and that’s not saying much.

Daniel Benzali(right) and Michael Hayden star in "Murder One,"
which will follow one murder case for the entire season

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