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Fall TV Preview: Five New Shows to Skip

All summer long, I've been giving you my first impressions of the networks' new shows. Now, with fall TV upon us, it's time to tell you which shows are deserving of space on your TiVo and which ... well, aren't. Today, I'm starting off with five shows that — based on their pilots — you'd be best to steer clear of this fall.

5. "Life" — I was into the premise of this show about a detective who gets sentenced to life in prison and rejoins the police force after his wrongful conviction is overturned. But the show itself was such a bundle of cop-show cliches and random quirks that it was already grating on me by 10 minutes into the pilot. Lead actor Damian Lewis gives his best shot, but if the writers want to create a "House"-style misanthrope, they're going to have to do more than make him wax poetic about fruit all the time.

4. "Viva Laughlin" — I once declared this musical drama the pilot I most wanted to see ... but then I actually saw it. What a bummer. I thought it would be a fun, cheesy, over-the-top hit. In reality, the musical numbers that didn't involve Hugh Jackman fell flat, and the dialogue was cringe-worthy. I still hold out hope that it could get better, but I doubt it's going to be on the air long enough to improve.

Three more to be wary of, so

3. "The Big Bang Theory" — Look! It's smart guys who are too inept to date a hot chick! How revolutionary! I don't claim that every single TV show on the air has to be groundbreaking; sometimes I just want a quick, mindless laugh. But I would prefer that shows stop relying on the same old, tired, geek-vs-hottie, pretty-girls-are-dumb, smart-boys-are-hopeless brand of "jokes," and this show never really gets beyond that.

2. "Big Shots" — How do you screw up a show with three hot guys, one adorable smart guy, and a plum post-"Grey's Anatomy" time slot? You reach so hard for the "'Sex and the City' for men" premise that your characters must reinforce numerous times that they are not, in fact, women. There's just nothing here to hold onto besides trite story lines about adultery, unfulfilling sex and indulgent spending. This one has the star power to be a hit, but it needs some major retooling first.

1. "Cavemen" — I know. Shocking, right? The premise is just so flimsy here, and the joke so one-note, that I'm not sure there's any way this pilot could have overcome all the negative "you've got to be kidding me" press this show has gotten for months. I'll admit that there are funny things about this show (the costumes; the caveman who reads The Economist), but it still feels exactly like those Geico ads — and there's a reason they only lasted for 30 seconds.

"Big Shots" and "Cavemen" photos copyright 2007 ABC, Inc.
"Big Bang Theory" and "Viva Laughlin" photos courtesy of CBS
"Life" photo Source

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Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
Laura — I did watch "Big Bang Theory," and I didn't find it to my liking. I'm glad you did, though — different tastes are what make the world go 'round.
AliCherri1 AliCherri1 8 years
I have to disagree w/ you on the Big Band Theory, my whole family thought it was really funny... I think the show hinted beyond the " geek-vs-hottie, pretty-girls-are-dumb, smart-boys-are-hopeless brand of 'jokes'" and I think the show actually will go further... its definitely not Family Matters or something that lame, give it another chance :)
DecemberBaby DecemberBaby 8 years
I watched Big Shots tonight and loved if from the first 2 minutes.
brutalcupcake brutalcupcake 8 years
I'm not watching any. xD
tati33 tati33 8 years
Definitely will not be TiVoing Caveman..In fact, I'll go read a book during that time slot :P
laura6567 laura6567 8 years
I thought Big Bang Theory was absolutely hilarious. My boyfriend and I started watching the first 5 minutes, decided we had to tivo it and laughed literally the entire time. So funny! Did you actually watch the show, buzz, or just decide it was a "skip it" based on the premise?
kritin220 kritin220 8 years
I am going to give Life a shot based solely on my Love of Damien Lewis. After Band of Brothers and the Forsyte Saga, I need to see him in action again! The Caveman show on the other hand always reminds me of an old Mitch Hedberg joke- "I saw a commercial for an above-ground pool. It was 30 seconds long. You know why? 'Cuz that's the maximum amount of time that you can depict yourself having fun in an above-ground pool."
Cleopatra2U Cleopatra2U 8 years
Haha! It's nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks "Cavemen" will bomb. I can't say I've heard of the other four, but that's probably because I spend prime time watching cable news until "American Idol" starts.
DCStar DCStar 8 years
Too bad about the Damian Lewis show. He is a spectacular actor in my book, I think he has such amazing talent.
Celebrity Celebrity 8 years
Buzz - I couldn't agree with you more on your number 1. I hope Cavmen doesn't even last past the first show. It was so hard to watch that pilot. I do think Big Shots has a chance. Mostly because it's on with other great shows which are aimed for the same audience and well staring yummy Michael V and Dylan McD. Yes the pilot was a bit weak and tried way too hard but I am hoping Big Shots gets better over time.
Mel475 Mel475 8 years
Ugh...Cavemen...what a waste of time and money. I'm sorry Buzz had to sit through a screening... I am disappointed by Big Shots and hope that they are able to revamp it. It has a promising cast and premise so let's hope they step it up and make it worthwhile!
ayanaphil ayanaphil 8 years
LOL... these were the ones I was gonna skip anyway!
sarabel sarabel 8 years
I'm excited about Big Shots. I too watched all the fall pilots and it was one of the few I wanted to see the next episode of. Bionic Woman, boooo. K-Ville, boooo.
SoftRockStar SoftRockStar 8 years
I really hate all these shows that copy SATC on primetime network TV--they'll never be able to get away with the language and sexual content of SATC so why even try?
llendril llendril 8 years
i can't believe they're still going to air cavemen. they should have realized a LONG time ago that it would be no good. i wonder what kind of ratings it will actually end up getting . . .
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
MostlyMinding, I think that's why it's good to read a lot of different critics! I disliked the show, but that's just my opinion. I've read reviews from people who liked it more than I did, as well as reviews from people who thoroughly despised it.
MostlyMindingMe MostlyMindingMe 8 years
The Big Bang Theory criticism seems a bit harsh...and out of whack with what else I've seen. It's been getting pretty good reviews in other places, and what I've seen has looked solid.
komler komler 8 years
Big Shots might be one of those things I watch with the sound off, just to look at Michael Vartan's face. Thanks for letting us know what doesn't work :)
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
Oh, one more thing about "Life" — I think it's love it or hate it the same way "House" is (or the way that Jeff Goldblum was in "Raines"). It's all about how much you like the main character, and I think some people will love this guy.
sugarbecky sugarbecky 8 years
Well, I guess I'll be crossiing these off the TV schedule right off the bat... thanks for saving me some time, Buzz!!
Fab_Kitty Fab_Kitty 8 years
LOL. "irredeemable". ouch. Thanks for the warnings, Buzz. Like you, I was really intrigued when I first heard about Viva Laughlin. Even the first clips they put out seemed promising. What a shame! Also, I adore Josh Molina due to his work in Sports Night and The West Wing. I'm sad to hear his new show is not so hot.
ms_mags ms_mags 8 years
I'll give Life a shot. I like Damien Lewis. The reviews I've read gave the show an A, the rest on your list got C or D.
longhorn longhorn 8 years
I also can't believe that about Cavemen. What was ABC thinking??
longhorn longhorn 8 years
Drats! I was looking forward to Big Shots. It's the only one of those 5 I was planning to tune into. I'll probably still set up the Tivo to record the first few eps. I love me some Michael Vartan.
dmblauren dmblauren 8 years
i still can't believe anybody gave cavemen the green light.
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