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MORIARTY Reports In On The TV Season Ahead!!

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here. Have you ever been really tired? I'm not talking about sitting in front of the television while THE DAILY SHOW is on and being "a little fuzzy." I'm not talking about those mornings at work where even two cups of coffee don't wake you completely up. I'm talking about trucker-at-the-tail-end-of-a-speed-binge, dangerous to yourself and others kind of tired, where you're just on the edge of not making sense when you talk. As a long time insomniac (a truly great criminal always sleeps with one eye open, just in case), I have grown used to being that tired.

I think maybe I should start building a little bit more sleep into my schedule. It's imperative after the things I saw tonight. I was working here in the Labs, trying to catch up on the million and five experiments I always have brewing, when there was a sound, the dry white buzz of static. I tried to ignore the sound, but it didn't work. I tried calling for the Henchmen to get them to deal with it, but no one responded. Finally, I got up from where I was working and followed the sound into another room.

In the place where my television normally stands, there was a giant glowing cathode monstrosity, like a TV on steroids. There was a malevolent intelligence about the thing, and as I walked in, I couldn't help but feel that I was being watched just as much as I was doing the watching. There was something disconcerting about standing there in the flickering blue light.

Just as I reached the spot where I could see the snow that filled the screen so audibly, the television went dark. All power off. It was just me standing in a dark room. I began to feel ridiculous. I was obviously exhausted, past the point where I should have slept. I was actually standing here intimidated by my own television. I actually managed a little chuckle...


The wall of sudden sound almost took me off my feet. It came from speakers I never knew my television had, speakers it probably didn't have before whatever was happening happened. The screen began to warm up again, slowly, light and color just at the edge of perception.


The next two weeks are going to be riddled with announcements from the various networks about what shows are going to be picked up. This is one of those timetables that the whole town holds its breath for. Now this Great Glass Teat, this mutant idiot box, was offering to tell me what to expect from these highly secretive announcements. I decided to at least humor the idea.

"Okay," I said. "What can you tell me about NBC?"

NBC!! YOU CALL THAT A CHALLENGE?! Ha... that's easy enough... the one sure bet is DEADLINE, a new show from Dick Wolf that stars Oliver Platt. They didn't even shoot a pilot for this... just some scenes. The script rocks, and anyone who likes LAW & ORDER is going to love this show.

SEMPER FI's chances are looking fair. There's a 13 episode commitment to Spielberg and FIGHT CLUB writer Jim Uhls for this military series. I'd say that it's not great. It's okay. It looks looks cool, though, and it's actually shot on Paris Island. You can expect to see this at midseason.

DAG is the title of the David Alan Grier half-hour set against the backdrop of the Secret Service, and it's hysterical. The creators worked on JUST SHOOT ME previously. Delta Burke plays the First Lady, and she's pretty funny

The other comedy I'd be willing to bet on at NBC is THE BINAKERS. This is a nobrainer, really... a Wayne Knight comedy from Bonnie & Terry Turner & Christine Zander. It's funny, but we may not see it until midseason.

There's a few others we might see... titles like JUST MARRIED and CURSED... and there's an Ellen Chenoweth project that's looking good as well.

The Great Glass Teat folded its arms (hold on a second... arms?!? Since when does my television have arms?!?) across its chest (and a chest?! What the hell is going on here?!?) and glowered at me, daring me to ask it another question. I had no choice. It sounded so authoritative... it was so comforting... like TV... but even more so. "What about ABC? Are they going to get over their MILLIONAIRE fetish any time this decade?"

YOU WILL NOT STUMP ME!! I KNOW AND SEE ALL!! They will order GIDEONS CROSSING, adapted by Paul Attanasio from a book, and THE BEAST, created by Kario Salem. The first is a medical drama with Andre Braugher, and the latter is a weird CNN-esque show from the guy that wrote that bad HBO Don King movie.


...just kidding. In actuality, they're pretty excited about two sitcoms, one with Damon Wayans, the other starring Geena Davis and the kid who played Sam on FREAKS & GEEKS as mother and son.

And before you ask, I'll just tell you what to expect from CBS. The hot dramas are from Rene Balcer, a LAW & ORDER writer, and Lynda Laplante with Kelly McGillis starring. Also looking good are a comedic Tony Danza pilot called HOMEWOOD PI, and the remake of the FUGITIVE from the guy that created PROFIT.

As far as the Eye is concerned, comedy is all about Bette Midler. The pilot shoots this week. Just in case it's the monster hit they hope, they also have BETTE-lite in the wings, AKA the untitled Christine Baranski project. The other contenders include ELLEN, a sketch comedy show from Degeneres, and a Jeremy Piven pilot called IT'S ABOUT THIS GUY.

I was impressed, and I hoped my voice and demeanor managed to convey that through the abject terror I continued to feel at the sight of an oversized TV come to mobile life. "How about Fox? Word is they've been having a shaky development season so far."

Not true. THE GREAT GLASS TEAT SAYS SO!! If anything, Fox has the best pilots by far. They can count on them ordering THE STREET from Darren Star with Jennifer Connolly, Tom Everett Scott, and Adam Goldberg starring, along with Jim Cameron's DARK ANGEL with Jessica Alba, NIGHT TERRORS, a horror anthology series, and David E. Kelley's new high school show, THE FACULTY, which has fantastic, even though it's not shooting till June.

There is a sleeper project from Haxan entitled FEARSUM that might make it for midseason.

On the comedy front, DONT ASK with John Goodman is ordered, the Donal Logue pilot looks great, THE TICK is very, very strange, but will get a shot because of all the goodwill for Patrick "Puddy" Warburton as The Tick, and NATIONAL LAMPOON: FAMILY VACATION has a shot. Don't know about Gary Cole and Helen Slater as Clark and Ellen Griswold, but we'll see.

By now, the intense glow coming from The Great Glass Teat was too intense to bear. My eyes were watering, and I felt like Malcolm McDowell in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. "Tell me about the WB!"

Bad, bad, painful development season for them. They're having the one for real that Fox was rumored to be having. They're likely to cancel FELICITY any day. Yes, it's true. They have a big sci fi show from Michael Piller of STAR TREK called DAY ONE that's a post-apocalyptic sort of thing. Also, two soft shows called GILMORE GIRLS and LEARNING CURVE both look good. Expect a few high profile flops from Scott Rosenberg, Aaron Spelling, and Josh Schwartz.

By far, the best script at the network now is from DV Divicentis & Steve Pink, Cuscack's partners on GROSSE POINTE BLANK and HIGH FIDELITY. This is a drama that might make it. It's the network's favorite at the moment.

On the comedy front, the only notables are from Darren Star... and, yes, that makes two, which is a wicked behind the scenes of MELROSE PLACE, and something from Greg Daniels, co-creator of KING OF THE HILL.

I wanted to make the pain stop, but I had to know. I had to ask the final question. "UPN?! WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT UPN?!?"

The look the Great Glass Teat flashed me would have turned lesser men to ash where they stood, but I just waited for his answer. He sneered before spitting two simple words at me.


A rush of wind, the room spinning, sudden black, and now here I am, just awake enough to share this, just awake enough to wonder if any of it happened at all. I suppose we'll see what sort of average this angry vision has over the next two weeks. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • May 3, 2000, 6:04 a.m. CST


    by ripper t. jones

    Hear anything about the fate of Sports Night?

  • May 3, 2000, 7:05 a.m. CST


    by Aggie_Ed

    So is this coming back or what?

  • May 3, 2000, 9:36 a.m. CST

    National Lampoon's Vacation???

    by agentcooper a series??? Well, it couldn't be any worse than Vegas Vacation, and Gary Cole has been great in everything I've seen him in. Actually, I was wondering what happened to Helen Slater. I guess Supergirl lives...What do we know about the pilot Micheal "Kramer" Richards was doing wherein he played a Private Eye? Anyone?

  • May 3, 2000, 9:39 a.m. CST

    TV IS. . .

    by Carl Hungus

    TV is that metal pipe that sticks in the back of your neck in the MATRIX. UMMM. . .Yes. . .Dharma and Greg. . .uhhh. . .Living Single. . .consume. . .respect your authority. . .ummm. Fucking human batteries, you pigs.

  • May 3, 2000, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Utter rubbish!

    by bphudson

    Nope, I don't buy it. While I don't argue the truth behind your source, Moriarty, I have to question his opiions and recommendations regarding the upcoming TV season. Any man, woman, or sentient picture tube who can say somthing like "Also looking good is a comedic Tony Danza pilot" and mean it does not deserve to be listened to ... Must say, however, that Dick Wolf + Olver Platt = A damn fine prospect, IMO.

  • May 3, 2000, 11:21 a.m. CST

    No Buckaroo....

    by LJ

    No mention of Buckaroo Banzai at Fox, I noticed (must be in pilot purgetory!). I guess Lone Gunmen is also a mid-season possibility.

  • May 3, 2000, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Micheal Richards pilot

    by sPANKmONKEY

    A few weeks ago I got a call from some polling company asking me to watch some tv show that was on last weekend on the public channel of my cable system. It turned out to be the Micheal Richards pilot. basically, it's Kramer as a private investigator with cliche' characters and a so-so story. I wouldn't put it on, but hey "Millionaire" is still on so....

  • May 3, 2000, 11:52 a.m. CST


    by TRIGGER95

    How can someone who goes by the name "Moriarty" not even mention "Elementary", the much buzzed about ABC Sherlock Holmes pilot? I'll tell you why-- because everything in this column was taken from a Hollywood Reporter article that ran a couple days ago. It's almost verbatim!!!

  • May 3, 2000, noon CST

    The Glass Teat

    by KUTULU

    Well, all I got out of this article is that Moriarity is a Harlan Ellison fan. Damn good writer...his essays on television are great. The books are called (no surprise)The Glass Teat and The Other Glass Teat. They're impossible to find though. Since I mentioned it...if anyone has a copy of either of them that they're willing to sell, i'd like to have them.

  • May 3, 2000, 12:08 p.m. CST

    X Files & Lone Gunmen?


    While we're talking FOX and the X-Files, what about that rumored "Lone Gunmen" spin-off series that was talked about awhile back? Anybody heard anything? --Slonedog

  • May 3, 2000, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Wait a minute, Hold the Phone--Jennifer Connelly's gonna be in a

    by Kent Allard

    Can anyone confirm this? Nothing on IMDB about it (although they may not put pilots on there), but if this is right, KICK ASS! I could watch that woman read the New York phone book for an entire season and still be happy. And with Adam Goldberg! Cool! Don't know if this'll help or hurt Jennifer's movie career (which makes me a bit skeptical about this news) but any method to see her on a weekly basis is fine with me.

  • May 3, 2000, 1:27 p.m. CST

    To Sloandog: "The Lone Gunmen"

    by Revelare

    The last thing I heard on this series was they were in the process of beginning production on the pilot which they intend on showing to executives.

  • May 3, 2000, 1:51 p.m. CST


    by Stenbeck

    Not much of interest here... a couple of the Fox shows sound like they might be worth a look... the only definite sell is the WB show by the Grosse Pointe Blank/High Fidelity team.

  • <patewy> to Felicity, I won't miss it. But Roswell is finally hitting its stride, so I trust WB won't suck on the stupid gas filling the UPN offices and cancel it. Charmed is cute I hear, but it's on a night I just don't watch(okay, I copy ER and watch it Friday). Other than that, this sounds okay. What happened to Bruce? Did I miss something? Has it been canned? Dang, I knew TV didn't have a chance at doing something good intentionally. And it sounds like everyone is turning on the TICK and predicting a disappointment. Oh well, better to go in expecting little and being suprised.

  • May 3, 2000, 3:08 p.m. CST

    IS NOW AND AGAIN COMING BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by yoshue

  • May 3, 2000, 3:08 p.m. CST

    IS NOW AND AGAIN COMING BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by yoshue

    If CBS cancels this, everyone boycott that fucking shitty network!

  • May 3, 2000, 3:11 p.m. CST



    the tv show from Fox named Fearsum is not being done by Haxan aka Blair Witch. It is being done by the producers of some of the shows like X-Files, The Pretender, and Profiler. The show stars Ethan Embry (from National Lampoons Vegas Vacation and Can't Hardly Wait)Basicly in a nut shell it is X-Files meets Scooby Doo. THE SHOW IS BASED ON AN ACTUALL WEB SITE. FEAKYLINKS.COM . I had the opportunity to see the pilot the other day and it scared the shit out of me. The show centers around Derek, who runs a website started by his brother about the occult. His brother supposedly kills himself, but things happen to Derek that he can't understand or explain. He puts all of this on the website. Which really pisses off the powers that be. where ever they are. The pilot was directed by Todd Holland who did most of the Malcom In The Middle episodes this year and is one of the creators. The executive producer is Tommy Thompson who did Seaquest DSV and The Pretender. If you have any thoughts on Fearsum< let me know in talkback.

  • May 3, 2000, 4:52 p.m. CST

    DAG? Hysterical? I think not...

    by Jessbo

    What are you smoking? The pilot for DAG was simply awful. The corners of my mouth turned into a semi-grin only once, and that was the result of a dog's bark. Every other second of this show was horrendous. Maybe you watched this hopped up on nitrus oxide at the oral surgeon's office?

  • May 3, 2000, 5:36 p.m. CST


    by school-glue

    Felicity is not getting cancelled its contract was for three has one more year left...and all the interviews they are giving are saying how great next season will be...and there are too many viewers for it to be cancelled...and if it is a time slot problem they should just move there news to 11:00 like all the other the other normal channels give them selves an extra hour..

  • May 4, 2000, 12:20 a.m. CST

    Whoa, Whoa. . . The FACULTY?!?!

    by Cowblaster

    Not THE Faculty?! As in, the ultra-shitty sci-fi flick with Elija Wood? WTF?!?! Shit, why not just make a show about I Know What You Did Last Summer? PLEASE tell me that the only thing this show has in common with that movie is its name! Or, don't. Chances are, I won't watch it anyway.

  • May 8, 2000, 1:50 a.m. CST

    fate of X Files

    by Sahou

    Does anyone know if The X Files is coming back next season? The last I heard, Duchovny still hasn't signed on for another season. I also heard that Duchovny took Chris Carter to court over revenues from reruns on FX, so there must be bad blood between those two now! I hope they patch things up and work on at least 1 more season of this great show!