Last week, we assuaged our summertime TV blues with a list of 10 shows we can’t wait to see. And while we truly believe that we are in the midst of a television renaissance, in the past few days we’ve learned about a few series in the works that promise to be so bad we can’t keep quiet about them. After the jump, we preview five upcoming shows that will almost certainly be awful, from the primetime return of Paul Reiser to a reality program about domestic violence that frankly scares us. Watch them if you must, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The Paul Reiser Show What it is: A single-camera NBC comedy based on Reiser’s life. Why it’s a bad idea: When we heard that this was happening, we assumed it would be Reiser’s own, much more polite, version of Curb Your Enthusiasm featuring the kind of bland relationship humor we remember from Mad About You. Now that we’ve watched several clips from it (including the one below), we’re pretty sure the above description overstates the show’s comedic potential. We would suggest this show is a shoo-in for cancellation, but look at how well Everybody Loves Raymond did. Debuts: Fall 2010
Mike & Molly What it is: Overweight schoolteacher meets overweight cop. Both have joined Overeaters Anonymous and find love as they struggle to take off the pounds. Why it’s a bad idea: Look, we like a sweet romantic comedy as much as the next gal, but a show that the Hollywood Reporter describes as “basically 22 minutes of fat jokes” just sounds like a crass, uncreative attempt to cash in on the Biggest Loser phenomenon. The trailer does nothing to convince us otherwise. Debuts: Fall 2010
TLC’s taxidermy show What it is: Producer Stiletto Television is creating a reality series profiling taxidermists around the country. Beginning with an hourlong special that “will examine different taxidermists around the country and focus on their craft and the animals they work with, including everything from domestic pets to an African elephant,” TLC hopes to give the show a regular time slot. Why it’s a bad idea: Taxidermy has had some kitsch caché for a while now, but we don’t imagine actually pretty gross process of preserving animal carcasses will attract that many viewers after the first week or two. Debuts: The special will run in late fall 2010; no word yet on when the series itself will premiere
Mixed Signals What it is: Three bros at various stages of the dating/mating game attempt to balance relationships with their need for “me time” and “bro time.” Why it’s a bad idea: So, this is novel. Man-boys who can’t seem to grow up likey pretty ladies but don’t likey when pretty ladies want them to act like adults. This show looks to be a veritable festival of tired gender stereotypes, from “Men just want their freedom!” to “Women are always ruining our fun!” to “Ladies love bath salts!” One character even escapes his family obligations by watching action movies in his car. It’s hard to decide whether men or women should find the show more offensive. Debuts: Spring 2011
Abusers What it is: Albert Harris, Jr., who you may not remember as an aide to ex-New Jersey governor and current “gay American” Jim McGreevey, leads a creative team including two Real World alums who have also suffered abuse in a reality series about domestic violence. The show will profile and attempt to support and counsel both victims and their abusers. Why it’s a bad idea: Reality TV has already made a public spectacle of addiction. Even if the couples depicted in the show benefit from the help they’re given, it will be at the expense of a lot of exploitation. Plus, we’re concerned about the safety of abuse victims who appear on TV and worry about the effects a justifiably negative depiction of an abuser might have.