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As a new year is upon us and in looking forward to the oncoming winter season of television I have to say there’s not a lot in the new offerings that I’m looking forward to.

Last year ABC made the decision to cut the show Flash Forward and instead continue on with the equally ratings challenged V. The programming choice was a shock to some, myself included, but I’m sure the network had some sound reasons for making their decision. It was disappointing for me since Flash Forward had actually upped its game in its final episodes with a new focus that made everything really come together. V never really had enough to hold my attention especially when you factor in the three episode premiere followed by a long break from the fall until the spring.

Tuesday marks the return of V and fans of the show are being given a mixed blessing. The show is finally back after fans have had to endure a very long wait, however the show will also only be back for 10 out of the original 13 episodes. ABC cut their order for this second season which could mean the network has very little confidence in the returning show. The creators of the show have been hoping fans will be willing to wait after the news that JANE BADLER, who played DIANA in the original 80’s version, would be coming to this new series playing a character also named DIANA. This DIANA, it turns out, is the mother of MORENA BACCARIN’s V leader ANNA. For me this isn’t enough to justify the wait but it is good enough to get me to tune in at least once when the second season premiere’s this Tuesday at 9, immediately after a new episode of NO ORDINARY FAMILY.

TO CAPE OR NOT TO CAPE?

I have to admit that during the NBC announcement of their new schedule one of the shows I was most hesitant about was THE CAPE. It seemed hokey, silly, and a show that was too ambitious for a network that is struggling in the ratings the way that NBC is.

After paying closer attention in my quest for a preview of the show I find that there is more to the show that grabs my curiosity. The main character, VINCE FARADAY (DAVID LYONS) is framed for murder and is presumed dead. In the accident where he is believed to have died he is taken in by the “Carnival of Crime” and after they hear his story they train him so that he can fight on and give him an ancient CAPE that is a weapon. He uses this training and CAPE to assume the persona of THE CAPE, the same comic crime fighter that he and his son read together.

Without seeing a single frame of the show the things that I can tell you that I like about the concept are:

  • VINCE FARADAY is BRUCE WAYNE without the money, so he’s kind of like a broke-ass BATMAN.
  • He is trained by a group of criminal circus performers lead by MAX MALINI who is played by the brilliant KEITH DAVID.
  • There isn’t one villain to focus against, there’s a cast of them.

When you factor all of the above elements together you’ve got the potential for a story that is going to be the closest we’ve had so far to the comic version of BATMAN. A masked vigilante with no super powers who only has his well trained skills and gadgets to aid him? Sounds real close.

The only item that gives me some concern is the fact that they cast SUMMER GLAU as ORWELL, a blogger, who teams up with THE CAPE. The casting just screams them trying to cash in on the geek cred that GLAU brings with her former stints on both FIREFLY and SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES. The fact that NO ORDINARY FAMILY has done well on ABC though shows that geek audiences are still hungry for some comic-inspired television so I’m going to give THE CAPE a chance.

TO EACH THEIR OWN (network)

The last item to discuss today was my sitting down to preview the New Year’s Day offerings of the Oprah Winfrey Network. I had absolutely no interest in watching this network at all and only did it for the purposes of writing about it. This shows that I’m in no way the network’s intended demographic, and my opinions on what I saw pretty much agree with that assessment.

All of the programming that I witnessed was of the typical cable network variety. I was mildly entertained by the show KIDNAPPED BY THE KIDS but was shocked that it was chosen as the show immediately following the preview show used to launch the network. Wouldn’t the network have been better served by SEASON 25: OPRAH BEHIND THE SCENES? This is an audience looking for OPRAH, isn’t it?

Regardless of the programming choice KIDNAPPED BY THE KIDS is a reality show that for the preview installment featured a workaholic parent being taken away from work and technology to spend quality time with the family while they express their frustrations at parental neglect. Basically the show is another WIFE SWAP / SUPER NANNY style show. Being a parent it is a good reminder to do what is important (like not ignoring your child to write this week’s column) but as a show to view in the long term it would quickly fall off my DVR must-list.

After the initial show I tried to take in OPRAH PRESENTS MASTER CLASS but really it felt like an auto-biographical version of VH1’s BEHIND THE MUSIC. JAY-Z communicated about himself well but I just had no interest in watching.

ENOUGH ALREADY! WITH PETER WALSH is another reality show that seemed to try to marry the current obsession we are having with those that hoard without being so depressing. Showing people a way to de-clutter and get organized is great but I used to get that from CLEAN SWEEP. Do I really need it re-tread here?

That was all I was able to watch before throwing in the towel. This channel isn’t for me. I’m not really sure who it is for but hey, OPRAH’s got the money so who is going to argue with her?

Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way let’s take a look at what the new winter schedule is offering our post-holiday viewing world.

MONDAY

ABC - 8:00 PM: So there’s this guy named BRAD WOMACK who I guess didn’t do so well the first time he was on THE BACHELOR. Now he’s getting a second chance and I will still be blissfully unaware of what happens next.

CBS - 8:00 PMHOW I MET YOUR MOTHER is one of the only noteworthy offerings on tonight.

ABC FAMILY - 9:00 PM: The final season of GREEK starts tonight and it’s been a long time coming. Yes, I like GREEK so sue me.

IFC - 11:00 PM: One of the best original show’s HBO ever had was THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW. Tonight it starts re-airing on IFC in quite a fitting time slot for the subject matter.

TUESDAY

NBC - 8:00 PM: Although the two-hour length sometimes feels just as hefty as some of the contestants in the beginning I’m still going to sit through the new season of THE BIGGEST LOSER as it starts tonight. This show is perfect motivation if you set “lose a little weight” as your resolution for the new year.

ABC - 8:00 PM: I’ve been waiting a while now to find out how the POWELL’s deal with DAPHNE’s memory being erased on NO ORDINARY FAMILY. Tonight the show is back and we finally get to find out.

FOX - 8:00 PM: Sorry GLEE-k’s, tonight you’re stuck with another GLEE-pete.

CBS - 8:00 PM: If you’ve missed PAULA ABDUL’s confusing comments during judging then you may want to tune in to LIVE TO DANCE as yet another reality show around dancing premieres.

ABC - 9:00 PM: The Visitors return tonight as we see just how good (or not) this shortened season of V is.

TNT - 10:00 PM: It’s a new season of SOUTHLAND tonight and I’m betting right about now NBC wishes they hadn’t dropped this show.

WEDNESDAY

FOX - 8:00 PM: Two hours of HUMAN TARGET is a pretty good way to spend your Wednesday.

ABC - 9:00 PM: JAMES MARSDEN guests tonight as the good looking neighbor to CAM and MITCHELL on tonight’s MODERN FAMILY. JAMI GERTZ blasts in from the past as well.

CBS - 9:00 PM: How can it be that these are THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS when no one even asked me? I’m people too damnit!

THURSDAY

ABC - 8:00 PM: It’s a winter installment of WIPEOUT! I can’t wait to see snow covered BIG BALLS!

NBC - 8:00 PM: If you did not see the original airing of the COOPERATIVE CALLIGRAPHY episode of COMMUNITY than I command you to watch this tonight and as a special treat be sure to look to the lower left of the screen when TROY says he wants to lick a puppy to see the pen get stolen.

MTV - 10:00 PM: Another reminder of the downfall of civilization occurs as the premiere of the next season of THE JERSEY SHORE hits the airwaves.

TLC - 10:00 PM: It’s the premiere of the final season of ACE OF CAKES. I hope we don’t find out that in the end that DUFF in the “other” bakery was dead the whole time. (worst LOST joke ever)

FRIDAY

CARTOON NETWORK - 8:30 PM: Tonight STAR WARS:THE CLONE WARS kicks off a three episode story that involves the brother of DARTH MAUL. OK, I’m actually interested.

CBS - 8:00 PM: Tonight’s airing of MEDIUM is the next to next to last ever.

FX - 8:00 PM: Roll out THE HAPPENING and the thing your network won’t have happening is ratings.

SYFY - 10:00 PM: It’s the third season premiere of MERLIN tonight and MORGANA is ready to get all kinds of wicked on the good wizard.

SATURDAY

COOKING - 4:00 PM E: If you aren’t familiar with the HUNGRY GIRL line of books and other stuff than you probably won’t be interested in her new cooking show.

DISCOVERY - 7:00 PM: It’s ripe with repeats but who can say no to a MYTHBUSTERS mini-marathon. It’s slim pickings tonight so why not?

ABC - 8:00 PM: Miss the premieres of WIPEOUT and THE BACHELOR? If you did and didn’t want to have the change the channel than you could sit and watch them both. Like I said before, slim pickings.

BBC AMERICA - 8:00 PM: If you missed last Saturday’s fourth series premiere of PRIMEVAL you can watch it followed immediately by the next episode at 9.

NBC - 11:30 PM: It’s just a few months shy of it being 15 years since JIM CARREY was on SNL. It could be interesting to see him yuck it up sketch comedy style like he did all those years ago on IN LIVING COLOR.

SUNDAY

SYFY - 11:00 AM: The network that changed it’s name to not be so SciFi is bringing us a STAR TREK movie marathon today.

A&E - 4:00 PM: Slick back your mullet and hunker down low for a DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER marathon. Drinking game rules are located here.

FOX - 8:30 PM: A new animated show tries to break into the Animation Domination block on Sunday nights with the premiere of BOB’S BURGERS. The animation looks cheap, it’s not done by anyone named Groening or Macfarlane so I’m sure it’s going to be great.

NBC - 9:00 PM: It’s the two hour premiere of THE CAPE so we can see if its worth all the commercials NBC has been putting up during the holiday season. If you miss it though it’s on again tomorrow at the exact same time in its regular time slot.

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