Contributing Editor Richard Michaels chimes in with another one of his fantastic FALL pREVIEWS. To view previous pREVIEWS of STUDIO 60, KIDNAPPED, VANISHED and JUSTICE click here.
You’ve seen the ads. You’ve heard the hype. Now there’s only one thing you want to know: Which of the new fall shows are worth watching and which should be avoided at all costs? In this continuing series, we’re going to give you the scoop on some of the most highly anticipated shows coming down the pike. Which will be the next Gilmore Girls or Lost? And just as importantly, which will be the new Joey? This week, we sneak a peek at the new NBC drama, UGLY BETTY.
When it’s on: Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC beginning September 28, 2006.
What’s it about: Think The Devil Wears Prada as a camptastic serial.
Who’s in it: America Ferrera (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), Eric Mabius (THE L WORD)
The twist: BETTY proves to have an incredibly beautiful soul.
Hit or miss: If fall 2005 was the year of the sci-fi drama, 2006 will go down as the year of the telenovela. But BETTY may well prove to be the one to beat thanks to a bright script, sharp directing and a to-die-for cast which includes Vanessa Williams as a hiss-worthy villainess and a playful pilot-episode cameo by a nearly unrecognizable Gina Gershon (Showgirls). The pilot strikes a perfect balance between comedy and drama, which is not nearly as easy as it sounds. The storyline might at first glance seem a bit cliched, but producer Salma Hayek and her talented staff know that familiarity breeds anything but contempt among fans of the telenovella format. Ferrera is perfectly cast as the ugly duckling we can’t help but take into our hearts. More importantly, unlike such competitors as DESIRE and FASHION HOUSE – each of which run original episodes five nights a week – BETTY assures she won’t overstay her welcome with an easily manageable once-a-week schedule.
The competition: Although BETTY was originally slated to air Friday nights at 8 p.m., ABC recently switched the show to the lead position on Thursday… putting it in direct competition with CBS’s SURVIVOR and NBC’s powerful one-two punch of MY NAME IS EARL and THE OFFICE. While this would seem to show that ABC believes their show can handle the UGLY competition, it does create a potential problem: Should the time slot prove too fierce, ABC will be forced to relocate poor BETTY. And experience has taught us time and again that any new viewers who might want to join the fun on a less jam-packed night may be reluctant to join a serialized drama already in progress.