Channel Surfing with C.T.

ABC’s new limited-run game show, DUEL, is kinda fun, and I like the idea of watching for five nights, rooting for my favorites and then getting a pay-off in the end. But in a way, I don’t want it to be a hit because it’s not something I would watch regularly, and heaven knows the networks are completely incapable of letting something that has even a moderate following remain a nice little mini-event. Remember DEAL OR NO DEAL? I’d love to think that ABC learned something by driving WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? into the ground, but I think we all know that’s not the case. Oh, and I’d love to see the research supporting the network’s claim that this is “the most highly anticipated quiz show in the world.” I have a word for them: hyperbole. Look it up.

Holy crap, did you catch that fantastic promo for LOST that aired during DUEL last night? If not, head to youtube, ’cause I’m sure it’s there.

A moment during the end of last week’s episode of CANE has me so mad I could spit. In the next-to-last act of the episode, a character was trapped in a truck by a fire that raged out of control all around him. Great cliffhanger, right? Yup… except that CBS then cut to an in-house ad touting the truck featured in the scene, showing it plow through the burning field to make a great escape and touting the fact that viewers could go to their website to see how the stunt was done. The only problem? The escape scene hadn’t yet aired! I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that somewhere along the lines, it was pointed out to execs that they were giving away what would happen in the post-commercial scenes. And I’m just as certain that those execs said, “Yeah, but [insert name of truck manufacturer which I refuse to publicize here] will want the ad placed right after a scene in which it is heavily featured. By the time the next commercial break rolls around, people will have forgotten all about the truck.”

Speaking of CANE, man, is this show good… when it wants to be. I know, I know, why would a show want to be bad? But I swear, sometimes it seems as if someone behind the scenes want to destroy the show. Last week’s wedding episode, ending with the fantastically-filmed murder of Joe Samuels, was filled with classic soap moments. But there have been so many missteps along the way. Why was Rita Moreno used so sparingly? Why was Polly Walker given the worst accent this side of Madonna’s faux British one? There were, however, wonderful moments of humor (like when Alex asked his wife who had the combination to their safe and she casually rattled off the names of pretty much everyone in their family), couples with great chemistry (I wanted so much more of Henry and the master-blender than we got) and dramatic payoffs (the loom on Smits’ face when his alter ego realized that he’d been used by his adoptive father was almost painful). I suspect the show won’t get a second season, and I’m ready to organize a JERICHO-inspired campaign the moment the axe falls, so get your sugar packets ready, kids. I expect your full support!

Every time I think I’m free, they pull me back in! I swore I wasn’t going to watch the next cycle of SURVIVOR… and then they announced the cast would be comprised of “fan favorites” and “longtime fans” of the hit show. Come on… I’m only human!

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