Although many of our favorite shows have been taking a bit of a break after the February sweeps, the networks continue to offer us all kinds of new programming. The majority of new shows on offer so far in March have been specials, miniseries and made-for-TV movies with very few new series. Here they are. For clarity, I have listed them in the order they originally aired. As a reminder, red means stop, blue (yellow being too difficult to read in my world) means proceed with caution or speed up to get through it, green means go.
The Bible (History)
This show hit a nerve. Opening numbers that would cause any network to jump for joy and #TheBible trended as number one on Twitter during the initial showing. However you feel about the Bible, it is a book filled with wonderful stories which should be fun to watch. The producers, however, so intent on not offending anyone, have toned down the stories and required their actors to ham it up to such a degree I found myself laughing at Noah while he recounted the story of creation. These stories deserve better.
Red Widow (ABC)
A woman with a perfect life discovers how deeply involved in the Russian mob her husband is when he is gunned down in their driveway. Now, she owes his debt. ABC gets their dramas either extremely right or extremely wrong. This one could go either way. The story moved along quickly and I like many of the characters, especially Goran Visnjic’s Schiller. I can see, however, this getting bogged down into melodrama relatively quickly; but, finally, it doesn’t really matter. The numbers are so bad that I don’t expect this show to be on the schedule for much longer.
As the History Channel’s first foray into scripted shows, I was hoping for a great deal more history and a great deal less soap opera. I watched two hours, hoping to become interested, but it never clicked for me. The best way to describe it is McGame of Thrones -- it wants to be a sensational story set in a distant world, but it just didn’t quite make it. Not bad, but not exciting. It got astonishing opening numbers and some great reviews, so maybe it’s just me.
LA Shrinks (Bravo)
Yet another Bravo “reality” show, only this time patients allow their therapy sessions to be filmed. Because, of course, you are going to be completely honest with your therapist in front of a television camera. Watching this, you could quickly get the impression that the only reason to go to therapy is if your sex life isn’t perfect. The therapists could all benefit from a good therapy session themselves. Simply dreadful.
Dukes of Melrose (Bravo)
Cameron Silver and Christos Garkinos are the owners of an LA consignment store. Basically, they sell clothes previously worn by the über-rich to someone who can still afford a huge amount of money for a dress she will wear once. I must admit that this was not the usual Bravo horror in that the two guys were nice to each other, their staff and their clients. But, I am not at all interested in watching women try on clothes. If you are into fashion, this may be one you will enjoy.
Battleground: Rhino Wars (Animal Planet)
Poaching rhinos for their horns is threatening the very existence of the species. Poaching in Kruger in South Africa has become so bad and so many park rangers have lost their lives to the poachers that the South African government has called in the US Special Forces to help. What could have been a very interesting documentary about these beautiful creatures and what is happening to them devolves into a rather mundane look at the lives of these Special Forces guys. Not bad, but not great.
Snapped: Killer Couples (Oxygen)
As this show began, I thought it might be an interesting look into exactly what causes seemingly normal people to commit murder, especially as part of a couple. It became quickly clear, however, that is just a voyeuristic look at gruesome crimes. The episode I watched was about two porn stars searching for “the ultimate thrill.” Thrilling this was most definitely not.
Ring of Fire (Reelz)
The only thing that had me looking forward to this miniseries was the chance to see Vaughn and Kendall share a screen again. I quickly got over it. A run-of-the-mill action show in which our intrepid scientists (of which Vartan is the lead) go up against the big, bad corporation (headed by O’Quinn) to stop the apocalypse -- this time, it’s volcanos erupting all over the world. I was only able to watch pieces of this, but what I saw was standard special effects, a story that has been told a million times and a foregone resolution. Hardly earth shattering.
Hindenburg: The Last Flight (Encore)
The Titanic takes to the air. It is exactly the same story with the ending that we all know is coming. This version, however, has special effects that made me laugh, dialogue that is painful to listen to and actors who feel as though they wish it would all blow up sooner. All in, a disaster.
Dead of Night (Investigation Discovery)
A true crime series of women who are killed in the dead of the night. There is nothing new in this series that dozens of series haven’t done before. I watched one story and that was plenty.
Family Trade (Gameshow Network)
A family in Vermont takes anything in trade to sell cars. They then turn around and try to sell what has been given for a profit. In the five minutes I watched, the family took $2,500 worth of maple syrup from one family and $1,350 worth of pigs from another. As soon as the family started swearing at each other, I turned it off so I couldn’t tell you if they got a profit for this stuff or not.
Preachers’ Daughters (Lifetime)
About what you would expect; if your parents are in the church, your life is held to a higher standard than your friends. One girl who is sixteen is not allowed to go on a date until her potential beau fills out an application and signs the rules set out by her mother. Another, who is seventeen, has all her emails and calls monitored by her father. With parents like this, it is no surprise that these girls rebelled. You should as well by changing the channel.
Return to Nim’s Island (Hallmark)
About what you would expect from a sequel to a twee little movie that came out a few years ago. The fact that in Australia this got a wide cinema release, but here it is only showing on the Hallmark channel should tell you all you need to know.
The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex (Disney)
The Wizards of Waverly Place return for a movie. Why? Because Disney knows a cash cow when it sees one and they haven’t made any money from this show in almost a year. A plot that has been done before and better and a moral that couldn’t hit you over the head any harder. Dreadful.
The World According to Dick Cheney (Showtime)
I didn’t think it was possible to dislike Dick Cheney any more than I already did. Well, color me surprised. This documentary absolutely made my blood boil as Cheney proved to me how despicable a person he truly is. I could write a whole article on the things he said that enraged me, but I will refrain and only treat you to one. Speaking of waterboarding, “It creates a sensation of drowning.” What a lovely guy.
Tom, Dick and Harriet (Hallmark)
A very standard rom-com in which an older guy (Tom) hires a younger guy (Dick) to impersonate him when he loses his job for being too old. They, in turn, both fall for the beautiful woman (Harriet). Being a rom-com and being the Hallmark channel, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know how this will all turn out, but it is a fun bit of fluff.
Playing with Fire (E!)
A “reality” series based on the people who inhabit New York’s restaurant scene. As the ultimate foodie and restaurant critic, I was looking forward to this. I should have known better. Once again, everything is so staged I struggled to find the reality and the people spend far too much time shouting at each other. Distasteful stuff.
Wicked Single (VH1)
Boston is a city I love, but it has certainly not been putting its best foot forward this year. Beginning with Southie Rules (which I hated in January), it went on to Boston’s Finest (which I hated in February). It has now hit rock bottom with this horror. A bunch of barely articulate kids whose only goal in life is to get drunk. Beantown, you can do better than this!