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New Shows (2013): May 29 - June 2

Shuffleton's Barbershop
Norman Rockwell
This has been a big week for new shows. My guess is that the minor networks are flooding the airwaves hoping that something will hit before the major networks kick off their fall schedules. For clarity, I have listed the new shows 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, green means go.

American Baking Competition (CBS)
A baking competition hosted by Jeff Foxworthy. It is exactly like every other cooking show out there, the twist being that the contestants are baking, not preparing meals. Harmless, but no different from the myriad of others.

Love Thy Neighbor (OWN)
A sitcom based on the lives of the owner of a diner, Hattie Mae Love, and her family. I’ve never found humor in people who are nasty and cruel. Hattie is one of the most unpleasant characters I have come across and I found myself cringing whenever she opened her mouth. Probably not the reaction someone trying to make me laugh wants to get. Avoid this one.

Dancing Fools (ABC Family)
I’m not sure who decided that showing us video clips from the internet while someone does ridiculous commentary made for good television. It doesn’t. In this particular version, everyone from babies to cats to kids dances. At the end, the two “best” videos’ participants dance off against each other for $10,000. I didn’t care one way or the other who won.

Renovation Raiders (HGTV)
A home improvement show, the twist being that the crew comes in and does the entire job while the clients are at dinner. Exactly what you think is going to happen does. The builders run out of time and friends of the clients have to stall. Oh, the pressure. Not my kind of show, but if you are a home improvement fan, it may be yours.

Space Warriors (Hallmark)
For once, a movie you can watch with your kids. Exactly what you would expect from the Hallmark channel. Kids who are smarter than the scientists hired by NASA win a contest to be the first into space. In the process, they save astronauts stranded on the space station and learn valuable life lessons about teamwork and sharing. You’ve seen it all a dozen times, but this is a sweet film that I didn’t mind watching.

Marriage Bootcamp/Bridezillas (WE)
I am sure that the women who are chosen to be Bridezillas are chosen because they are terrible people and because they will make the best television. In this horror, the worst of the worst get to reappear on our television screens and tell us in far too much detail why their marriages are failing -- as though this would be a shock to anyone. This show got ten minutes of my time before I hit the Delete button in disgust.

Treehouse Masters (Animal Planet)
A guy travels around the country building treehouses. These are not the four planks you and I grew up with; these are proper houses with electricity and plumbing that just happen to sit in trees. While this is not a show I will stick with, I was fascinated with the hour I watched just to see what this guy could create in a grove of trees.

Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic (Showtime)
A documentary about the life of one of the best known comedians of our time. As with so many others in the comedy game, Pryor battled some horrible demons, ultimately dying from the excesses of his life at far too young an age. This documentary is a well balanced account of that life, peopled with those who knew and loved him. I really enjoyed this show and learned a lot about a man I thought I already knew fairly well.

Sommore: Chandelier Status (Showtime)
The comedienne does ninety minutes of stand-up. I was torn watching this. On the one hand, Sommore can be highly intuitive and makes some very shrewd, if not necessarily laugh out loud funny, observations. The problem I had is that her language is so bad (she cannot utter a sentence without swearing) that I found listening to her off-putting. While I was entertained watching this show, I would not rush out to watch it or her again.

Pregnant and Dating (WE)
Five women, all of whom are pregnant, decide that now is the time to find the man of their dreams. Guess what? The men with whom they go on dates are not interested in raising another man’s child. I know, shocking. The woman that I wanted to reach through the screen and smack had a lovely guy who had made her pregnant as the result of a one night stand. He tells her he will stand by her and help her raise the baby. She is not interested because he is not good looking enough. Someone needs to explain genetics to this idiot. I hope the baby takes after his or her father.

SheZow (Hub)
A young boy named Guy finds his aunt’s magic ring. When he puts it on, he becomes SheZow the superheroine. What could have been a really interesting exploration of gender roles (a boy turns into a girl!), unfortunately fails to address this issue in any way other than “my brother is wearing a dress” gags. This animated show is a typical Saturday morning cartoon, but it was sweet in its own way. Fine for the kids in your life.

Staged to Perfection (HGTV)
Designers go into empty homes and decorate them to entice potential buyers. Not my cup of tea, but if you are interested in interior design, the psychology behind selling a furnished home instead of one that is unfurnished was intriguing.

Wizards vs. Aliens (Hub)
Aliens from the planet Nekross come to earth looking for magic. Luckily, they find the one small town in Britain that hides a wizard and his family. A direct homage to Harry Potter, Tom is a teenaged wizard just learning how to use his magic. His mate is Benny, the scientist in the bunch. The double episode pilot “borrowed” themes ranging from Narnia to Dr. Who (Russell T. Davies is one of the creators) and everything in between. You’ve seen it all before, but it is a fun way to spend some time.

Suffleton’s Barbershop (Hallmark Movie Channel)
I like schmaltz and fewer things make me happier than a cheesy movie on a Sunday afternoon. Having said that, however, I do prefer that movies have at least a semblance of a plot and actors who can, how shall I put this politely, act. Using Norman Rockwell’s iconic Saturday Evening Post cover as a jumping off point, this film devolves into the worst kind of emotional manipulation. I watched it all, but the schmaltz was too much even for me. Trim this one from your list.

Golden Sisters (OWN)
Three sisters, all women of a certain age, have become internet sensations through their Twitter account (@3goldensisters). I follow them because they are hilarious in small doses, but a bit much to take in a half hour reality show. Like so many reality television personalities, they are beginning to believe their own press. Too bad, as they were more fun before they began to take themselves so seriously.

The Wild West (National Geographic Wild)
Narrated by Timothy Olyphant, this nature program on the lives of the desert animals is told as though the animals are characters in a western. The opening bit is about gila monsters, one of whom is the “sheriff,” the other of whom is the “outlaw.” Guess which one wins the fight. There are interesting segments on Harris hawks hunting in groups, mustangs and the desert bloom, but the dialogue really detracts from these stories. Shame.

Princesses: Long Island (Bravo)
I am simply amazed that young women like this exist in this day and age. Five women, ranging in age from 26 to 30, live at home and spend Daddy’s money while they wait for their doctor, lawyer or Wall Street husband. Each is so spoiled and unpleasant that I got through the pilot because I was too in shock to turn it off. Did no one ever tell these women that they could become a doctor, a lawyer or a Wall Street banker?

The Wanted Life (E!)
A reality series about the British boy band’s first foray into Los Angeles. The boys are partying way too hard and tend to forget that they have to work to maintain their rock and roll lifestyle. While this concept kept me interested for the first half hour, the second was more of the same. While I wish them luck as they adjust to life in the big city, I won’t be watching it happen.

Top Hooker (Animal Planet)
A competition show in which ten participants set out to prove who is the best fisherman through a series of challenges. Exactly the same as every other competition show out there. As I like to fish, I was entertained by it, but fully understand how it may not be for everyone.

The Women’s Concert for Change (NBC)
I didn’t so much watch this as listen to it while I cleaned my house. The music is fantastic and any time I get to listen to BeyoncĂ© do “Crazy In Love,” I’m going to take it. All of this was in support of a wonderful cause, so not a bad way to spend a very early Monday morning.


  1. Wizards vs aliens was indeed fun..Gwendoline Christie(Brienne from Game of thrones)is a hoot as the Nekross Lexi. The voice of Brian Blessed is also fun.

  2. These 'New Shows' posts are great because I so rarely keep track of what's on TV these days. Still, they make me worry about you, Chris. You're sleeping at some point, right?

  3. No need to worry, sunbunny. The new shows are the ultimate in multi-tasking. I tend to watch them while I am doing other things -- I mention in this column that I cleaned my house while "watching" the concert.

    In fact, if a show is good enough that I stop whatever else I am doing and actually watch it, it tends to become a green. If it is a Bravo reality series, I almost always hate them, so I know they will only get about ten minutes before I move on to the next show.

    Hardly a scientific approach, but I think it works. :-)


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