ABC: What’s New for Fall 2009

V (Tues., Nov. 3 @ 8:00 PM, ABC)

The competition: “NCIS” (CBS) “The Biggest Loser” (NBC), “Hell’s Kitchen” (Fox), “90210” (The CW)

Starring: Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, Lourdes Benedicto, Logan Huffman, Laura Vandervoort, Morena Baccarin, Scott Wolf
Producers: Scott Peters (“The 4400,” “The Outer Limits”), Jeffrey Bell (“Day Break,” “Alias”), Steve Pearlman (“Reunion,” “Related”), and Jace Hall (“The Jace Hall Show”)
Network’s Description: A re-imagining of the 1980’s miniseries about the world’s first encounter with an alien race. Simultaneously appearing over every major city in the world, the Visitors (or V’s) promote a message of peace. Through their generous offer to share advanced technology, the V’s build a following that may actually hide a more malevolent agenda, one that twists a very deep component of human nature: devotion. While the world quickly becomes fascinated with the V’s and their link to wonders just beyond the reach of human understanding, FBI Counter Terrorist Agent Erica Evans discovers a secret hidden beneath the skin of every V – a secret that may threaten the lives of everyone close to her. Yet for her teenage son, Tyler, the V’s are his ticket to something big and hopeful — a new chance for mankind to unite in common goals. To Chad Decker, a career-hungry news anchor, his exclusive interview with Anna, the leader of the V’s, is crucial to his dominating the airwaves. Also unsure about the Visitors is Father Jack, a priest questioning his faith in the wake of the Visitors’ arrival. Seeking answers outside the church, Father Jack discovers there are other dissidents who believe the Visitors are not who they say they are, including Ryan Nichols, who is faced with his own life-altering decision when the V’s show up. Never has there been more at stake — it truly is the dawning of a new day.
The Buzz: Like “Eastwick,” there’s a certain instinct to ask, “Why do we need to revisit a 20-year-old property?” In the case of “V,” though, most of those who remember the show fondly will probably nod their heads and consider that, yes, special effects technology has evolved to a point where a concept like this one deserves to reap the benefits. And although the purists will no doubt grimace and claim that it won’t be the same without original creator Kenneth Johnson working behind the scenes, they need look no farther than “Battlestar Galactica” to have a good reason to consider the possibilities for a new “V.”
Pilot Highlight: Personally, I dug the showdown between Anna and Chad when he refuses to offer an interview consisting solely of softball questions and she informs him that either it’ll be all queries that paint the Visitors in a positive light or the interview will be canceled, but the episode’s tie-ins to terrorism were damned intriguing.
Bottom Line: There’ll clearly be a “we’ve seen this” reaction from the generation who grew up with “Independence Day,” but it’s already clear that this is not your parents’ “V.” It may not prove to have any more legs than ABC’s last stab at alien infiltration (“Invasion”), but it’s going to come down to whether or not the viewers who come in for the curiosity factor, thinking, “Hey, I liked the old show, I wonder how the new one will be,” are going to given enough to sell them right off the bat.

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Lipstick Jungle: Season 2

When ABC and NBC went head to head in the broadcast network battle for a “Sex and the City” clone, it was always going to be a tough call which one would survive: NBC’s “Lipstick Jungle,” based on a novel by Candace Bushnell, who wrote the original “Sex” novel, or ABC’s “Cashmere Mafia,” which was executive-produced by Darren Star, who held the same role for “Sex” on HBO. The latter series deserved it more, but in the end, it was the former that scored renewal at the end of its first season. While Season 2 of “Lipstick Jungle” started off promisingly, with Mary Tyler Moore turning up to play Brooke Shields’ mother and Charles’s death, it still ultimately suffered from the same problem which existed in its first year: you can’t readily buy into the three leads – Shields, Kim Raver, and Lindsay Price – cultivating friendships with each other. (They do at least acknowledge that the women have very different natures in both their business and personal lives.)

Shields and Price get the best plot lines, with Wendy (Shields) getting fired for making a decision that’s morally right but legally wrong, and Victory (Price) trying to stand on her own two feet, i.e. without Joe (Andrew McCarthy), despite her former publicist (Rosie Perez) trying to damage her reputation, but Nico (Raver) never fails to be in a miasma of melodrama, and since she’s never been a terribly sympathetic character to begin with, you almost root for her to fail at times. The show’s diehard fans will no doubt be sad that there will be no Season 3, but after watching “Lipstick Jungle: Season 2,” the average viewer probably won’t be terribly surprised.

Click to buy “Lipstick Jungle: Season 2”

  

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Old Show, New Season: “Lipstick Jungle”

I can’t really tell you that I was a huge fan of the first season of “Lipstick Jungle,” neither when it aired nor after it was released on DVD; I liked it well enough, but while I enjoyed the three female leads individually, I had some serious issues with the premise that they’d actually be friends. Still, when it was announced back in June that Mary Tyler Moore would be appearing in the show’s second season, playing the mother of Brooke Shields’ character, Wendy, I didn’t hesitate in deciding that I’d be interested in checking out the season premiere.

If you watched the first season of “Lipstick Jungle,” then two of the three primary storylines of the Season 2 premiere will not surprise you…well, not in general, anyway.

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