Picks and Pans Review: Leftovers
The networks used to blame us for bad TV. "We make shlock," they argued, "because that's what the masses want." But we, the masses, have exposed their old excuse for what it is: a tissue of lies. These days, the ratings prove that we're watching the good shows and rejecting the bad ones. So we're not the tube's boobs; the network executives are. Bad TV is their fault—and this season is the proof. Out of 22 new series, only three deserve A's. The rest are mostly diluted derivatives of old ideas, cheap retreads of Three's Company, Perry Mason, Batman, Naked City, Combat and Perry Como. The networks are trying to live in the past, in the days of the lowest common denominator. They haven't learned yet that we have taste. They haven't learned that with our remote controls we have the power to zap their crap. They haven't learned that competition from cable and VCRs—both of which will be in half of American homes this year—prevents them from getting ever-bigger audiences. To make money now, they need ever-smarter audiences; they need quality shows to attract us quality viewers. Someday they'll learn—or go broke. In the meantime, I review two more new series, I Married Dora and Once a Hero. And here's the good news: These are the last of this season's sorry lot.
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