BIG SHOTS created by Jon Harmon Feldman, with Dylan McDermott, Michael Vartan, Chris Titus and Joshua Malina. Airs Thursdays at 10 pm on ABC and CTV. Rating: N Rating: NNNNN
Big shots is one of several new prime time soaps that tries to replicate the success of Desperate Housewives, but with a swinging-dick swagger. Unfortunately, that swagger is all this dubious drama about a bunch of dumbass Donald Trump wannabes with more balls than brains has going for it.
Dylan McDermott (The Practice) is a CEO who's estranged from his daughter and screwing both his ex-wife and a tranny hooker. Josh Malina (Sports Night, The West Wing) is cheating on his loving wife with a hot blond who blackmails him into going to couples counselling (to the same therapist he sees with his wife, no less).
Michael Vartan (Alias) was about to be axed until his boss, who was having an affair with Vartan's wife, dies, leaving Vartan in line for a huge promotion. And Chris Titus (Titus) is just plain whipped, cuckolded and otherwise neutered by his better half.
Arrogant, stupid, selfish, loathsome, as two-dimensional as Etch-A-Sketch figures, these captains of industry seem incapable of helming the SS Minnow on a three-hour tour, never mind overseeing multi-million-dollar corporations.
And their significant (and insignificant) others are even less substantial, which makes me wonder why the men all seem so threatened by them. "Men. We're the new women," McDermott says at one point, which is supposed to pass for enlightenment but is really a bit naive and Neanderthal.
It's all so very stone age. Maybe they should call the show The Flintstones.
Dirty Sexy soapy
DIRTY SEXY MONEY created by Craig Wright, with Peter Krause, Billy Baldwin, Donald Sutherland and Samaire Armstrong. Airs Wednesdays at 10 pm on ABC, Sundays 10 pm on CTV. Rating: NNN
Everything about dirty sexy Money - another attempt at cashing in on Desperate Housewives - is as provocatively over-the-top as its title.
Meet the Darlings, an über-rich family full of eccentric wack jobs and coke-addicted lost boys. (Their surname can hardly be a coincidence, given their Peter Pan-like desire never to grow up.)
There's the senatorial candidate with the tranny hooker mistress (what is it with tranny hookers on TV these days?), the priest with a short fuse, foul mouth and bastard son, the alcoholic slut heading down the aisle with her fourth gold-digging hubby, the Paris Hilton-like wannabe actor whose daddy bought her a role on Broadway. (In a nifty bit of promotion, when Paris Hilton was sentenced to jail time, ABC placed ads in the L.A. Times and New York Post reading "We love Paris. The Darling Family.".)
Drawn into this Kennedy-esque tabloid train wreck is Peter Krause (Six Feet Under) as an idealistic lawyer filling his late father's shoes as the Darlings' personal attorney. Perhaps "consigliere" is more accurate, given the not so subtle allusions to the Darlings as high-society mobsters who always get what they want by making offers no one can refuse.
Exactly why Krause's altruistic do-gooder would go to work for these nutbars isn't clear until his father's private plane is pulled from the East River, creating suspicion about how he died (shades of Desperate Housewives' season-one suicide mystery).
While the first episode is a little uneven, seesawing from comic to dramatic to just plain absurd, it's a guilty pleasure that, like Big Shots, hinges on our fascination with the rich and famous. Let's hope they're as messed up as the real celebs we read about in the checkout line at the supermarket.
What to watch this week
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
Grey's anatomy ( medicinal soap ) Expect a lot of picking up the pieces as the fourth season kicks off. George is repeating his internship and getting chummy with fellow intern and Meredith's half-sister, Lexie; Karev hooks up with Ava, the patient with a new face; Cristina is dealing with Burke bailing; Meredith and Derek, well, he's in it for the long haul, but can she get her shit together to love him back?
Airs 9 pm on ABC and CTV
ER( medicinal drama ) Noah Wylie and Goran Visnjic both check into County General for a handful of episodes this season.
Airs 7 pm on CTV, 10 pm on NBC
FRIDAY, SEPT 28
las vegas (drama, sorta)
Tom Selleck brings the baddest moustache in Tinseltown to the Strip, replacing snarly badass James Caan in the sparkly guilty pleasure that gives good odds on paying off.
Airs 9 pm on NBC and Global
WEDNESDAY, OCT 3
PUSHING DAISIES (grim fable) If Tim Burton made a TV show, it would be this so bizarre, so good series about a man who can raise the dead - but only for 60 seconds.
Airs 8 pm on ABC and CTV