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UPN: Unbelievably Paltry Newness

UPN, which I like to think of America’s Sixth Favorite Network, announced its new fall schedule today, introducing three new series.

UPN, which I like to think of America’s Sixth Favorite Network, announced its new fall schedule today, introducing three new series.

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Were any humans harmed in the production of these shows? None, I suspect, but the test audiences. I am not sure if UPN even used any humans when coming up with these shows. Their new lineup is a multi-cliche pileup; it looks as if they took every sitcom and drama script from the last 50 years and fed them into the Bat computer, had the shows spit out on punch cards, and then typed them up.

In Kevin Hill (Wednesdays at 9), Taye Diggs plays a young turk entertainment lawyer, a playa, whose “life is turned upside down” when he has to take care of a six-month old baby girl when his cousin, the baby’s parent, passes away. The swinging bachelor who has to learn responsibility when a baby comes into his life? Yeah, that’s not a writer’s construct. In Veronica Mars (Tuesdays at 9), Veronica, a “typical teenager” by day, helps her father, a struggling private eye, solve crimes at night. I am sure one of the programming execs asked, “Is that it? It’s a little too Encyclopedia Brown. Could she be avenging something too?”

And the computer spit out, “Veronica attempts to uncover the California beach towns darkest secrets, including who killed her best friend and Duncans sister, Lilly, and created a scandal that cost her father his job, his home and wife.” Ah, that’s better. Too bad no one will ever see the episode where she actually gets redemption.

Monday nights at 9:30 brings Second Time Around. Here’s the description from the indispensable Marc Berman from Mediaweek: “Real-life couple Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Parker played a divorced couple who decide to give wedded bliss a second chance.” I think Berman just made a typo by referring to the show in the past tense but likely a prescient one.

Kodjoe plays a “handsome, earnest architect” (on TV, is there any other kind?) and Parker is a “beautiful, free-spirited artist” (of course) and their 2nd marriage is more romantic and fun-filled than the first. They married too young, you see, and now they think they’re ready to try again and be more mature this time around. So far, so funny.

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Apparently this is going to be one of those shows where the supporting characters are really “wacky,” and thus the hilarity ensues. The wife’s best friend is Coco, a TV-friendly sassy name if there ever was one (and just in case the name wasn’t enough of a tipoff, UPN describes her as “spirited”). She thinks that “leftovers shouldn’t be reheated” (Ooooh, you tell ’em honey!) and thinks the marriage is a mistake. The guy’s younger brother is a dentist with a lavish lifestyle (computer glitch?) and he and his “snobbish fiance” think the newly remarried couple should join them in couples therapy. No word on if there’s a wisecracking reverend or owlish mother-in-law who never liked the husband/wife.

And what hijinks will the couple encounter? They will “frequently find themselves in funny, awkward situations when old lovers, old arguments and old division of property issues surface.” Nothing funnier than watching a real married couple play a fake married couple that was once divorced. Maybe the computers weren’t involved. Maybe a couples therapist suggested the couple work out their issues through the sitcom.

Up Next: Fox (you don’t want to miss this one, folks. See ya tomorrow.)

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