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FOX 2006 Fall Show Reviews

By Shawn McKenzie 09/24/2006

I have already reviewed the other 2006 fall shows on FOX (see my reviews of “Vanished,” “Celebrity Duets,” and “Justice.”)  Here are the rest of the new shows that I reviewed (until after FOX’s October baseball hiatus.)

Go directly to my reviews of “Standoff,” “‘Til Death,” and “Happy Hour.”

Standoff” Review

Matt Flannery (Ron Livingston) and Emily Lehman (Rosemarie DeWitt) are two of L.A.’s top hostage negotiators (Emily literally wrote the handbook on hostage negotiating as a manual for trainees.)  They also happen to be two FBI agents working for the Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU) who have been sleeping together for almost three months now.  Obviously, they don’t want to have anyone know about it, but Matt spills the beans while negotiating with the pilot’s first hostage taker (guest star Tom Wopat.)  This doesn’t make Matt and Emily’s boss, Cheryl Carrera (Gina Torres, who insists on over-enunciating her character’s last name) very happy, and she wants the two to break up.  She doesn’t want to fire them, because they are amongst the top five best hostage negotiators in the Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG), so she wants to make sure that there isn’t going to be a problem.  They insist that there isn’t a problem…but that doesn’t stop the gossip to flow amongst their colleagues…including intelligence officer/computer geek Lia Mathers (Raquel Alessi), Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) commander Frank Rogers (Michael Cudlitz), and one of Frank’s men, HRT agent Duff Gonzalez (José Pablo Cantillo.)  By the third episode, Matt and Emily admit to Cheryl that they are still dating, and she doesn’t have a problem with it…as long as she doesn’t see it during working hours.  I was glad that they didn’t make it a secret, because I wanted to watch more of what the show was about…the hostage negotiations.  I’ve always been fascinated by movies with hostage situations, such as this year’s Inside Man, and I really like it when crime shows do the “hostage” plotline.  The only thing I’m a little disappointed about was that FOX’s press release description of “Standoff” compared it to “Moonlighting” with the suspense of “24.”  While I can’t deny that it had some of “24’s” tension, it didn’t have the witty banter of “Moonlighting.”  As much as I like Livingston as an actor…he’s no Bruce Willis.  Heck…he isn’t even as witty as “Bones’” David Boreanaz (which makes me wonder why they didn’t put “Bones” and “Standoff” back to back on the same night.)  I really like the show, so I’ll stay for the action…at least until my girl Veronica Mars shows up again on the CW.

‘Til Death” Review

Eddie (Brad Garrett) and Joy (Joely Fisher) Stark (or Stamm…depending on where you read the description of the show) are a couple who have been married for 20 years (according to the show’s title card, it says that they have been married for 8,743 days, which would be almost 24 years.  The continuity is off, because in the third episode, Eddie supposedly proposed to Joy after watching 1986’s Top Gun…but I’m griping.)  Eddie is a history teacher at Churchill High School, and Joy is a travel agent.  They have gotten used to each other’s quirks, and they are comfortable with them.  Jeff (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Steph (Kat Foster) Woodcock are a married couple who have been married for only 12 days (at least in the beginning of the pilot episode), and they just moved in next door to Eddie and Joy.  Jeff is the new vice principal down at Churchill…so essentially, he is Eddie’s boss (thank goodness the show never has Jeff bossing Eddie around.)  Jeff and Steph are still in that “cutesy” stage.  This drives Eddie crazy, so he constantly tries to make Jeff as miserable as he is in their respective marriages.  The thing about Eddie and Joy is that they are still a loving couple (so I’m glad that they don’t do the whole Roper thing from “Three’s Company” and just tolerate one another.)  They are just used to being disgusting around one another, while Jeff and Steph feed each other from their dinner plates surrounded by candles.  When Garrett left CBS’s long-running hit sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” there were rumors that his next project was going to be a spin-off show involving his Robert Barone character.  Apparently, that never got off the ground, but it is not surprising that the Emmy-winning actor would be in a new show.  I just wish that he had been in a funnier show like FOX’s “‘Til Death.”  The promos for the show didn’t make it appealing, and once I saw the final product, I was still not impressed.  Garrett makes it funny occasionally, but there is no chemistry between him and Fisher (an actress that I really like.)  Thomas and Foster have chemistry, but it is in that fake sitcomy style (Foster’s character is way too perky to be believable.)  I’m predicting that the show will most likely fail against NBC’s far superior “My Name is Earl.”  Is it too late for CBS to reconsider creating a “Raymond” spin-off for Brad?


Happy Hour” Review

Henry Beckman (John Sloan) was a guy from Amsterdam, Missouri, who thought that he had everything going for him…the girl of his dreams named Heather Hanson (Brooke D’Orsay), a great job working for Heather’s uncle, and a cool new apartment in Chicago.  That all went away when Heather dumped Henry because she was “blossoming.”  She felt as if she needed changes in her life...and one of those changes was getting rid of Henry.  Now single, jobless, and homeless, he answers a want ad in her building from a guy named Larry Cone (Lex Medlin), a guy who sells T-shirts online, who is looking to replace his ex-roommate.  Larry’s best friend is Brad Cooper (Nat Faxon), and they used to be roommates, until Brad met Tina Difabio (Jamie Denbo), a shrew of a woman who keeps him whipped.  They are now engaged, and he currently lives with Tina.  Larry needs a project to work on, and he feels like Henry is just the right type of damaged goods that he can work with.  Henry moves in with Larry, and Larry sets Henry up with a job working for one of Larry’s other good friends, Amanda Pennington (Beth Lacke.)  The interview with Amanda doesn’t go well, but he gets the job anyway.  Henry still pines for Heather, but sleeping with Amanda in the pilot and sucking back one of Larry’s 4 P.M. martinis helps ease the pain.  Brothers Jackie and Jeff Filgo…the creators of “That ‘70s Show”…created “Happy Hour.”  You would think that the creators of one of FOX’s funniest and longest running shows would be able to come up with a great follow-up.  I almost wonder if FOX needed something to fill the gap between “‘Til Death” and “Celebrity Duets” (why not bring back the better “The Bernie Mac Show?”)  No one on this show is funny, and Lacke specifically is trying to copy Debra Messing’s Grace Adler character on NBC’s “Will & Grace.”  Many experts are predicting that this will be the first show of the season to be canceled, and I’ve recently found out that it has been put on hiatus until after FOX’s October baseball programming hiatus (it will come back on November 2.)  Why don’t you have a martini and kick back while watching NBC’s Emmy-winning “The Office” instead…because you won’t find any happiness in this half-hour on FOX.


Ratings System:


Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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