Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Fall Outlook: "Commander-in-Chief" Promising, "Out of Practice" and "E-Ring" Hopeless? (Updated)

From the New York Times "Commander in Chief" Review:

"On ABC's "Commander in Chief," Geena Davis plays Mackenzie Allen, the vice president who becomes leader of the free world when the president has a stroke - a 25th Amendment fantasy played out, not as comedy, but as a distaff version of "The West Wing."

The show is alarmingly blithe about foreign policy, and sometimes a little silly ("Can't you smell the history?" one aide says to another) but a woman in charge of the nuclear button is a beguiling premise. What would that White House be like?

Apparently, it would be a lot like "The West Wing," but the casting, at least, is creative. Ms. Davis is surprisingly commanding as commander in chief (Earth Girls aren't easy). Calm, stately and quick witted, President Allen is as honorable and able as "The West Wing's" Josiah Bartlet, but it turns out that even in fiction women have to try twice as hard as men. President Bartlet was a university professor with a Nobel Prize in economics. Mackenzie Adams is a university chancellor whose leadership garnered two Nobel Prizes."

The Kansas City Star says "Commander in Chief" is one of the best new shows and will likely be renewed:
"“Commander in Chief” (8 p.m. Tuesdays, ABC). Good news, Geena Davis — you’ve just become president of the United States (and on a hot network, no less). The bad news? Nobody wants you there (except the people who run the hot network). This could be the show of the year if the writers could only put a lid on the melodrama. Forecast: Renewed."

"E-Ring", dubbed by some "The West Wing" in the Pentagon is in their "Don't Bother" Category:
''E-Ring'' (NBC, Wednesdays; debuts Sept. 21) -- Big disappointment. Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper in a loud bells-and-whistles action yarn set in the Pentagon. Suspense and urgency quickly give way to the realization that nothing is really happening."

From the Lexington Herald:
Commander in Chief (ABC, Tuesday) could make you forget The West Wing. It has all the politics and inspiration we like in our fictional presidents, but the intrigue of seeing a woman in the role for the first time.

From the Philadelphia Daily News:
"ABC's "Commander In Chief." 9 p.m. Tuesdays, Channel 6. Geena Davis stars as the president of the United States, and if that just makes you giggle, you've wandered into the wrong show. But while "Commander In Chief" sometimes makes "The West Wing" look like a documentary, it also manages to capture the optimism of that show's early years in a way I found appealing in spite of myself. Premieres: Sept. 27."

From the Cincinnati Post:
"The scoop: This is not so much a "West Wing" wannabe as a family drama about a woman president raising three kids in the White House. We see her husband dealing with being the first "First Gentleman." Redoing that pink office may be at the top of his list. Sutherland is tremendous as the slimy speaker. Producers may have wimped out by making her an independent and this whole concept at times feels a little contrived. But Davis is so classy she pulls it off. It could be an intriguing series providing a weekly dose of what-ifs."

The California State University Paper:
"Commander in Chief" stars Geena Davis as the first female president. If it can focus on real issues in addition to doubt about the First Lady being a man, it has the potential to be the lifeboat to "The West Wing's" sinking ship."

From Cox News Service:
"Commander in Chief" is a Maybe-See
''Commander in Chief'' (ABC, Tuesdays; debuts Sept. 27) -- If you can get past Geena Davis' enormous lips and Donald Sutherland as a devil-incarnate Republican, you might enjoy this saga about the first female president. But don't look for the patriotic grandeur of ''The West Wing.'' This is more like ''June Cleaver Takes Over.''

"'Commander in Chief" also seems to be copying Josiah Bartlet by having Geena Davis "
throw out the first pitch . . . at Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards", as he did in the Season 5 finale.

As for "Out of Practice", the Kansas City Star says it is one the worst shows and will probably be cancelled:
"“Out of Practice” (8:30 p.m. Mondays, CBS). This alleged comedy about a family of doctors can boast a raft of TV stars past and present (Stockard Channing, Henry Winkler, Paula Marshall) as well as the brain trust behind “Frasier.” Thus it serves as this season’s annual demonstration of the old Conan O’Brien adage: It takes a lot of talented people working really hard to make a terrible show. Forecast: Canceled."

From the Lexington Herald:
Out of Practice (CBS, Monday) has a seasoned cast including Henry Winkler and Stockard Channing, below, who lead a family of doctors (except for one son, who's just a Ph.D.). Keeping the corniness to a minimum, these could be characters to love."

The Miami Herald:
The scoop: Gorham pretty much serves as a straight man for zingers from the rest of his extremely dysfunctional family, all of whom are doctors, in this tepid sitcom. There are two good things about this show: 1)The family could have been lawyers. 2) Channing's line that her philandering husband is sleeping with ''a 32-year-old freshly siliconed liposuctioned Frankenbimbo.'' Once you've heard her say it, change the channel with a clean conscience."

The Floridian pities "
talented actors Henry Winkler (Happy Days) and Stockard Channing (The West Wing) for CBS's horrible offering about a dysfunctional family of doctors in Out of Practice"

Cox News Service also puts "Out of Practice in the "Don't Bother" Category:
" ''Out of Practice'' (CBS, Mondays; debuts Sept. 19) -- Big waste of talent. Stockard Channing and Henry Winkler play divorced doctors in a dysfunctional family of docs, including a cocky cosmetic surgeon who jokes about breasts and a lesbian doctor who is supposed to be funny just because she's gay."

From the Boston Herald:
``Out of Practice'' ( , premieres Sept. 19 at 9:30 p.m. on WBZ) centers on a family of physicians and their ``failure'' of a son (Christopher Gorham), who couldn't cut it in medical school and works as a couples counselor. Stockard Channing (``The West Wing'') as a cardiologist with a frozen heart gets off the best lines.
Taking in her daughter's new hairdo, she says, ``You work in the ER, dear. People die there. Do you really want that hair to be the last thing they see?''
Still, ``Out's'' mix of pathos and comedy may be too acidic for viewers. "

From the Philadelphia Daily News:
CBS' "Out of Practice." 9:30 p.m. Mondays, Channel 3. Like last season's "Center of the Universe," this sitcom from two former "Frasier" producers brings together some fine actors - including Stockard Channing, Henry Winkler, Paula Marshall and "Jake 2.0's" Christopher Gorham - and just makes them annoying. Gorham plays a psychologist who's the only non-M.D. in his brilliant and dysfunctional family. Could do well following "Two and a Half Men," but unless it improves from the pilot, it doesn't deserve to. Premieres: Sept. 19."

From the Cincinnati Post:
"The scoop: The premise of caregivers who can't take care of themselves is a good one, seemingly with lots of comic fodder among the careers. The writing in the pilot seemed pretty forced, but we're going to give this a chance because of the tremendous cast. Winkler and Channing are wonderful in the pilot trading barbs."

But co-star Henry Winkler says in the L.A. Daily News:
" "Stockard and I did a scene in the fifth show. ... A friend said, 'We know more about the relationship in 30 seconds than you know sometimes over an entire run of another series.' ""

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