Radiation by Fiona Rae

CSI: K Road

I was searched for bombs and dangerous weapons the other day on K Road by cops with walkie-talkies and guns. There were young soldiers standing around with machine guns and a body on the pavement near a New York cop car.

I opened my bag for inspection and produced my ID – it seemed churlish not to – but TV3’s launch of its product for 2005 was just a leeetle try-hard. And, as you may have guessed, heavy on the CSI: NY theme.

Still, they did seem to get a lot of industry punters along, once again proving the theory “if you provide free piss, they will come”. The launch was at the Studio in K Road, and featured Nathan Rarere and Oscar Kightley as MCs, who introduced “The Beastie Boys”, three guys who rapped their way through a showreel of the new shows. Yup, try-hard, but I must admit to a sneaking admiration by the time they’d been rapping for a good 10 minutes and had made rhymes out of Boston Legal and Battlestar Galactica.

These launches are strange affairs; as a member of the ordinary viewing public (well, sort-of), it’s the time that you realise that for a good portion of the television industry, programmes are not actually creative endeavours, or art, or a permanent record of something worth having a permanent record of, but actually they’re product. They’re something to sell the ads around. Sure, you want good product, or at lease one that attracts an audience. The better the product, the more expensive the ads.

So here’s a rundown-ette of some of TV3’s new shows:

CSI: NY: Where else would the CSI franchise go next but to New York? Like the other two, it hinges on the mysterious attractions of its leading man: CSI has the enigmatic and slightly creepy Gil Grissom, there’s the annoying and pompous Horatio Caine in CSI: Miami and CSI: NY has “unabashed nerd” Mac Taylor (Gary Sinese), at least according to this review. (Don’t worry; no spoilers.) Thing is, with already two CSIs on the go at 22 or so episodes each, there’s bound to be some crossover – just how much forensic faffing about can you take in one week? The very gorgeous Melina Kanakaredes provides extra eye candy.

Boston Legal: Weirdo James Spader in yet another reinvention that’s a spill-over from his turn in the final series of The Practice. But surely, it has to be worth watching for William Shatner alone. He’s. never. been. funnier. According to this story from newsday.com.

Outrageous Fortune: Yay, at last another local drama, after the relative desert of this year (with the notable exception of Insiders Guide, of course). It features a Westie family of small-time crims called, er, the Wests, who try to go straight.

Medical Investigation: Possibly a CSI knock-off with a dash of virus paranoia: a team of attractive health professionals fight outbreaks of unexplained diseases, complete with reconstructions. Eww.

The Inside: Alias for tweens: a pretty American teenager (Rachel Nichols) works undercover at a high school to bust a drug ring. Also stars Peter Facinelli, who is currently in Six Feet Under. Ron Howard exec produces.

The Jury: Of possible interest because the cast includes Adam Busch (Warren from Buffy), but does the world really need another courtroom/lawyer/crime drama thing? New twist: it follows the jury deliberations. Barry Levinson exec produces.

What else? Kath & Kim; The Rebel Billionaire: Branson’s Quest for the Best: Branson does a Donald; Trading Spouses (the US version of the British Wife Swap); Method & Red: Method Man and Redman in fictionalised versions of their lives; Law & Order: Trial By Jury, another spin-off and awfully like The Jury; Rock Star: the search for a new singer for INXS; Listen Up: Jason Alexander’s new sitcom; The Medium: a housewife (Patricia Arquette no less) can see dead people; Complete Savages: Mel Gibson-produced sitcom, although no dead Jesuses as far as I know; new eps of Battlestar Galactica; and The 4400, an alien-abduction mini series that rated well in the US.

Thanks to the hordes that pointed out that the Rainbow footage linked to in the last blog was actually a spoof done by the cast for the BBC Christmas party. Fantastic. Funny how it seemed almost possible; the 70s weren’t that naïve were they? No, of course not. Were they?

Here’s the Letterman list:
Monday Oct 18: Billy Crystal
Tuesday Oct 19: Frog expert Chris Raxworthy
Wednesday Oct 20: John Mellencamp
Thursday, Oct 21: Jude Law and Ricky Gervais
Friday Oct 22: Sarah Michelle Geller and IRL racing champion Tony Kanaan
Monday Oct 25: Dustin Hoffman and Bjork
Tuesday Oct 26: Amy Sedaris and Tommy Lee