TV Eye

Off with a roar

<i>Father of the Pride</i>
Father of the Pride

NBC, the broadcast network that carried the Olympic games, is using the momentum to launch its fall series and season premieres. First out of the shoot is the animated series Father of the Pride. The first prime-time CGI-animated series from DreamWorks Animation is created by Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose Shrek films are products of the CGI technology.

The titular father is John Goodman (Roseanne) as Larry, a showbiz lion who works for illusionists and exotic animal trainers Siegfried & Roy. TV veterans Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Carl Reiner, and Orlando Jones play wife Kate, father-in-law Sarmoti, and Snack, a gopher and one of several furry creatures who make up the animal community loosely based on the wildlife compounds Siegfried & Roy have opened to breed and raise exotic wild animals.

What with cute animals and talking lions, the premise sounds like light family fare. However, most of the situations and language are more appealing to adults and perhaps inappropriate for younger children. All the better that this new series, with some of the same spunk as The Simpsons, be paired with Scrubs. Finally, the slightly absurd comedy has a worthy lead-in.

Father of the Pride premieres Aug. 31 at 8pm, with repeats on Sept. 2 at 8:30pm and Sept. 4 at 7pm on NBC.

Other Series Premieres

Hawaii: Cool cops on hot beaches. This update of the Hawaii Five-0 series features a younger cast and more exotic crimes. The ensemble drama features Michael Biehn (The Rock), Sharif Atkins (ER), Ivan Sergei (Crossing Jordan), Eric Balfour (Six Feet Under), and others. Premieres Wednesday, Sept. 1, at 7pm on NBC. Repeats on Sept. 3 and 4.

Visiones: This highly anticipated documentary series from local filmmaker Hector Galán comes to the small screen after five-plus years in the making. After several successful films focusing on the Mexican-American experience in music and politics, Galán focuses on a broader palette, featuring Latino and Chicano artists from several disciplines from across the country to discover how arts shape culture and how culture shapes artists. Airs over six Sundays starting Sept. 5 at 9:30pm on PBS.

The Complex: A new reality show from the creators of American Idol and The Swan. Eight couples compete for the chance to win big bucks by putting their home-improvement skills to work. In this case, they are responsible for renovating apartments in a high-end Southern California community where money is no object. However, this is not the case for the competing couples. Tight deadlines, a limited budget, and living in the debris of the renovation site are the real challenges. Renovated units will be sold at a public auction. The couple whose unit sells for the highest profit wins the profits from all the units sold. Two-hour series premiere Monday, Aug. 30, at 7pm on Fox.

Joey: This high-profile spin-off from Friends takes over its predecessor's coveted Thursday night time-slot. Picking up where Friends left off, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) moves to Los Angeles to make it as an actor, joining his high-strung sister Gina (Drea de Matteo, the beloved moll from The Sopranos) and her 20-year-old son, Michael (Paulo Costanzo, Road Trip). Michael's a rocket scientist. Literally. Joey is still dopey, lovable Joey. Is this enough to make lightening strike twice? The network sure hopes so. Premieres Thursday, Sept. 9, at 7pm on NBC.

Medical Investigation: CSI meets 24 in this new series starring Neal McDonough (Boomtown) and Kelli Williams (The Practice) as members of a mobile medical team from the National Institutes of Health who investigate fatal diseases, plagues, and epidemics before they create panic or worse. Sneak peek is Thursday, Sept. 9, at 9pm on NBC. It replays in its regular time-slot on Friday, Sept. 10, at 9pm.

Check local listings for updated airtimes.

Fall season premieres continue throughout September. Some "must watch" shows from those reviewed so far include:

Kevin Hill and Veronica Mars (UPN): The painfully beautiful Taye Diggs stars as Kevin Hill, an entertainment lawyer whose life in the fast lane hits a speed bump when he assumes custody of his cousin's baby. Newcomer Kristen Bell holds her own as the titular lead of Veronica Mars. To call her a modern-day Nancy Drew is an understatement, and the series, while stretching the limits of plausibility, still manages to ring true, thanks to Bell's marvelous performance.

CSI: NY (CBS): I'm not overly fond of this franchise, yet I watch when it comes on. Why? It's easily digestible. Each episode ends with loose ends tied up and the bad guys going to jail. The overqualified Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump) and Melina Kanakaredes (Providence) star in this new edition of the franchise.

Desperate Housewives and Life as We Know It (ABC): Strange, funny, and eerie enough to make it riveting, Desperate Housewives boldly looks at the underbelly of a perfect suburban neighborhood through the eyes of a woman who used to call Wisteria Lane home. If you're bored with angst-filled teen dramas, Life as We Know It will be a pleasant surprise. Sure, the angst is still there, but this one features the perspective of three teenage boys. Which just goes to show that boys are as nutty, sweet, and aggravating as teenage girls – but without the fashion issues.

As always, stay tuned.

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Fall 2004 TV season

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