Published August 23, 2005
That Office Max commerical guy, Rubberband Man, is coming to prime time. And one of the new ABC shows is a bilingual sitcom -- TV's first.
The New York Post's Adam Buckman watched tapes of nearly all the new fall TV shows. Here's what he found:
1. Rubberband Man is coming to NBC. You know the guy -- he's Eddie Steeples (search), the dancing, debonair office-supplies guy with the huge afro in the Office Max commercials. This fall, he's playing Darnell on "My Name is Earl," (search) a new comedy that happens to be the most promising of all the new shows.
3. Brian Austin Green (search), formerly of "Beverly Hills 90210," has dropped the "Austin." He's now either Brian A. Green or just Brian Green. He's in "Freddie" as Freddie's neighbor and best friend.
4. The TV industry's imagination knows no limits when it comes to matching up stars to play parents. This season's pairings include Stockard Channing and Henry Winkler in "Out of Practice," a CBS comedy about a family of medical professionals; Sharon Gless and Martin Mull in "Thick and Thin," an NBC comedy about two sisters, one fat and one skinny; and, weirdest of all, Mark Linn-Baker (of "Perfect Strangers") and Melanie Griffith on "Twins," (search) a WB comedy.
5. Sitcom narrators are here to stay. It's been a long time coming, but this coming season, it's a rare comedy series that doesn't have one or more of its main characters introducing other characters and explaining their relationships.
6. A number of the new shows have casts crowded with recognizable names and faces. My favorite cast: CBS's "Threshold," about a team of experts investigating an apparent landing of extraterrestrials in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The show stars Carla Gugino ("Karen Cisco"), Brent Spiner ("Star Trek: The Next Generation"), Peter Dinklage ("The Station Agent") and Charles Dutton ("Roc").
7. TV itself is the subject on a number of TV shows. On "My Name is Earl," Earl Hickey (Jason Lee) gets a new lease on life by watching "Last Call with Carson Daly." On "Hot Properties," a comedy about New York real-estate brokers on ABC, one of the characters learns about cheating husbands by watching "Oprah." And on "The War At Home," a FOX comedy about a modern fractured family, Dad (Michael Rappaport) blames Mary Tyler Moore for wrecking the American family by inspiring women in the 1970s to go out into the workplace.
8. While some of the new fall shows are subpar as usual, most of them, for a change, are pretty darned good.
And that was the biggest surprise of all.