”DARK ANGEL” (Fox, May 3)
Few shows have gone as quickly from Next Big Thing to Where’s That Show Starring Jessica Whatshername? Remember a year ago, when the dark angel of this futuristic adventure show, Jessica Alba, was the hot new media darling? Well, since it settled into Friday nights at 9, ”Dark Angel” has taken a nosedive in the ratings. Can it be saved? The series is banking on its co-creator and executive producer — the man who sunk the Titanic for the pleasure of millions, James Cameron — to raise ”Dark Angel.” Cameron is directing the season finale, with the hope that high ratings will result in getting the show renewed for a third season. If not, I suppose Alba can always drop the ”dark” in her title and go over to the WB’s ”Angel” as a free agent.
”THE OSBOURNES” (MTV, May 7)
Somehow I doubt that the best new reality show on television will conclude with a cliff-hanger. (What would that be in the Osbourne universe? Ozzy nicks himself shaving and can’t find a bandage? Daughter Kelly has a day in which nothing makes her cranky? Wife Sharon vows not to say the ”F” word for one entire day?) But no matter how ”The Osbournes” wraps up its first season, it leaves us wanting more-more-more, which leads to its own cliff-hanger now that MTV has ponied up $20 mil for the clan to return: Is the family too media-savvy, too self-conscious of their newfound fame, to make a second season the treat the first one was? Ozzy’s old band, Black Sabbath, had a best-of album called ”We Sold Our Soul for Rock & Roll”; will the Osbournes sell theirs for TV?
”ALIAS” (ABC, May 12)
For a show that concludes every episode with a cliffhanger, coming up with a topper for the final installment of ”Alias”’ smashing debut season should be a doozy, one that creator J.J. Abrams has undoubtedly planned for maximum audience excitement. What with all the swirling subplots about her mother’s secrets that super-agent Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) is slowly learning, to say nothing of the hectic huggermugger Sydney’s SD-6 boss (Ron Rifkin) is involved in? well, I expect to be placed at the edge of my seat and glued there until next fall.