By Bruce Fretts
Updated May 30, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Everybody knows you can’t judge a movie by its trailer. Still, that didn’t stop us from judging next season’s new TV series by the brief clip reels shown to advertisers at the networks’ fall-lineup presentations. Thus, our annual ill-informed first impressions follow.


SKIN (Fox, Mondays, 9-10 p.m.) Redoing Romeo and Juliet as a modern teen romance set in L.A. isn’t the most original idea, except when Romeo’s DA dad (Kevin Anderson) is prosecuting Juliet’s porn-king pop (Ron Silver). Methinks Shakespeare would approve.

KAREN SISCO (ABC, Wednesdays, 10-11 p.m.) Carla Gugino assumes J. Lo’s role as the sultry Miami marshal in a slick adaptation of 1998’s Out of Sight. Considering the show airs against Law & Order, one can only hope the movie’s title doesn’t prove prophetic.

THE HANDLER (CBS, Fridays, 10-11 p.m.) Lovable Sopranos whackee Joe ”Joey Pants” Pantoliano stars as a senior FBI agent who trains a team of young undercover operatives. Lesson No. 1: Never lose your head.

STEVE HARVEY’S BIG TIME (The WB, Thursdays, 8-8:30 p.m.) The Original King of Comedy’s stupid-human-tricks show (featuring, for example, a guy who makes sandwiches with his feet) looks anything but stupid — no surprise, since Daily Show mastermind Madeleine Smithberg is exec-producing it.


WHOOPI (NBC, Tuesdays, 8-8:30 p.m.) Every season must have its Emeril, and this year’s eponymous sitcom turkey may be Whoopi Goldberg’s strained farce about a diva turned hotelier. When the Whoopster hires an Iranian concierge, the fun begins — and ends.

THREAT MATRIX (ABC, Thursdays, 8-9 p.m.) You know ABC must’ve been looking for any excuse to use the word Matrix in a title, but does the net really think an anonymous action drama about the Homeland Security Agency will pose a real Threat to Survivor and Friends?

JOAN OF ARCADIA (CBS, Fridays, 8-9 p.m.) Touched by an Angel’s body is barely cold, but God’s already got a new show, in which He speaks to a small-town teenager (Amber Tamblyn). She’s like Joan of Arc — get it? Can’t wait for her May-sweeps stake burning.

TARZAN AND JANE (The WB, Sundays, 9-10 p.m.) Resolved: Monkeys make any show better. So where the hell is Cheetah in this urban-jungle update of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ legend (which laughably recasts Jane as a tough NYPD cop)? Me Tarzan, you Jane, this bites.