You’ve gotta love network TV execs. Every time one of ’em comes up with a fresh idea, the rest inexplicably start churning out pale imitations the following season. Last season’s watercooler smash, Lost, has spawned a plethora of new supernatural and sci-fi shows for the upcoming fall season. What’s worse is that they all have annoyingly generic, interchangeable titles, making it tricky to remember which is which.
Take the ones about alien or sea-creature invasions: There’s NBC’s Fathom, which was retitled Surface, perhaps so it would sound more like CBS’s Threshold, which might as well be called Invasion (that’s the ABC one, with the little girl who says, ”Mommy, you smell different”). None of the above should be confused with the Fox drama The Gate, a grisly crime show that’s been redubbed Criminal Instincts. Then there’s the straightforward-sounding Supernatural, which is about guys stalking creatures at night, like The Night Stalker, which at least sounds slightly scarier than The Ghost Whisperer, which isn’t scary at all (unless they decide to let star Jennifer Love Hewitt sing the title track).
And just to mix things up, the networks have given non-supernatural shows supernatural-sounding titles, like Fox’s Bones (about a coroner) and NBC’s Inconceivable (about a fertility clinic). Even the ABC sitcom Freddie is getting in on the act; nope, it’s not a half-hour showing the lighter side of the Nightmare on Elm Street villain, but rather, a frighteningly laugh-free vehicle for a certain Mr. Prinze Jr. Trust me on this one, you’ll need to watch it with the lights on.