In just a few weeks, I'll begin to reconnect with the old friend that was there for me all those years growing up, always ready to drown out the noise issuing from my trying-a-little-too-hard-to-create-some-kind-of-a-relationship parental units. I'll relax with the companion who showed me that life is something to be lived on a two-dimensional playing field. And learn from the same wise chum who taught me the difference between right (BJ; The Bear) and wrong (Sheriff Lobo).
I hope you're ready, too. But, in case you haven't been paying attention, here's what we've got coming to us.
Sex and the Citadel (HBO): The "relationship quest" of three young, eligible females in South Carolina who are attending the famed (previously all boys) military school. The higher-ranking, hard-bodied man-boys are anxious to make an impression on the "cadettes" and go all out to get their attention. Soon, the girls are doing push-ups in a hailstorm with the captain of the football team standing on their backs; having dirty nothings screamed into their ears at 5 a.m.; finding notes "pinned" to their pillows with bayonets why, if you didn't know this was love, you'd think it was war. Of course, through it all, the girls keep their optimistic eyes on the ultimate prize: To find true love before being completely stripped of their individual identities and self-esteem.
Steven Bochco's Dreams (CBS): Drama meets reality television meets Being John Malkovich as a documentary film crew with a cutting edge, micro-miniature digital imaging system is given unlimited access to the inside of the brilliant and prolific (L.A. Law, NYPD Blue, Cop Rock, et al) creator/writer/ producer's cranium during his overnight hours. Now America will be privy to this giant's every dream and nocturnal cognition. And if we're watching him dream, do we really have to?
The Queen of Duke (FOX): What happens when a smart-talking, sequin-studded, 5-inch stiletto-heeled drag queen, through a series of clerical slip-ups and mistaken identities, is appointed Dean of Duke University? Sidesplitting comedy, of course. This half-hour is sure to please as RuPaul brings his/her over-the-top transvestite stylings to primetime for the first time. In a show that's equal parts Will & Grace (laughing at people we wouldn't want leading our Boy Scouts) and Maude (slack-jawed disbelief about the star's true gender).
Attorney at Law, M.D. (ABC): An hour drama that combines the only two professional careers law and medicine really worthy of an hour drama. The action focuses on Dr. Hamilton Gillespie, Esq. (Gregory Harrison), the holder of a double degree from Harvard. A brilliant, risk-taking surgeon, Gillespie's also an aggressive, passionate personal injury lawyer. You'll want to watch each week as this hero/anti-hero winds up taking himself to court for malpractice.
The Name Game (WB): With the Big Four networks still largely ignoring black America, the WB remains the minority network of choice. Now, they're giving an ethnocentric twist to the game show category with The Name Game, where, for big money prizes, contestants must identify and/or spell actual African-American names. Sample question: Choose the correct spelling: a) Lakiesha; b) Lakeesha; c) LaKeeshah; d) La'keessha'a; e) all of the above. Host: LaToya Jackson.
Jesus Saves (UPN): With the through-the-roof success of the Jesus miniseries and the Jesus/Peter Jennings news special, it was only a matter of time before we got the Jesus series. Here, Kevin Williamson (Dawson's Creek) narrows the focus of his series to the handful of summers the Christian messiah spent as a lifeguard at the Sea of Galilee Public Beach. Each week the handsome, flat-ab'ed savior resuscitates swimmers after they've drowned, hangs with his "D-boys" (disciples) and bakes on the best tan this side of heaven (or, as he tells his D-boys, "I'm giving my skin for your sins.").
Whose String of Irrational Negative Numbers Is It Anyway? (Comedy Central): Stephen Hawking is the host for improvisational comedy sketches where punch lines are expressed as mathematical formulae. Easily as funny as the show from which it stole its premise. ©