Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2003

Meet the new TNN, same as the old TNN

August 16, 2003


It's official: TNN is now Spike TV. The male-oriented network kicks off its programming with "Ride with Funkmaster Flex" (6:30 p.m. today, Spike), a hip-hop flavored celebration of big, fancy and vintage American cars and trucks.

In the pilot episode, Mr. Flex shares car talk with Motor City rapper Eminem in a large, luxuriously appointed SUV named the Shady Mobile. The star of "8 Mile" does not seem terribly familiar with his car's gadgets and gizmos.

Flex concludes his street tour by teaching scantily clad rapper Lil' Kim to do burnouts in Flex's vintage Chevrolet. Along the way, Ms. Kim compares herself to Daisy, a character from "The Dukes of Hazzard," the sitcom most closely associated with the old Nashville Network, the granddaddy of Spike TV. The soundtrack may have changed from twang to funk, but the basic DNA remains the same: fast cars, monster trucks, girls in skimpy outfits and the men (and beer advertisers) who love them.

  • Viewers whose brains remain on summer vacation may enjoy the contrived romantic confection "See Jane Date" (7 p.m. today, Family). The rest of us will have to suffer through it. Charisma Carpenter stars in the title role as a single New York editor who endures a string of bad dates to find the right guy to take to the wedding of a dreadful relative. Why can't she go alone? Don't ask.
  • The last season of "Friends" hasn't even begun, but I am already sick of the buildup to the final episode. It's the rare sitcom, however, that gets such a big sendoff. Most disappear like old Soviet leaders, airbrushed from history. Such is the case with "Just Shoot Me" (7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. today, NBC). This once top-ranked sitcom lasted seven years, but NBC has simply "burned off" its final episodes, which end tonight. In the finale, members of the Blush staff glance back at the career of Jack (George Segal) as he plans his retirement.
  • Lou Diamond Phillips stars in the exceptionally silly cable thriller "Red Water" (7 p.m. Sunday, TBS). Phillips plays Sanders, a former oil-drilling expert turned disgruntled fisherman on a Louisiana river that just happens to be terrorized by a giant shark. Yes, it's a freshwater man-eating shark.

Meanwhile, a trio of bad guys (including Coolio in what may be the most over-the-top acting job of all time) plies the same river looking for sunken loot. Filled with absurd inconsistencies, "Red Water" is both baffling and laughable. If he does any more movies like this, Coolio should feed his agent to the mechanical shark.

Today's highlights

  • Cartoon Network kicks off a 12-hour "Duck vs. Rabbit Marathon" (6 a.m.), showcasing the best Looney Tunes cartoons about the immortal struggle between Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny.
  • Tim Robbins stars in the 2000 space drama "Mission to Mars" (7 p.m., ABC).
  • Actors you never heard of compete in games you don't care about on "Battle of the Network Stars" (8 p.m., NBC).

Sunday's highlights

  • Coverage of the X Games (6 p.m., ABC) includes bicycle stunts, skateboarding and the freestyle Moto X event.
  • Rocco copes with staff desertions on "The Restaurant" (9 p.m., NBC).
  • Jerry O'Connell appears on Mom and Dad's couch on the homemade Hoosier talkfest "The Michael Essany Show" (9:30 p.m., E!).

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