Archive for Saturday, October 21, 2006

Seasonlong sagas fall short

October 21, 2006


The season is only a month old, but some trends have become apparent. The popularity of "Lost" and "24" spawned a series of imitation series that require viewers to stay tuned and pay attention for an entire year. And some of these long-form shows have become the year's first casualties.

"Smith," the CBS heist drama, has already been canceled. Production for the NBC drama "Kidnapped" (8 p.m. today, NBC) has been shut down. The network will air existing episodes on Saturday nights, but no new episodes will be created. Over on Fox, the other kidnapping drama, "Vanished," has been ratings-challenged but has still avoided the ax. NBC's superb adaptation of "Friday Night Lights" has not found a significant audience. The family-as-fugitive melodrama "Runaway" was the least-watched show on network television. Not all of the serial dramas have tanked. "Jericho," the small-town mystery wrapped in an enigma shrouded in a mushroom cloud has thrived to date.

On tonight's "Kidnapped," the assassin known as a "The Accountant" poses as a surgeon to silence Virgil (Mykelti Williamson). Boy, that guy can multitask.

¢ We all know reality television is a mixed blessing, but who expected that the same genre that produced "Temptation Island" would inspire "The Monastery" (9 p.m. Sunday, TLC)? Five troubled men enter a Benedictine monastery in the heart of the New Mexico desert. They promise to abide by the rules of the monks and the strict practices set out by St. Benedict more than 1,500 years ago.

The guests include a former TV writer battling substance abuse, a paramedic whose daily exposure to injury and death have left him deeply cynical, a Star Trek buff turned Satanist turned would-be Episcopal priest, an ex-con and reformed gang member, and an irreverent veteran who returned from Iraq with only one leg and a chip on his shoulder when it comes to things spiritual.

Today's highlights

¢ Jim O'Connor shares tips on making party food out of candy corn and other holiday treats on "Secret Life of ... Halloween" (9 p.m., Food).

Sunday's highlights

¢ Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (6 p.m., CBS): An estimated $800 million is missing from Iraq's treasury; one boy's Darfur story.

¢ "20 Most Horrifying Hollywood Murders" (7 p.m., E!) recalls true-life celebrity homicides.


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