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Not much new to shout about on Fox this season

Fox got a head start on the new fall season when it premiered the pilot of the high school musical series, "Glee," in May and gave it the summer to be buzzed about.
The energetic series with a terrific cast and some PG-13 story lines has gotten most critics singing its praises loudly.

I think it's an enjoyable, essentially decent series even if I'm way beyond the demographic. And probably since Western New York is an older community, last week's early premiere hit a sour ratings note locally. It only had a 3.9 rating, representing 3.9 percent of area households.

That is nothing for local Fox affiliate WUTV to be gleeful about. And until its postseason baseball coverage is over and its midseason begins, Fox doesn't have much new to shout about, either.
The good news for Fox is that it doesn't need much new. "House," "Bones," last season's "Lie to Me" and its animated and reality shows hold the fort until midseason when "American Idol" returns with the addition of Ellen DeGeneres as a judge, giving that aging show something new to talk about.
Here is a capsule summary of its fall and midseason shows.
* "The Cleveland Show," 9:30 p.m. Sunday: Spinoff of "Family Guy," it follows the animated adventures of Cleveland Brown, an African-American, and his teenage son as they seek a new life away from the Griffins.
You'll like it if: You're a fan of the politically incorrect and celebrity-laced humor of "The Family Guy." The pilot opens with a condom joke and proceeds to make an insensitive joke about actress Kathleen Turner. Dolly Parton and Jimmy Fallon jokes aren't far behind.
You'll hate it if: You're too sensitive to enjoy weight jokes, breast jokes and racial jokes.
Outlook: It already has been renewed for a second season, which you can't say about Fallon yet. Rating: 2 1/2 stars (out of four)
* "Brothers," 8 p.m. Friday: Michael Strahan plays a former NFL player who spends most of his time trading insults with his brother (Darryl "Chill" Mitchell), who is in a wheelchair. Their oversexed, aging parents referee. Chill to Mike: "I'm better looking. All my teeth are next to each other."
You'll like it if: You miss Don Rickles' humor.
You'll hate it if: You think politically incorrect jokes about paralysis, missing teeth, sex organs and the early stages of Alzheimer's belong on animated shows, not traditional comedies. The incredibly loud laugh track is another annoyance.
Outlook: Insult humor didn't even work for Fox when Rickles had his own show. The season's worst pilot, it makes Strahan's limited acting experience irrelevant. Rating: 1 star
* "Human Target," midseason: Mark Valley ("Boston Legal," "Fringe") stars in an action drama as Christopher Chance, a witty, wacky, wise guy who puts his life at risk as a one-man security force in a series based on a DC Comics character. Chi McBride ("Boston Public") co-stars as his busy partner, who wonders if Chance is slipping. The fast-moving pilot is set in a $62 billion speeding super train, where the sexy woman that Chance is protecting is in danger. Before signing on, he childishly asks "would I get to ride on [the train]?"
You'll like it if: You love the "Die Hard" movies, can easily suspend disbelief and are taken in by Valley's misleading boy-next-door appeal.
You'll hate it if: You aren't in the target audience for adventure and dry humor and desire more complicated mysteries.
Outlook: It hits all the targets -- adventure, humor, suspense and male bonding -- near perfectly. A great thrill ride, it is one of the season's best new shows. Review: 3 1/2 stars
* "Past Life," midseason: A disbelieving, damaged and superstitious cop (Nicholas Bishop) teams with a pretty psychologist (soap star Kelli Giddish) who is an expert in reincarnation to solve old crimes.
In the pilot, a teenage basketball player, Noah, suffers from "emergent recession trauma," which means he is tortured by images from his past life as a kidnapped and murdered young girl. Every time he sees a pool, he gets weirded out, apparently because he was around water as a little girl. Initially, Noah speaks for the audience: "So you really believe all this crap, huh?" The psychologist speaks to the audience later by saying, "This isn't a joke." And at the end, after the case is solved, the detective tells her, "Just so you know, I still think you're crazy."
You'll like it if: Shirley MacLaine is your role model and you believe in "Ghost Whisperer," "Medium" and "The X-Files."
You'll hate it if: You're a nonbeliever in weird, creepy shows that solve a lifetime of pain in an hour and desperately try to humanize the lead characters. He's a widower, she's a loner. And you don't like being lectured at.
Outlook: A show like this sinks or swims with the casting of charismatic leads and neither Giddish nor Bishop will be confused with past Fox stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Review: Two stars
* "Sons of Tucson," midseason: Tyler Labine, the kooky one on CW's "Reaper," stars in this comedy as a department store worker and con man so desperate for money that he agrees to help out three annoying kids who need a father figure to deal with school issues while they live alone. Created by Todd Holland, whose resume includes the much-loved and short-lived "Wonderfalls."
You'll like it if: You buy Labine's brand of manic, talkative and fidgety humor.
You'll hate it if: You can take about two minutes of Labine before you run for the exits.
Outlook: I didn't laugh once at Labine's lunacy in the pilot. Worse, neither did my 16-year-old son, who is in the target audience and loves a former Fox show it is being compared to -- "Malcolm in the Middle." Rating: 1 1/2 stars


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