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Little-watched CW looks to the past and the future for female viewers

By Alan Pergament 

The letters CW pretty much stand for Can’t Watch in Western New York.

The most popular program by far carried on WNLO-TV, the local CW affiliate, is the 10 O’Clock News from Channel 4, its sister station.

Its ratings dwarf anything the CW network carries, partly because its shows are geared to younger female viewers and this area has an older demographic.

Clearly, I am not in the demographic. So for purposes of this blog, I have to pretend I am an 18 year-old female when I watch most of its shows.

This season, the CW is primarily launching female-friendly series that are set in historical times and the future.  Here's a brief look at its new series.

“The Originals,” 8 p.m. Tuesdays: The spin-off of the relatively popular "The Vampire Diaries," aired its pilot in April. It is set in New Orleans, where witches live in fear and werewolves and vampires are also battling for our attention. Despite the setting, we're not talking "True Blood" excitement here. There are a bunch of handsome guys and beautiful girls, family conflicts and a battle between a good blood sucker and the guy he mentored. There wasn't much original in the lifeless, poorly-written pilot. But I haven't laughed so much at dialogue since my sister-in-law took me to the second installment of "The Twilight Saga" so it does have some entertainment value. 1 star out of 4

 “The Tomorrow People” 9 p.m. Wednesdays: Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell) thought he was a normal teenager until about a year ago when his genes took over and he teleported into the bed of his pretty next store neighbor and her husband. He also began hearing voices. He quickly learns he is one of the genetically-enhanced Tomorrow People that a paramilitary group is trying to put out of business. After he gets uncontrollable superpowers, he has to decide which side he is on. This being CW, everyone is handsome or pretty and there are potential hookups everywhere. Mark Pellegrino, who played Jacob on "Lost," plays the leader of the paramilitary group trying to end Tomorrow.  The humorous opener is loaded with talky exposition so it is hard to see it enhancing the CW brand. But it has good genes in that it is produced by Greg Berlanti ("Arrow," "Brothers & Sisters,” "Everwood"). 2 stars

“Reign,” 9 p.m. Thursdays: Great Scot. Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane of “Teen Wolf”),  that is. She is a strong-willed, feminist teenager headed to France, with four ladies-in-waiting, to marry Prince Francis (Toby Regbo). Except he isn’t so hot on the idea, partly because he remembers her "as
having skinny legs, missing front teeth and strong opinions" when they were little and partly because he thinks love is over-rated. He is more worried about the future of his country and she seems more interested in his more caring half-brother Bash (Torrance Coombs). Meanwhile, Mary's future mother-in-law, Queen Catherine (Megan Follows), is trying to sabotage the engagement because Nostradamus predicts it is important to do so. WNY's Laurie McCarthy is one of the producers of this series, which is basically a "Gossip Girl" version of history. I’m no Nostradamus, but I can’t see this becoming a hit. Rating 2 stars  

"The 100," midseason: Isaiah Washington ("Grey’s Anatomy"), Paige Turco ("Person of Interest") and Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond on "Lost") are among the high-profile names attached to a series about 100 juvenile prisoners exiled from space stations back to Earth to see if it is livable almost 100 years after a nuclear Armageddon.  Their exile enables the 4,000 survivors to buy more time to live in space as resources dwindle. While the grownups argue and have power plays in space, the juvenile delinquents – led by Clarke (Eliza Taylor, who looks a little like Reese Witherspoon), the strong-willed daughter of Turco’s character -- are off to Earth trying to survive. The back-stabbing of her peers making the potential radiation the least of their problems. Despite the big names, most of the drama is predictable and everything falls flat. Rating: 2 stars       

"Star-Crossed": Aimee Teegarden is the star of this Romeo-and Juliet-like drama that also could be a metaphor for the Civil Rights movement.  It is a story of the integration of aliens into high school classes with humans more than a decade after an alien spacecraft crash-landed in a small town. Emery (Teegarden) is much more accepting of the aliens than many of her classmates and is instantly drawn to Roman (Matt Lanter of "90210"), an alien she had a brief history with. He instantly recognizes her, but she doesn't figure it out quite as fast. To be honest, I didn't instantly recognize Teegarden, who has grown taller and thinner since she starred as Julie Taylor in one of my favorite shows, "Friday Night Lights." But everything else about this show is instantly recognizable to any CW veteran. However, I did enjoy a crack about "Glee" even if only reminded me how much more humor is needed. Everyone in the cast is beautiful and there is a lot of jealousy going on. But anything that deals with the stupidity of prejudice – high school or otherwise -- deserves to be graded higher on a curve. Rating: 2 and a half stars


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