A Few Shows I’m Looking Forward To In 2009

I haven’t been in the habit of doing best-ofs.  URBMN only went in its “new” direction late last September.  What I can do at this point in URBMN’s history is talk about Canadian shows that I want to see this year.

I’m more receptive to Canadian television than a lot of people.  Sometimes a Canadian show will have a horrible premise, like Life’s a Zoo.tv‘s “animals + reality show parody = fun.”  I honestly thought that show would die on its ass, yet Life’s a Zoo.tv is actually decent.  It’s a weaker stop-motion Drawn Together, but what the hell, I like Dr. D.

Consequently, I want to like Testees.  I like South Park and Kenny vs. Spenny, two shows Kenny Hotz has had his finger in.  Testees is tepid by comparison.  It’s a well-worn buddy comedy without the Odd Couple-meets-reality-television dynamic that makes Kenny vs. Spenny funny.  The greatest conflict in Testees is between Testico and the human guinea pigs, and that takes up two minutes of a half-hour show.

It’s hard to predict which new and returning shows will keep my interest this year.  Here’s to hoping that one of these shows will meet my personal hype.

Hotbox | The Comedy Network actually teased this show late in 2008, with Pat Thornton in an owl costume wishing viewers a Merry Christmas.  This was followed by random clips of the show and some “eerie” static.

Thornton is the creator of The Owl and the Man, a series of YouTube-ready shorts depicting the differences between a man and an owl.  Hotbox will likely follow that tradition of absurdist humour.  The show seems like Robot Chicken with proper wraparounds.

I don’t know whether or not Hotbox will be good.  Thornton created and writes for the show, yet I find The Owl and the Man just okay.  There have been better and worse things on The Comedy Network.

I hope Hotbox meets TV Funhouse-level standards, but it’s a tall order to be as funny as Robert Smigel.  At the very least, Hotbox must be funnier than Comedy Inc.  Static is funnier and far more highbrow than Comedy Inc.

The Jon Dore Television Show‘s second season | I’ve been watching some YouTube clips of the show’s first season.  The new season premieres January 21, 2009 on The Comedy Network.

I wasn’t impressed by The Jon Dore Television Show at first glance.  After watching this clip, my fears were allayed.  I have no idea why The Comedy Network buries this show in post-South Park timeslots, but at least Jon Dore survived Canadian Idol.  I guess this show did deserve its Gemini nominations last year.  Neat!

Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town | Whether this airs in 2009 or early 2010 doesn’t matter.  It’s Kids in the Hall.  KitH is taking a page from shows like League of Gentlemen with Death Comes to Town, and a job lot of people want to see this.  I want to see it.  You want to see it, even if you hate Kids in the Hall with a passion.  I know you!

I have reservations about Death Comes to Town.  My taste for Bruce McCulloch will never wane, but Scott Thompson has annoyed me with his post-Kids work.  Shows like My Fabulous Gay Wedding have underlined the fact that Thompson is gay, but where is his funny?  He even threatened to ruin The Larry Sanders Show at one point, but no one can make Hank Kingsley unfunny.

Dave Foley has starred in subpar work post-Kids, like his Christmas special and NewsRadio.  I’ll give Mark McKinney credit for producing Less Than Kind, but that doesn’t excuse his two mediocre seasons on Saturday Night Live.  As for Kevin McDonald, he was in Zeroman and the Lilo & Stitch cartoon.  ‘Nuff said.

The hype factor also works against Death Comes to Town.  I remember being excited at the announcement of Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon.  I was met with “Ren and Stimpy are gay” subtext and the beatdown of Mr. Horse.  The new Ren & Stimpy‘s awfulness killed my respect for John Kricfalusi.

I don’t want to see Kids in the Hall suffer the same fate as John K.  As soon as Dave Foley says “you’re the pitcher, I’m the catcher” to Scott Thompson, off goes the television.

Simply put, the five Kids in the Hall castmembers need each other.  Together, they are a force for comedic good.  It’s hard to say whether the comeback will be as funny as the original KitH, but CBC’s comedy lineup needs more than uneven political humour, Rick Mercer doing his best Shelagh Rogers impression and Being Erica.

Durham County‘s second season | I actually see this show making inroads on American television, since Flashpoint has introduced Americans to Hugh Dillon.

I’m not saying Durham County will pick up fans disenchanted by Dexter‘s third season, but what the hell.  NBC bought Howie Do It, and that’s just Howie Mandel hosting a Candid Camera derivative.  Slings and Arrows has an American fanbase two-and-a-half years after its death.  Who the hell knows which shows will become popular in the fifteen-thousand-channel world?

Howie Do It | It debuts on Global and NBC this Friday.  It probably won’t be any good, but who knows?  Howie Mandel has the power to survive this show if it stiffs.  This is an age where people have a new appreciation for Bob Saget and David Duchovny.

I haven’t written this show off in my mind like I have The Animated Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie.  Dave Coulier as Bob?  Take off, eh.

C. Archer
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