Freaky, Not Scary

Television has so lowered our standards that we've convinced ourselves any show that doesn't reduce us to a puddle of drool is: a) provocative, b) witty, c) cutting-edge, d) smart, or e) The West Wing. You know deep down that Will & Grace is pedestrian; you know it's cowardly (Eric McCormack is the straightest gay man on television since Dick York) and exasperating. But because it aspires toward charming and clever, with its low-rent Bringing Up Baby banter and pro-homo stance (i.e. with its hands covering its crotch), NBC has conned us into believing it's Oscar Wilde gone prime-time. After all, anything's better than Regis or Raymond (the latter, otherwise known as the most overrated TV show since Taxi). Hell, you used to think Frasier was a smart show, till you realized it was just the most annoying. No wonder America fell in love with Budweiser's Whasssup? fellas for a couple of hours. Commercials now distract us from the obvious: There ain't shit on. Ever.

FreakyLinks, brought to you by the people responsible for The Blair Witch Project, The Pretender, and Quantum Leap, offers just enough in its opening moments to convince you this is Quality Television: It looks like a movie. But beneath its slick façade, a specialty on Fox this season (with James Cameron's Dark Angel, garnering high praise in low places), the story is thin, wearying, and obvious: Dawson's X-Files. At the show's beginning, Derek Barnes (Ethan Embry, otherwise known as one of the guys who played Rusty in the Vacation film series) talks into his computer and lays out the story: In 1998, Derek and twin brother Adam were running a Web site that investigated strange and tall tales, until Adam was mysteriously murdered...or was he? Turns out, someone who looks like Adam keeps popping up two years later, and Ethan and his PC posse of Sherlock homies are on the case; shit is, ya know, freaky. Since it has no place to go but up, the second episode might be worth a look; at least the pilot hints at something around the corner, where Dark Angel is all dead-end. But don't count on much. It's only television.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky