Pat Clark

Pat Clark: Family TV storm's brewing

My apathy runneth over.

About the new fall TV season, that is.

A lack of truly interest-inspiring new shows and a near-saturated list of old favorites have combined to make this yet another blah season of fresh television programming.

There was a time when I always was looking for the next great show to add to my growing list of escapist fare. Shows come and go, after all, shutting doors and opening windows on viewing hours.

Plus, with the miracle that is the DVR, viewing time is about as flexible as it could be. Sure, there are more networks than ever producing quality shows that need to be squeezed into a TV addict's schedule, but those dears who run the cable channels air many of their best shows during the one-time wasteland of summer, when the Big Four traditionally have hibernated.

There's always room for a few more, right?

Mmmmm, maybe not.

Thanks to my Bravo reality/competition show addiction ("Top Chef" is returning soon!), my bizarre interest in the Food Network and a hefty list of network prime time favorites, things are getting a tad tight on the old to-do list.

In fact, the DVR wants to change channels to record so many of my own overlapping favorites that my husband and son are considering a two-man ZIP code change so they can get through a full hour of ESPN or a single episode of "Naruto" every now and then.

Yes, things are a bit unbalanced when it comes to TV time in our house.

Wah, wah, wah.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise that I have no need or desire to add shows this fresh fall TV season, even though a handful of new programs did sort of pique my inner remote control.

"The Mentalist?" I like that Simon Baker. Sounds interesting.

But no.

"Fringe?" Intriguing premise. Curious to see how Pacey turned out (that's a "Dawson's Creek" reference for you non-Pacey clued-in out there).

Skipped it.

"Kath and Kim?" Love a good sitcom. Love Molly Shannon.


"Gary Unmarried?" Well, Jay Mohr is a piece of work, so it's a thought.

Oh, forget it.

In the end, only a single new show found itself programmed into my DVR — "Life on Mars."

This ABC show, about a current-day New York City detective who gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973, had just enough something — dare I say a quality — to get me to add it to my overloaded DVR.

Maybe I'm just a sucker for a good period story — as long as the period is one I lived through, myself. "Mad Men," with its 1960s setting, still has me enthralled, and now I'm feeling the pangs of early love for the '70s vibe on "Mars."

And, just to show I'm a household team TV player, I deleted "Ugly Betty" to make room for it.

We're only one episode in, but "Mars" is on track to be a keeper. Still, with more and more options, more and more channels and less and less time, even a TV addict can find herself in just-say-no mode.

I did have to delete another show from the DVR this week, but not because I wanted to or felt obligated to do so to keep my family under one roof.

Sadly, FX canceled "The Riches," a fabulous dramedy starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver about travelers who take over the lives of a wealthy dead couple.

It was a tremendously good show and that was one viewing hour window I'd rather have kept closed.

Reach Scene editor Pat Clark at