Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

A scene from the teaser of TLC’s upcoming reality series Extreme Cougar Wives, featuring Stephanie, 65, and Octavio, 28. (TLC)
A scene from the teaser of TLC’s upcoming reality series Extreme Cougar Wives, featuring Stephanie, 65, and Octavio, 28. (TLC)

Television

Post-election trends: cougars and Tea Party fantasy shows Add to ...

Now that the big American political hoodang is over, we can get back to making fun of other stuff and, sometimes, celebrating yet other stuff. It’s what we do here. And I’m assuming the hooding is over, as I write this on Tuesday.

Possibly, it’s not over and there’s a whole lot of lawyerin’ going on. Possibly, Wolf Blitzer put in an 18-hour shift going, “This is the Situation Room! We’re in the Situation Room!” and on rare bathroom breaks he was barking, “This is the bathroom! We’re in the bathroom!” Possibly he’s still there on CNN as the sun rises on Wednesday.

More from John Doyle

Speaking of lawyerin’, I’m awfully surprised there isn’t outrage over the winner of Over the Rainbow. I mean the new Dorothy, one Danielle Wade, seems nice and all. But I was rooting for AJ Bridel, whose charm, energy and nuanced interpretations were magical. The judges seemed to be pushing Danielle from ages ago and well, that seemed gauche.

Never mind. While the politics went down there was major news in the TV racket. I refer, of course, to the release of a teaser-trailer for TLC’s much talked-about upcoming special, Extreme Cougar Wives. Soon, you too can gawp at Stephanie, 65, who is head-over-heels for 28-year-old Octavio.

I mention this not for purposes of titillation, but because I’m seeing a trend. See, almost simultaneous with the release of footage about Stephanie’s serious thing for Octavio, came word that Diablo Cody, writer of the movie Juno and series United States of Tara, has sold a comedy script to ABC, called Alex + Amy. What’s it about? “Comedy about a romance between an ambitious 22-year-old Millennial guy and a 32-year-old Gen X woman who have just moved in together and are very much in love.” As in, she’s 32 and he’s 22. Trend. Right there. This column is second-to-none in the trend-spotting racket.

And don’t tell me about Cougar Town. That show, much kicked around by ABC, was never really a cougar-themed comedy beyond the pilot. Maybe its debut in 2009 was three years too early.

Now then, just as the U.S. presidential campaign could be framed as mainly a TV event – anyone who scoffs has forgotten the impact of the first TV debate – this television season can be put in the context of an election year. It was, by consensus, a mediocre fall season of new shows. And it’s time to assess what is connecting with viewers and what emphatically isn’t. You know, the trend thing again.

For the most part, viewers in the United States and here stuck with familiar shows and didn’t warm to new ones. The only new series to hover just outside the Top 10 most-watched network shows in the U.S. is Revolution (Mondays, 10 p.m., NBC, CITY-TV). This seems odd because Revolution emerged as a rather lame show after an interesting pilot.

The gist of the show is that the power that fuels cars, computers and electric light just evaporated some years ago. So, the action is mostly set years later, in a post-apocalyptic America where small communities grow their food the old-fashioned way, hunt with bow and arrow and are ruled by militias. The reason it’s a mini-hit is that it’s both a nightmare and an escapist fantasy. While some viewers would loathe the idea of a Google-free, Apple-free future, others see this world as the one they want. Revolution plays to the Tea Party fantasy of the U.S. returning to its roots, an agrarian country with, essentially, no central government.

Elementary (Thursdays, 10 p.m., CBS, Global), the reboot of Sherlock Holmes as a modern-day, out-of-rehab hipster in New York, is also a hit. (Though, interestingly, it’s a Top 30 show while Revolution is nearing Top 10 status.) Why? Well, Jonny Lee Miller makes for a cute and caustic Holmes. That’s a start. But the other reason might be its sheer procedural simplicity. In truth it’s a sort of souped-up Murder, She Wrote, that very Reagan-era show. And this Holmes is rich, with a super-rich daddy, and his Watson is an Asian lady who is his paid caretaker. I put it to you that this is a Romney-friendly series.

The supernatural, paranoid thriller 666 Park Avenue (Sundays, 10 p.m., ABC, CITY-TV) is dipping after a strong start. Why? Possibly it’s not paranoid enough about Wall Street shenanigans for a liberal audience. Vegas (Tuesdays, 10 p.m., CBS, Global) is doing so-so business, mainly because it’s retro – good-versus-evil in the early days of Las Vegas. Nostalgia for simpler political times runs through it.

Cancelled and gone already are The Mob Doctor, Made in Jersey and Animal Practice. Why? Well, one could say they didn’t have a cougar plot line. The fiction equivalent of Stephanie, 65, and her thing for 28-year-old Octavio. The cougar thing is coming. It’ll be a whole hooding. I’m telling you.

All times ET. Check local listings.

Follow on Twitter: @MisterJohnDoyle

 

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories