By Stephany Aulenback

"Don't just sit there. Okay, just sit there," says the ad for ABC. It's yet another self-mocking attempt on the part of television to work us, the audience, into the appropriate combination of anticipation and apathy. Happily, that's my natural state. And happily, a new television season is about to start. Although the season is new, unfortunately not all the shows are. The networks are promising the return of several old shows many of us would rather not see again. And I hate having to get up and find the remote. I understand that many viewers enjoy the comfort of the familiar - but the networks should remember that our attention spans only last about five minutes. We bore easily. Those old shows are in dire need of some zippy new makeovers or we'll start zapping through channels.

I'd stay seated for:

The weekly antics of an angry, heavily mascara'd group of Gen-Xers living in New York. Drawn together by their intense resentment of everything, they soon come to hate one another. Led initially by Monica (Courteney Cox), they use Machiavellian tactics to form temporary alliances and plot each other's downfall. Each show focuses on the victimization and subsequent death of one of the group. Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) is the first victim. They engage in a lot of witty banter, the point of which is to subtly destroy the self-esteem of the other members in the temporary alliance, and also to plant seeds of destruction in general. There is some ambiguity about whether the female characters are really human. They may be the undead, which would explain how thin they are - and why they just won't go away.

Home Denouement
This would be, mercifully, a single final episode. Jill and Tim (played by Patricia Richardson and Tim Allen) have embraced the sexual division of labour during all the years of their extremely long marriage. In the midst of parallel mid-life crises, they realize that there are only so many jokes you can make about sexual stereotyping that involve gorilla noises. Also that their kids are pretty much grown-up. Feeling that everything they've lived for is meaningless, they decide to divorce and start new lives. Their neighbour (Earl Hindman) finally shows his horrifyingly deformed visage, and Tim, deeply moved, leaves the country immediately to work with lepers in India. Jill becomes a lesbian.

The poignant tale of three multicultural, multi-aged, mentally ill homeless people who insist they are messengers from God. They are doomed to wander America asking for change, as people keep running them out of town, especially in the Bible Belt. Starring Della Reese, Roma Downey, and John Dye.

The Y-Files
The show chronicles the work of two FBI agents assigned to investigate the bureau's "Y-Files" - bizarre and incredibly violent incidents perpetrated by men who have an extra Y chromosome. The two are an unlikely pair - medical doctor Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) insists "Biology is Destiny" while Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) believes that culture is more important. Both look slightly constipated, which may be an explanation for why they do not ever act on their obvious sexual desire for one another. Also, Dana gets sort of turned off by men in general as a result of their investigations, while Fox must deal with the unsettling fact that he is actually turned on by the incidents. The pressure of their work causes a psychological downward spiral, and they begin to question even their most basic assumption that "the truth is out there" with "Why?" This clever word play on the series' title demonstrates just how deeply postmodern the show actually is.

The Simpletons
A back to basics cartoon featuring an amusingly dysfunctional Middle American family. It does NOT involve hip, self-conscious references to politics, history, current events or pop culture. It also does not present unrealistic female role models or any jokes that require the ability to read. Designed to appeal only to the lowest common denominator, it does feature a father figure who says, "Doh" - and that's about it.

Mad At You
Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt star as Paul and Jamie, a young married couple who finally accept the fact that they really dislike one another. (Helen, just let it out, honey. Stop being so passive aggressive.)

The Ninny
A big-hearted but dim-witted young woman from Queens (Fran Drescher) accepts a job working as a nanny. She soon falls in love with her employer, an extremely wealthy Broadway producer (Charles Shaughnessy). Each episode focuses on yet another of her inept attempts to win his love. Unfortunately, she does NOT realize he's gay, despite many obvious signs. (He's a Broadway producer, for god's sake.)

Sabrina, The Teenage Bitch
Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) is a perky blonde teenager who discovers her sexual power, and uses it indiscriminately to get what she wants (what she really, really wants), particularly during certain times of the month.

Suddenly Suing
Brooke Shields plays an attractive but goofy woman who suddenly leaves her wealthy fiance at the altar. In an attempt to achieve financial independence, she deliberately places herself in the path of danger (e.g. running out in front of buses, wandering aimlessly round construction sites). Each week she gets injured in a new, imaginative way, and then sues for damages. Inevitably she loses.

Or, alternatively,

Suddenly Boozin'
Brooke Shields plays an attractive but goofy woman who suddenly leaves her wealthy fiance at the altar. She is unable to achieve financial independence in any way, however, and so resorts to drinking whisky out of a diet coke can all day. This explains her bad comedic timing.

America's Most Daunted
Re-enactments of the stories of people who would have, could have, or might have committed heinous crimes but then thought the better of it.

Frightening yet fascinating tales of millennial conspiracies that exist only in the minds of Frank, Catherine, and Jordan Black (Lance Henriksen, Megan Gallagher, and Brittany Tiplady). Catherine uses a set of aluminum pans for cooking.

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