What? No, I, uh, watch it for the, uh, commercials
- S Club 7. Remember The Monkees? They're back... in co-ed form. A seven-member British prefab bubblegum pop band, from the same musical geniuses that brought the Spice Girls to a grateful, but quickly fatigued, world.
- 2gether. Remember The Monkees? They're back... in boy-band form. Highly unfunny "comedy" saved by, I swear to God, the presence of Chris Farley's brother. Scarily watchable.
- Anything on OLN with the words "Strength" or "Strongest" in the title. Remember The Monkees? They have nothing to do with strongman competitons. 400-pound inhuman monsters from Austria and Germany engage in endless variations on two themes: lift something heavy! pull something heavy! Proves that no matter how much the literati want to deny it, there is something in this world even more pointless than NASCAR.
- Relic Sheena of the Lost World's Beastmaster. No matter how much I try to deny it, part of me is a sucker for a certain subgenre of fantasy that can be summed up as Hot Chicks And The Occasional Guy Stage Unconvincing Fight Scenes, But Sam Raimi Is Not Involved. It's not enough of me to keep watching any of these shows for the full hour they want to leech out of me, but since the plots on these things aren't exactly Dostoevsky, they're eminently suitable for watching in ten minute chunks while you wait for something else to arrive.
- Becoming. 2gether merely began the job of taking any goodwill MTV may have accumulated from Daria and/or Aeon Flux and/or Downtown and throwing it onto a funeral pyre. It is Becoming that throws on a full can of gasoline and lights the match. Pathetically grateful college students spend a weekend learning how to lip-sync and re-enact a pop video. Not forthcoming: "Dude! We're becoming Dead Kennedys! I'm Jello, and you're that other guy in the band who sued me for royalties!" Thank you, MTV!
- Batman. Adam. West. And either you know what I'm saying, or baby, you never will.
There is some television which is just too good for television, the stuff that evaporates like the morning dew when it dies after four episodes. Tom Shales weeps bitter tears and throws himself on the coffin, but it is too late, too late.
Then there's the other kind.
I don't feel like calling them "guilty" pleasures. Let's call it candy television: the stuff you know you shouldn't eat, because it's bad for you and makes your mind rot. But it's (slightly irregular) appointment television nonetheless.