From left, Simon Baker, Amy Smart and Ray Liotta star in Smith, a drama about a close-knit crew of career criminals who plot and execute intricate and ingenious high-stakes heists.


HELLO, YOU MUST BE GOING: The networks would have you believe that the start of the fall season is a bountiful cornucopia of programming, spilling onto the screen like a feast. In reality, it’s more like Omaha Beach on D-Day, where only a handful of shows will make it off the beach, leaving most of the bodies on the beach, and more than a few bobbing in the surf at the edge of the water.

Safe in its perch in the mountain fastness of cable, U.S. Bravo is hosting a contest on its Brilliant But Cancelled broadband channel for September and October, giving viewers a chance to vote on which new shows will end up on the ash heaps of TV history. According to a New York Times story, the colourfully named Fall Season Death Watch 2006 website will let viewers vote once a week, with a chance to win an iPod every week, while a 37-inch flat screen TV awaits the overall winner.

Jason Klarman, a senior VP at Bravo, says that handicapping the fall shows is “the kind of thing that people do anyhow. This just taps into that.” Which might mean that Jason spends a bit too much time around TV executives, but let’s just assume he’s right.

Leafing through the Lazy Columnists Guidebook And Metric Conversion Table, it would seem like now’s a good time to invite my readers to comment on the fall season, in the most excoriating language possible. I could spend the next two months reviewing new shows like 30 Rock, Smith, The Class, Jericho, Men In Trees and Kidnapped, but then I’d have to watch the damned things, and the thought frankly makes me look longingly at high buildings and busy freeways.

E-mail me at rick.mcginnis@metronews.caand I’ll try to print the most amusing — and devastating — critiques of the fall shows, with a rough tally of who you think will drop out of the long primetime march to Christmas. If you incidentally think there’s actually something good out there, by all means throw that in as well — I might try and catch a few minutes when I’m not shouting at the neighbourhood kids.

IS THAT FULL HOUSE IN YOUR POCKET, OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME? Another Times story concerns a new gadget invented by Shaw Kaake, an American industrial designer based in Shanghai. The Egokast is a handheld-sized TV screen that attaches to your belt buckle and, thanks to a screen tweaked to three times the normal brightness, broadcasts a selection of clips for passersby who don’t mind staring at a tiny TV hanging a handspan north of your crotch.

Priced at $289 US and available at, the gadget comes with a selection of clips to load on its memory card, and the option to load it with your own footage. The Times suggests the final shoot-out from Scarface (“Say hello to my leetle ‘fren!”). I’d suggest something like the entirety of Richard Nixon’s resignation speech — after all, since the obvious goal of the egokast is to find someone sufficiently interested in your package to overcome their sense of shame, it’s probably a good thing to make them work.

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