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All Is Lost: Reconsidering Entertainment Weekly's 2005 Fall TV Preview

The broadcast TV networks adjust to the shifting nature of television by promising well-thought-out resolutions of Lost's many mysteries. Any of you ever feel cheated?

Our Players

Hello, I'm Previously.TV Contributor Lisa Schmeiser.
Hello, I'm Previously.TV Contributor Philip Michaels.
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The Talk

I just want to start by pointing out that the picture of Alexis Bledel in the table of contents stopped me in my tracks, because she manages to look both very modern and very classic.

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She'd be a great Audrey Hepburn, the next time some auteur decides to make some turgid Oscar bait and stuntcasts modern thespians to play screen icons.

I think you're giving short shrift to Jennifer Love Hewitt's turn as Audrey Hepburn in that Lifetime biopic.

Phil, I don't think Tara, Sarah, and Dave have room on their servers for the many terabytes of "That casting is wrong and here are all my reasons why" I would unleash at the slightest provocation. Don't wake the snake.

Sarah Hyland played the young Audrey Hepburn in that picture. Wow.

Phil...

Eric McCormack was Mel Ferrer.

MOVING ON NOW -- ah, shit, it's the Ghost Whisperer. Bu before that, there's an ad for the d├ębut of Supernatural. You realize in some corners of the World Wide Web, the current year is technically A.P. 11, or Anno Premiere 11. Flipping ahead to Tuesday in the EW Fall Preview, I see that the editors chose to highlight the Geena Davis show about being a lady president...

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...and dismissed Supernatural as "an odd pairing" with preceding show Gilmore Girls. I am beginning to regret us not posting a scoreboard of "long-lived shows this magazine failed to notice."

Speaking of misdirected attention, it's cute how 2005 was the year we were all laboring under the delusion that the producers of Lost actually had an endgame in mind. We were so young and foolish.

But Phil, the magazine tells us "producers haven't lost focus on making a truly satisfying sophomore season."

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It's not the sophomore season that was the problem with that show.

Oh, good lord, Michael Rapaport looks like he wants to kill his costar in this photo for The War At Home.

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What a remarkably tone-deaf title, considering we were fighting two wars overseas at the time.

Mission accomplished, Lisa. The banner behind the president told us so.

Oh my gosh! It's little baby Bradley Cooper in Kitchen Confidential!

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I loved that show because it had John Cho being dreamy and hilarious and Owain Yeoman is just ridiculously charming. I recently re-watched the entire run on Hulu, I liked it that much.

It held up! I mean, Frank Langella had no business being in it, and you can see where they should have zigged instead of zagged, but that was a show that deserved better than it got. It's certainly no worse than any one of a number of CBS comedies that are still on.

Also, in this alternate universe where this show is still on, Burnt never gets made.

I still envision Bradley Cooper reading through the script to Burnt, then looking up and vowing, "This time, we're going to do Kitchen Confidential right." You could probably play a really great prank on people by convincing people that Kitchen ConfidentialBurnt.

"Why does Bradley Cooper look so young?"

"It's TV," we'd say. "They film it special for HD audiences."

So do you want to say anything about a show I've never watched, How I Met Your Mother, which debuted this year?

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Well, Lisa, as someone who's seen only one episode, three different times on three different transcontinental flights, I'm obviously the expert here. The entire premise of this show was "Will they or won't they? Will he ever meet the mother? If not, who are these kids Bob Saget keeps talking to?"

So the show is one of those antihero dark comedies where a kidnapper is talking to underage hostages? Is that what I'm getting here?

Just think of this piece in EW as "the brief period before everyone at CBS realized they should have called it You Tuned In For Neil Patrick Harris. Also, "Here's Willow, you Buffy weirdos."

"Weirdos" is a word that's fallen out of cultural currency.

We're bringing it back.

Neil Patrick says, and I quote, 'It's great to come in and make a funny or two and just walk away.' I bet it is. Oh my gosh, look -- Prison Break was named one of EW's most promising series for fall 2005. Which explains why Fox is reviving it in 2016.

My theory on Prison Break is that if they had just made it a one-season show, we would have spoken of it in hushed, reverential tones. "Now there's a show that knew when to quit while it was ahead," we would be saying.

I have a soft spot for Season 3, but talking about it here would be like visiting from the future, so let's move on. I just want to point out that in this issue of this magazine, we have one beauty spread on a woman president -- the entire premise being that it's so crazy, it can only happen on TV -- and then, a few pages later, we're dealing with The Apprentice. History does not move linearly. It goes in a crazy, 'that spider just dropped acid' spiral.

But not just any Apprentice, Lisa. It's The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.

Martha Stewart is fearful, wondrous goddess.

You know, on Earth 2 right now, presidential candidate Martha Stewart is dropping some sick burns on foundering rival candidate Martin O'Malley.

Oh, God, who would I vote for on Earth 2?

I see you in a red "Make America Crafty Again" hat.

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So can you explain why the Martha Stewart pages are torn out of the magazine and look like they've been run over by a car?

It could be that the photo spread features several people who are wearing Martha Stewart masks, like the art director was reading my dream journal. Or perhaps, our cat Zito -- may his demented soul rest in peace -- was not to be trusted with anything valuable.

So moving along....

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Let us praise Everybody Loves Chris, a show before its time, on a network out of time. A decade later, on a network that isn't UPN, and you've got Blackish. A funny show about family life in a way that was authentic and relevant.

It feels sort of gross to turn the page and see Reunion. And look, it's Chyler Leigh! Still looking for that Aughties-era steady gig.

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This show put the lie to the idea that every drama with a mystery drawn out over hours of viewing was worth paying attention to.

So, Phil, I want to talk about why I miss our Showtime channels, and that's because I really miss Episodes. I came for Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan -- lord knows I have done some things in the name of watching Stephen Mangan -- but I have really, really enjoyed Matt LeBlanc's superb comedic work in Episodes.

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Which is why this photo for the Joey blurb depresses me. You can see the quiet desperation in Matt LeBlanc's face. This is a man who is back for a second season of a show that is basically a burning Viking ship, and someone goes, "Hey, Matt LeBlanc, put on this parrot and this hat and this eye patch!" There's a bit in the piece where Matt LeBlanc basically begs his former Friends coworkers not to guest on his show.

Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly's love affair with Jennifer Love Hewitt continues.

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Even if the rest of America has moved on. Though again, this is the longest-running show she's been on that did not include Matthew Fox.

Five seasons of whispering at ghosts. Do you suppose the undead just leave in irritation when they can't hear anything above a whisper?

Do you know Jamie Kennedy was on this show for forty-five episodes?

I have gone through life not knowing a goddamned thing about The Ghost Whisperer, and I want to keep it that way. Also, the mid-Aughties are awful for hair and makeup. Every woman styled for this issue has been sprayed with a fine mist of oil and they all look like they need a shower.

So as we limp through the Friday section, I want to draw your attention to a new milestone. There's no Saturday section this year. And for good reason -- everyone but Fox did reruns, and all Fox did was run COPS.

So 2005 is the year the networks gave up on Saturdays. And yet that goes wholly unexamined by this staff of professional reporters whose job it is to identify newsworthy phenomena in their chosen beat, than report that news. I am not surprised. We're going on nine issues of looking backward when, paradoxically, the issue is supposed to be a preview of what's to come.

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Best Thing About This Issue
Our beloved dead cat Zito, who tried to rip our copy to shreds. What did he know?
Worst Thing About This Issue
The swimming pool-sized vat of styling grease used on every photo shoot. These are attractive people; they should not look so oleaginous.

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