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Welcome once again to our annual "first look" at the broadcast networks' offerings for the 2007-2008 season. Each day we'll walk you through one of the new series set to premiere this season and go over our initial impressions after viewing the pilot. While it's still a little early for full reviews (some recasting and reshooting will be done on a good chunk of them), we still want to give you a heads up on what you should - and shouldn't - keep on your radar in the coming months.
And as an added bonus this year, each day we'll also take a look at one of the pilots that didn't make the cut. So enough of our rambling, on with the show!
BONUS FIRST LOOK: SKIP TRACER (CBS)
(pilot not ordered to series)
The network's description: No official description has been released.
What did they leave out: See above.
The plot in a nutshell: Skip "Tracer" King (Stephen Dorff) is your typical hard luck private investigator. He spends his days on a perpetual stakeout, looking for cheating husbands, runaway brides and deadbeat family members. His latest case: a washed up baseball player-turned-real estate mogul named Connie "Con" Colbert (John Heard) is looking for his girlfriend Stacie (Izabella Miko), a Polish immigrant who disappeared a few days ago. And sure enough, like all Polish immigrants fleeing their sugar daddies, she's got a few secrets. For one her name isn't Stacie, it's Ludmila. And it turns out during her days as a manicurist, she was part of an identity theft ring. But again, like all Polish immigrants with shady connections that are fleeing their sugar daddies - she's also got a heart of gold as she left Con to start her life over on her own. In any case, their sparkage is more than enough to send our hero Skip into a tailspin as he wrestles with whether to tell Con that he found her. In between all of this we meet the rest of the cast, which includes Diedrich Bader as Parker, Skip's porn/stripper-addicted lawyer friend who farms out work to him; Martha Higareda as Jennifer, Skip's eager-to-learn assistant; Jackie Burroughs as Florence, one of Skip's chatty tenants; and Beverly D'Angelo as Donna, Skip's mom who has been in prison for the past 18 years for murdering her husband. Anyway, it's not long before the truth comes out about Con as well - he's dying of cancer and his children don't want Ludmila to be found so they can inherit his full estate. In the end, Skip comes clean to both of them and loses out in the process as Ludmila opts to spend Con's last days with him, leaving behind not only her plans, but Skip as well.
What works: If the above synopsis feels short and simple...
What doesn't: ...it's because that's exactly what the show is. Bland and predictable, "Skip Tracer" feels like a throwback to the procedurals of yesteryear, minus the nostalgia. There's just nothing here you haven't seen before and the few details that differentiate it - his mom is a murderer! he's a landlord! - feel like footnotes instead of actual ingredients to the show. Even worse, "Skip" falls into the trap where the lead doesn't really do much onscreen detective work - things just sort of fall into his lap. Overall, it's the type of show where it evaporates from your mind shortly after watching - not exactly the impression you hope when watching a pilot.
The bottom line: I've already forgotten.