TV OT: Is TLC the weirdest network on TV? プラス, revisiting the fall's 'Big Leap' into less-'Ordinary' series

TV OT is a weekly look at what CNN’s entertainment team is watching since too much television has us all working overtime.

Welcome to November. Insert your screams here. Enjoy this week’s TV OT:

Is TLC the weirdest network on TV?

Although I generally prefer to keep my blemishes covered under layers of well-blended concealer, there’s a public pimple I must pop in the name of transparency: 長年にわたって, I have watched a lot of TLC.
    I’m someone who generally believes there should be no such term when talking television asguilty pleasurebecause you should not be ashamed of what brings you comfort. But I can’t say that watching “姉妹の妻” (returning Nov. 21) または “私の 600 ポンド. 生活” (new season airing now) またはSo FreakinCheap brings me anything resembling pleasure, but I can’t stop.
      In that lies the mystery of what I’ll now controversially say is television’s weirdest and most fascinating network.
        Unlike streaming networks, which can bury their junk and still win awards for its prestige content or broadcast networks that have to worry deeply about offending any of their increasingly fewer viewers, TLC lives in their crud. ヘック, they often celebrate it.
        (For the sake of this discussion, I’ll make one quick point: I won’t get into the network’s utter failings in the handling of anything relating to the Duggars, but it is part of why I struggle with watching TLC period.)
          This is where I should point out that like any network, TLC has some range. 例えば, it has given a home to the inspiring story of transgender teen Jazz Jennings. “私はジャズです,” entering its seventh season this month, has done volumes for bringing awareness to the challenges of being young and transsomething that is arguably (and sadly) more needed now than when it premiered.
          姉妹の妻 (2010)

          The baffling part of TLC is that its spectrum has such an applaudable high and multiple in-the-bowels-of-television lows, of which I won’t dare to pick the most objectionable. けれど, if it was still on the air, it’d be the show where I once watched the story of a man who was in an 親しい関係 with his car.
          I know I’m not alone in watching any of it, でも. TLC’s “90 Day Fiancé,” franchise is a crazy success. (But one friend who used to watch it told me she stopped because the two-hour episodes and constant spin-offs was too much to keep up with) In a time when networks have a small stable of reliable performers, TLC has multiple shows that have been on for 6-plus seasons. (“Little People, Big Worldwrapped up Season 22 earlier this year.) And one of its newer shows, “博士. Pimple Popper,” is so popular, it’s getting a Christmas Special — subtitledA Pimple Carol.
          It’s unlike any other programming on TV right now,” says one friend, who spoke on a condition of anonymity and we all understand why. “It’s against social norms. We don’t have a lot of drama in our lives, but we watch it on TV.
          This one half of a married couple says they’ve watched everything from “90 Day Fiancé” にExtreme Sisters,” a series that explored sisters whose close bonds veer into baffling territory.
          The other half of the couple adds: “It’s a world you just don’t know. You get sucked in.
          And maybe that the secret? TLC is the television equivalent of a highway car crash that you can’t look away from.
          The loudest objection I hear to TLC programming is that it can feel exploitative and often mean in spirit. But I’d argue we are all accountable for our own reactions to the stories we see in the same way the participants are accountable for agreeing to be featured. Do I judge weird couples? はい. But do I also cry watching “私の 600 Lb. 生活”? 絶対に. And did everyone featured on any of these shows knowingly sign up to be on TV? Definitely.
          TLC hasn’t been The Learning Channel for a long time, to the disappointment of many. But they’ve found success, 多分, in deciding that there was an audience for Television that Loathes the Conventional.

          Revisiting the fall’s ‘Big Leapinto less-‘Ordinary’ シリーズ

          'The Big Leap'

          今, tossing it over to Brian Lowry with a mid-fall TV update.
          One of the problems reviewing series that have slightly more ambition than ‘FBIspinoffs is the question of whether a frontloaded couple of episodes can actually be sustained over the course of a season, much less multiple seasons.
          幸せに, three network shows that earned the most favorable reactions when they made their debuts this fall — “The Big Leap,” “普通のジョー” そして ‘Ghosts‘ — continue to hold up quite well.
          Fox’s ‘Big Leapmight be the most impressive of the bunch, finding clever layers as it combines the charactersparticipating in a fictitious reality-TV dance showin unexpected ways. It’s consistently sweet, funny and fairly smart about how the reality sausage gets made, with Scott Foley shining as the amoral producer who’ll step over pretty much anyone in pursuit of a second-season renewal.
          NBC’s普通のジョー,’ その間, has built on its pilot with details about the central character, played by James Wolk, following him on three separate paths diverted by one decision he made at a crucial point in his life. A little strained at times, it remains a feat of editing and has steadily dropped new tidbits to expand the story.
          最後に, ‘Ghostshas stood out as a non-cookie-cutter comedy for CBS, with a couple moving into a house inhabited by ghosts from different eras. Although it has the benefit of being adapted from a British show, that’s no guarantee of durability on a more expansive US TV schedule, which the show has thus far exhibited.
          All told, it’s an encouraging sign for the major networks, which at times have appeared willing to ride their existing franchises (‘Chicago’ すべての, '法律 & 注文,’ 等) into a steady march toward oblivion.
          These new shows suggest there’s life in the model, especially if you’ll take a few creative risks to expand it.

          ‘Class’ 解雇

          "Head of the Class"

          For your weekend watch list, here’s Lowry again with a recommendation.
          “OK, we get it, established intellectual property is all the rage, but the new ‘Head of the Class’ 復活, on HBO Max (CNNのように, a unit of WarnerMedia), feels more peripherally tethered to the mildly memorable show that preceded it than most.
          ここに, Isabella Gomez (a veteran of the ‘One Day at a Time’ 復活) plays the slacker teacher to a group of high-achieving kids, in a series that feels as generic as that sounds. Despite the fresh faces, there’s little to distinguish this from a network sitcom in the 1980s.
          As for connections to the original, Robin Givens shows up in a subsequent episode, which is nice.
          In terms of making us look with the title, 任務完了. Making us stick around is another matter.

          A ‘Symbol’-ic gesture

          'The Lost Symbol'

          And another from Lowry: a programming note for the Peacock-less.
            NBC developed ‘The Lost Symbol,’ based on Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon character, for the network, then decided to premiere the series on its streaming service, Peacock. Now the show is getting a one-time showing on NBC in place of an ‘Ordinary Joerepeat.
            It’s a small thing, but the synergistic move is another example of the juggling act that studios face as they consider where their shows will fare the best. 率直に言って, ‘Lost Symbolmight have been a long shot in any venue, but like ‘Head of the Class,’ it probably would have looked more at home on a broadcast network in the first place.