Desperate dramas

Don Johnson, Chris O'Donnell and Rosanna Arquette all make comeback bids this fall. A guide to what will work -- and what won't.

Published September 13, 2005 3:44PM (EDT)

There are new dramas this season besides the ones dedicated to scaring the bejeezus out of us. And who would've thought that the most promising one stars a favorite old Vice?

Fox's "What About Brian" Rosanna Arquette, Barry Watson Dramatization of The Cars' "My Best Friend's Girlfriend" meets "thirty- something" coupling angst "Desperate Yuppies" Almost nothing, as it turns out Won't air until mid-season
WB's "Related" Jennifer Esposito, Kiele Sanchez, Lizzy Caplan Four sisters who are so, like, totally different, but they, like, totally love each other soooo much! "Desperate Sisters" Not much, although zany, hapless professional girls who like shows about zany, hapless professional girls will dig it Drama with four female leads that aren't all bored housewives
Fox's "Reunion" Mathew St. Patrick, Amanda Righetti, Will Estes Six of the bestest friends ever fall apart over the course of 20 years, then -- gasp! -- one is murdered! "Desperate Classmates" Each episode covers one year of their lives since graduation -- that means lots of melodrama and funny outdated fashions Haley from "The OC" plays another heartless slut
NBC's "Incon- ceivable" Ming-Na, Jonathan Cake, Angie Harmon A neutered "Nip/Tuck" about fertility doctors "Desperate Childless Couples" Clunky attempts at intrigue will remind you what you like about "Grey's Anatomy" Vengeful slut steals post-blow-job sperm!
WB's "Just Legal" Don Johnson, Jay Baruchel Washed-up, world-weary lawyer meets young, idealistic lawyer, starts a practice at Venice Beach! "Desperate Attorneys" Don Johnson is great playing a tired old has-been, the kid is likable, and strangely enough, it works Hate to admit it, but a cheesy has-been and a young idealist really do make an entertaining pair
Fox's "Head Cases" Chris O'Donnell, Adam Goldberg Straight, fusty lawyer in crisis meets eccentric, violent lawyer, starts a practice at Venice Beach! "Desperate Chris O'Donnell" Could just as easily be called "Uptight WASP & Nutty Jew, LLP" Watching Chris O'Donnell suffer is somehow gratifying
UPN's "Sex, Love and Secrets" Denise Richards, Eric Balfour Hip young swingles living it up in trendy Silver Lake "Desperate Hipsters" Clunky attempts at intrigue will remind you what you liked about "Dynasty" when you were, oh, 9 years old Sort of like a Pussycat Dolls show, but with dialogue where the lip-syncing would normally go

By Heather Havrilesky

Heather Havrilesky is a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine, The Awl and Bookforum, and is the author of the memoir "Disaster Preparedness." You can also follow her on Twitter at @hhavrilesky.

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