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October 2, 2014

The Five: WB shows that we forgot

by Brett Love, posted Sep 17th 2006 12:12PM
Michigan J FrogAfter 11 years of work, the WB signs off for good on Sunday September 17th, making way for the new CW network. The frog network is going out with a bang though. To celebrate the final day of broadcasting they will be showing the pilot episodes of some of their more popular shows. You can look forward to seeing Felicity, Angel, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Dawson's Creek. Along with the number one episodes, the night will be rounded out with classic images and promos from the history of the network.

Now, we could go all Buffy crazy and start listing best five episodes, or have that Dawson/Joey/Pacey argument all over again. Maybe even bring up that whole Felicity's hair question. Rather than that, let's go the other way. Those shows were all great, and they've stayed in the public conscious, but what about those WB shows that didn't become household names? Take a trip down memory lane as I list five of the WB shows that we forgot.

Muscle1. Muscle - This one will forever have the honor of being the first sit-com canceled by the WB. There isn't much information out there about Muscle any more. Somehow it missed developing that cult following that so many of the canceled WB shows have manged. As I recall it, you can kind of think of Muscle like this... Imagine you wanted to make a sit-com, and you wanted to be able to get lots of babes in bikinis like Baywatch, but you didn't want the expense of filming on the beach. You change the lifeguards to trainers, and the beach dwellers to members of a gym, and you get Muscle. It's also notable for teaming up Michael Boatman and Alan Ruck before Spin City.

Three2. Three - One of the failed WB shows that I really would lave loved to see go longer. It had a great cast. The three from the title were cons recruited by a secret organization to fight crime. I know, been done plenty of times, but this one did it well. Our hero convicts included jewel thief Jonathan Vance (Edward Atterton - Dr. Danny on Alias, Atherton Wing on Firefly). Next we had Amanda Webb (Julie Bowen - Ed, Boston Legal, Lost), a grifter. And finally, computer hacker Marcus Miller (Bumper Robinson - Sabrina The Teenage Witch).

To stay out of jail, this team of reluctant good guys now works for The Organization and take their orders from The Man. Each week would find the team on a different case in a different location. It was all very slick, high tech, spy vs. spy stuff. The Organization had the best toys. The show tried to balance the weekly adventure with probing the mysterious pasts of the team. As was the case in "Like Felon, Like Daughter" when Tim Thomerson was brought in to play Amanda's bank robbing father. And interestingly enough, he also worked on Sabrina The Teenage Witch. It's such a small world.

3. Kirk - Just out of college, Kirk Hartman (Kirk Cameron) has the world in the palm of his hand. He's off to New York to chase his dream of creating a new comic superhero and live the wild bachelor life. His plans change drastically when his aunt runs off to Florida to get married, leaving him as the guardian of his younger sister and two younger brothers. Wasn't there a Joey Lawerence show like this too?

Kirk also had a romantic angle, as right across the hall lived the beautiful Elizabeth Waters (Chelsea Noble - Growing Pains). In the end though, not too many people watched. We'll never know for sure, but I'm going with the theory that it could have been a great success, but Kirk needed a Boner.

Mike O'Malley4. Life With Roger - Did you ever watch Yes Dear and think, "How did Mike O'Malley get this gig after a couple weird ESPN commercials and hosting GUTS?" Well, Life With Roger might have had something to do with it. It was something of an Odd Couple... let's be nice and call it an homage. On the day of his marriage, Jason (Maurice Godin - Threshold) manages to talk Roger (O'Malley) out of jumping off a bridge. That event kicks off a crazy day and leads to Jason not going through with the wedding. He then invites Roger to move in with him and share his apartment. And that's when the differences between the uptight doctor Jason, and free spirit unemployed Roger create the comedy gold. Or, when they were supposed to anyway.

Hyperion Bay5. Hyperion Bay - What was Mark-Paul Gosselar doing between Saved By The Bell: The College Years and NYPD Blue? Hyperion Bay! Just because nobody watched it doesn't mean that it didn't really happen. Gosselar played Dennis Sweeney. Having left Hyperion Bay to go to college, Dennis is now a big success at a software company. And now he is returning home to open a division for the company in the small town.

While the move is good for the town financially, there is an element of two worlds colliding. The big city has been brought to the small town and things will never be the same. As he struggles with an overbearing boss, Dennis also has to deal with a number of personal dramas. There is something of a role reversal going on with him and his older brother Nick (Dylan Neal - Dawson's Creek). Dennis grew up in the shadow of football captain Nick, but now he is the bigshot while Nick struggles with a failing marriage and a failing business.

There is also a bit of a love triangle. Now that he is a success, Dennis is finally attractive to the high school cheerleader he could never have, Trudy (Cassidey Raye). That creates obvious problems in his relationship with Jennifer (Sydney Penny), who moved to Hyperion Bay to be with him. It was very soap opera at points, but a good story overall. Halfway through its 17 episode run they brought in Carmen Electra in what I assume was a grasp at ratings, but it didn't work.

And there are so many more. Rather than list those that I dropped off the list, I'll leave those open for the TV Squad readers to add in the comments. It really was quite a run Michigan J. Frog and the WB had. Here's to 11 years of fun television under the CW banner.

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Scott Schrantz

How about "Glory Days", about a tiny island with probably the country's highest murder rate? Three of the stars - Eddie Cahill, Poppy Montgomery, and Emily VanCamp, managed to move on to bigger and better shows.

Then there was "Simon", Jason Bateman's first attempt at a comeback. That show is also responsible for the auspicious career of Harland Williams.

September 19 2006 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nikescream

I think they should have included Roswell in tonight's farwell.

September 18 2006 at 1:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jaymez

Aside from the cartoons, the only WB show I ever watched was Unhappily Ever After. I couldn't tell you if the show was any good or not. I only watched for Nikki Cox.

As far as this list, I've never heard of any of 'em.

September 17 2006 at 10:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LC

I don't know why I always thought Muscle was on UPN. I could have sworn I used to see commercials for it during Voyager. One bit of triva on that show was that two of it's stars, Alan Ruck and Michael Boatman did much better a few years later when they both starred on Spin City.

September 17 2006 at 8:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Raychel

What about "Unhappily Ever After"?

September 17 2006 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jo Wenner

Don't forget "Roswell", another forgotten WB show. 3 seasons, 1999-2002.

One cute fact is that Katherine Heigl's character was named "Isabel", while her character on "Grey's Anatomy" is named "Isobel".

September 17 2006 at 5:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

Three! Oh my! I knew I wasn't dreaming when sometimes I would fondly remember a show about three cons hired by a secret org to fight crime! I really enjoyed that show and was quite sad when it was suddenly gone. Oh man.

September 17 2006 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike K

There've been so many shows... at least The WB gave some good shows a chance when other networks would have canceled them. I think The WB was also the first network to do summer programming.

What sucks is WB20 Detroit isn't showing the premieres tribute. I'll just have to remember it fondly.

September 17 2006 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kevin

savannah is a wb show that was short-lived...and i don't watch soaps, but this was entertaining. jamie luner(sp?) was in it and one of the guys from csi.

September 17 2006 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby OB

I liked 'Three' and also wanted to see it continue. It came to mind last year with the release of "National Treasure" and the use of Ben Franklin's glasses. Those specs were a plot point in the episode "Hope" with David McCallum.

And don't forget, The Man was David Warner! What a great presence onscreen!

Perhaps one day it might show up in a DVD boxed set, or at the very least get a limited run on some cabler like Sleuth TV......

September 17 2006 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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