Maybe this year it will be different

It happens every fall.

Invariably, I fall in love – and it always has a tragic end.

A new TV show – crisply written, beautifully acted – will capture my attention and that of my husband. Against our better judgment, we'll become attached, riffling through the TV schedule to find it as it gets bounced madly from night to night. Maybe this year, we think, it will be different.

It never is. It would appear that we have the strange and depressing ability to kill off any new show that catches our fancy. (Established programs seem to be able to withstand the pressure a little better, so now we don't check out the new season until February.)

I suspect the Nielsen folks have bugged our TV. "The Zipps like 'Freaks and Geeks' – quick, pull it for sweeps!" Other recent shows that weren't able to survive our affections were "Cupid," a witty and warm screwball comedy, and "Murder One" – although the latter's "one season, one story" concept has found new life on "24." (Perhaps the "One" folks should have hired Kiefer Sutherland.) You'll have to take our word on these shows, since apparently we were the only ones watching.

It's a bit of a head-scratcher. We're both in the "coveted" 18-34 demographic, and Brian's even a guy! (As our cover stories make clear, network execs study his supposed likes and dislikes more carefully than Jane Goodall observes her chimps.)

This year, I have a new strategy. Instead of wrecking a well-meaning family drama like "Everwood" or a high-concept cop show like "Boomtown" (see reviews, page 17), I'm going to use this power for the forces of good. I plan to watch every reality show out there – with a vengeance.

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