Here in Los Angeles, the streets are festooned with umpteen billboards and posters promoting new TV series premiering this fall. I’ve been stuck staring at them for weeks now, and recently I’ve begun to realize that I have no idea what half of these shows are supposed to be about, based solely on what I see above the streets. That’s why I’ve decided to post a handful of these billboards and posters and attempt to interpret their cryptic messages.
Pictures after the jump…
From what we can see, this show is about a blonde woman whose face is too small to be discernible (is that Sarah Chalke? Sarah Michelle Gellar? Tara Reid?). She is presumably out for revenge. How do I know? Because she’s standing in front of the word “REVENGE.” Why does she seek vengeance? Not sure. But we do know that she has a dress made of thorns. Or perhaps she’s merely rising out of a black wigwam of sloppy construction. All I know is that she’s mad, and the letter “g” is in red, which clearly indicates that she’s out for blood. Because the classic symbol of vengeance is a red “g.”
Okay, this billboard tells us nothing.
So there’s a guy and a girl, and I don’t think they like each other very much. She’s telling him to be quiet, and he’s giving us a look as if to say, “Is she telling me to be quiet?” Clearly, they’re just in it for the sex. Furthermore, the big purple letters and the sassy punchline of “punishment or reward” suggest that this is going to be a a sassy show for sassy women and the sassy gays who love them. In other words, annoying.
Once Upon A Time, ABC
From what we can tell, this is a show about Snow White, and she appears to be heading to a fancy ball of some sort. She looks to be up to no good, which doesn’t make sense since she’s as pure as the friggin snow in her name. Hey, now I’m getting intrigued. Well done.
Hart of Dixie, CW
Rachel Bilson isn’t the only one who looks like she wants to shoot herself in the head. This poster makes me cringe for all its cliches. Stupid pun in the title? Check. Goofy tagline (“Her life is about to go South”)? Check. Wholly unoriginal concept about a city girl who heads to the country (and perhaps back to her roots)? Check. I should note that the third point is pure conjecture. Yes, you can pretty much figure out the entire show from this poster (which is probably a good thing, from a marketing perspective). Clearly it’s about a hot doctor (note the stethoscope) looking for love (note the HEART-SHAPED stethoscope) who’s stuck in the miserable South (note Bilson’s bored expression). One question: where’s Seth Cohen?
New Girl, Fox
Oh! It’s obvious what this is. It’s a sitcom… about Zooey Deschanel… and she’s new. And quirky. And probably sings every now and then. And she often sees things from her right that make her smile nervously. Because she’s new! Obviously.
This is classic CBS generic procedural material right here. The billboard features the most dramatic tagline of the fall: “She can do anything but forget,” which means this woman remembers everything, including the time a golden building used to be turquoise! I just love architectural sleuths!
Sarah Michelle Gellar is back… and she’s pining for New York City! Yes, that’s her pressed up against the glass in what we just have to assume is some apartment in Hoboken. How unglamorous. But lo! Her reflection looks sad, concerned, and also impossibly angled! Is that her past? Has she shed her good girl values (presumably from The Real America) in an effort to ascend the treacherous social ladder of New York? I SURE HOPE SO. Setting my DVR now…
The Secret Circle, CW
Well this one makes no sense. This billboard focuses on a girl whose fingers look like they’ve been dipped in glowing honey. We have to assume this is her secret power that indeed allows her access into the titular Secret Circle — a circle formed of wannabe Blair Waldorfs and some rejects from NYC Prep. They all look like assholes, and I hope one of the trees in the background falls over and squashes them all.
The Playboy Club, NBC
This colorful pseudo Mad Men billboard states, “Don’t let the fluffy tails fool you.” Fool us? Into thinking what? That these women are actual rabbits? Don’t worry, NBC. No confusion here. Actually, I assume the tagline is meant to suggest that these fluffy sexpots are all steely women who are ready to get their way, especially with an airbrushed Eddie Cibrian lurking in their midst. The billboard looks edgy and stylish. But do we trust NBC? Probably not.
Person of Interest, CBS
Hey, it’s another procedural from CBS, and from what we can tell, it’s about two men staring in different directions. Clearly they must work together, but WHERE IS THE TRUST? Surely not with Jim Caviezel who looks about ready to throw Ben Linus up against a wall and demand ANSWERS. Ben Linus, however, doesn’t seem concerned. He’s looking off into the distance, seeking the greater truth – a truth that Jim Caviezel simply can’t comprehend. Don’t worry, they’ll form an uneasy friendship. And solve crimes!
Pan Am, ABC
In its simplicity, Pan Am kicks The Playboy Club’s ass. Plus, is that Cristina Ricci? I’m getting excited. We already know there’s gonna be hella sex in the lav. Maybe even a Don Draper fingerbang in the galley! A boy can dream. This is by far the most eye-catching and appealing billboard so far.
Charlie’s Angels, ABC
Ugh. This billboard. I see it everyday. If I didn’t know the original source material, I’d think this was a show about three women at a cocktail party in Santa Monica. All that’s missing is Giada De Laurentiis and her husband Todd offering up a plate of hors d’oeuvres. I have a hard time believing this trio could ever be crime fighters, especially since they look like they’re about to conk out early so they can be fresh for yoga in the AM. Hateable.
A Gifted Man, CBS
Okay, this poster gives us nothing. All I can discern is that this show is about Patrick Wilson, and he may or may not be a preacher from the South with CONVICTIONS — the kind that have him starting every scene like Foghorn Leghorn: “I say, I say that man is INNOCENT!” In fact, that’s how I imagine every scene will play out. I also imagine there will be plenty of scenes of Patrick Wilson crouching down to talk to sad little girls to tell them that a) they did the right thing, b) their poppa was a good man, or c) he has to go now. Perhaps all three! Plus, it goes without saying that no one really understands what drives Patrick Wilson, LEAST OF ALL HIS GIRLFRIEND. But she puts up with him! LORD DOES SHE PUT UP WITH HIM! Oh, and he probably gets drunk and plays the piano to forget about his inner shame. Just spitballing here.
2 Broke Girls, CBS
I like this billboard because I can deduce plenty of information. First of all, fun title. Second of all, it’s about two waitresses: one is fun and sweet and perhaps a bit bubbly and definitely out of her element (the pearls suggest she comes from money and is now totes slumming it). The other girl — well, she’s just a bitch. Yay!
Up All Night, NBC
Will Arnett? Christina Applegate?? MAYA RUDOLPH?? I’m just about to jump out of my car and hug this billboard. Oh, but there’s a baby. Wah wah. It’s another show about parents trying to figure it all out. And presumably, the baby is keeping everyone awake: mom, dad, and… their lawyer? Their realtor? I’m not sure where Maya Rudolph fits into all this. Doesn’t matter really. NBC did the right thing: they crammed these likable actors into our faces, and that’s all that matters.
Prime Suspect, NBC
Hey, it’s Maria Bello! And she’s wearing a scarf! Right away we know this is a procedural, and we know that Maria Bello is a no-nonsense lady cop who’s just trying to make it in a male-driven world (in a scarf). What a fresh idea! Nevertheless, I do enjoy the “Cop. An Attitude” tagline, but I do wonder if this show can live up to Helen Mirren’s great Prime Suspect series that aired here on PBS. I’ve actually never seen the British version; so I really shouldn’t call it “great.” Furthermore, I’m not sure if the two series are related, and if I haven’t seen the original, why should I care if this version is better or worse? The point is, I’m talking out of my ass, and if Maria Bello and her scarf were near me, she’d probably punch me in the face.
What new shows are you excited about?