Tubegazing: 'Love Monkey, 'Book of Daniel,' and 'Crumbs'
Love Monkey (CBS, debuts Jan. 17, 9 p.m. EST) works familiar territory - singles in the city - but with an appealing cast and good writing. Tom Cavanagh stars as a record executive looking for love in all the wrong places. The wry tone makes this a better choice than NBC's similarly themed "Four Kings."
The Book of Daniel (NBC, Fridays, 9 p.m. EST) arrives with the burden of controversy. The drama about the dysfunctional WASP family of an Episcopal priest must prove it isn't disrespectful of religion. For the moment the writers seem far more interested in problems than answers. In last week's pilot alone, Aidan Quinn's priest dealt with his own prescription-drug addiction, an embezzling brother-in-law, a daughter arrested for drug dealing, an alcoholic wife, and a gay son. Quinn's character chats with Jesus. Don't bother to tune in for wisdom about religion in modern life - there is precious little - but the cast, including Ellen Burstyn and Susanna Thompson, is a pleasure to watch in this secular soap opera.
Crumbs (ABC, debuts Jan. 12, 9:30 p.m. EST) just might turn into the right vehicle for Jane Curtin's wonderful brand of suburban craziness. The comedy, which also stars William Devane and Fred Savage, starts when a mother (Curtin) returns from a mental ward after her husband has left the family for a younger woman.