New Fall Shows

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Recalling a Life Worth Forgetting

Samantha Who?

Mondays at 9:32 p.m. on ABC

Basic story: What if your entire life were erased in an instant and you had to start over from scratch? That's where Sam Newly (Christina Applegate, below) finds herself after a hit-and-run leaves her with a case of retrograde amnesia. With the help of her boozy mom (Jean Smart), her disconnected dad (Kevin Dunn) and her sugary-sweet boyfriend (Barry Watson), Sam is horrified to discover she was quite the shrew -- so much so that her "accident" might have been anything but. Now, with a clean slate, she's determined to make better choices, but a gossipy gal pal (Jennifer Esposito) wants Sam to revive her naughty, snotty ways.

What it faces: Comedy competition includes "Rules of Engagement" (CBS) and "The Game" (CW). "Samantha" also faces dramas "K-Ville" (Fox) and "Heroes" (NBC).

What you'll like: In a word: Applegate. She may never live down her role as trashy teen Kelly Bundy on "Married . . . With Children," but this Jekyll-and-Hyde role gives her a chance to flex her considerable comedic chops.

What you won't: Sandwiched as it is between a pair of unscripted series ("Dancing With the Stars" and "The Bachelor"), the series has the potential to get lost. And the underlying soap-opera premise could run out of steam early.

Bottom line: It's not groundbreaking comedy by any means, but this season you could do a lot worse.

-- Brad Walters

Big Dreams, Bigger Gambles

Viva Laughlin

Premieres Thursday at 10 p.m. on CBS;

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