'nip/tuck' doth protest too much -- a review of the fifth season premiere

You know that old saying about the pot calling the kettle black?

That's kind of what I feel is happening on the fifth season premiere of nip/tuck (Tuesday at 10 p.m. on FX). Christian (Julian McMahon) and Sean (Dylan Walsh) have relocated their practice to Beverly Hills, where the desire for unnecessary plastic surgery runneth over.

There's only one problem -- no one knows who they are and having almost worked on Joan Rivers does not count as a celebrity endorsement. Enter publicist Fiona McNeil (Lauren Hutton) who convinces the boys to become technical advisors on Hearts 'n Scalpels, a fictional TV show about -- that's right -- plastic surgeons. Cute right? Actually not so much.

The show within a show gimmick rarely works (unless it's the telenovela on Ugly Betty) and it seems like the early episodes are going to be centered around this plot device. That's too bad. Sure Bradley Cooper is having a blast spoofing TV as Hearts 'n Scalpels' hunky, self-centered leading man Aidan Stone. And Oliver Platt is doing his neurotic best as the show's creator and executive producer. The problem is that nip/tuck isn't exactly rooted in realism so the show mocking Hearts 'n Scalpels seems a little silly. It would be one thing if they were in on the joke, but they don't seem to be.

And I have more than a little ennui about the show's over-the-top story lines. Craig Berko as a studio executive who manages stress by visiting a dominatrix (Tia Carrere, who is in the midst of a career renaissance) barely even catches my interest. In my opinion, that's the result of having too many plot lines that seemed to be for shock value only and didn't advance the characters. Nip/tuck is the show that cried shocking plot development.

This brings me to the other main problem with the show - its characters, particularly Christian, fail to evolve. How many times do we have to see him tear a woman apart (this week's victim is Daphne Zuniga)?

So I'm offering up full disclosure, I'll remind you that I fell out of love with nip/tuck around season 3 (the Famke Janssen story line sent me over the edge). So, in all honesty, I probably wasn't in the best frame of mind to fully embrace season five. But the fifth season premiere failed to win me back. Three stars.

After you watch the season premiere post your comments below. Also are you excited about the new season of nip/tuck and the move to Los Angeles? Or are you over the show? Talk about it below.

Could Tony really be evil?

Oh FOX how you toy with my emotions. The first preview of the seventh season of 24 has us all flummoxed. Could Tony, my beloved Tony, really have gone to the dark side? From the ads, it certainly seems like it. I can't believe it's true -- it must be a trick to make sure I tune into the seventh season premiere on January 13, 2008. And let me tell you something, it's a trick that totally worked.

What about you? Has it made you more excited for the seventh season? Do you think Tony could be evil (say it ain't so!) Talk about it below.

Highlights for October 29 and 30

When Bones first premiered two years ago I thought it was a fine show, perfectly serviceable but nothing to get too excited about. And I so didn't buy the chemistry between Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz. Deschanel was very wooden. I grew tired of her constant "I don't know what that means." And I think I was having some trouble moving on from Boreanaz's Angel days. But now I am so on the show's bandwagon. I love the rapport between Bones and Booth and the show really plays to Boreanaz's leading man strengths--he is effortlessly able to bring comedy to dramas. He is, quite simply, delightful to watch. This week (Tuesday, FOX, 8 p.m.), Halloween comes to the Jeffersonian which means more suggestive banter between the pair. They have become TV's new Mulder and Scully but I can't decide if I actually want them together romantically. How about you? Talk about it below.

And it's not Halloween without the annual airing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Tuesday, ABC, 8 p.m.). I never get tired of watching this annual treat.

That's all for today. I'm back on Wednesday with thoughts on ER (how come nobody told me about Sam's much improved hair color?), Dirty Sexy Money and Cane and this week's Where Have I Seen Them Before (Michelle Dessler is alive, she's alive). Also coming this week a review of the 100th episode of Family Guy and much much more. Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week. Write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com.

Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal