TV OT: Is TLC the weirdest network on TV? Plus, revisiting the fall's 'Big Leap' into less-'Ordinary' series

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TV OT is simply a play look astatine what CNN's amusement squad is watching since excessively overmuch tv has america each moving overtime.

(CNN)Welcome to November. Insert your screams here. Enjoy this week's TV OT:

Is TLC the weirdest web connected TV?

Although I mostly similar to support my blemishes covered nether layers of well-blended concealer, there's a nationalist pimple I indispensable popular successful the sanction of transparency: Over the years, I person watched a batch of TLC.

    I'm idiosyncratic who mostly believes determination should beryllium nary specified word erstwhile talking tv arsenic "guilty pleasure" due to the fact that you should not beryllium ashamed of what brings you comfort. But I can't accidental that watching "Sister Wives" (returning Nov. 21) oregon "My 600 lb. Life" (new play airing now) or "So Freakin' Cheap" brings maine thing resembling pleasure, but I can't stop.

      In that lies the enigma of what I'll present controversially accidental is television's weirdest and astir fascinating network.

      Unlike streaming networks, which tin hide their junk and inactive triumph awards for its prestige contented oregon broadcast networks that person to interest profoundly astir offending immoderate of their progressively less viewers, TLC lives successful their crud. Heck, they often observe it.

      (For the involvement of this discussion, I'll marque 1 speedy point: I won't get into the network's utter failings in the handling of thing relating to the Duggars, but it is portion of wherefore I conflict with watching TLC period.)

      This is wherever I should constituent retired that similar immoderate network, TLC has immoderate range. For example, it has fixed a location to the inspiring communicative of transgender teen Jazz Jennings. "I Am Jazz," entering its seventh play this month, has done volumes for bringing consciousness to the challenges of being young and trans -- thing that is arguably (and sadly) much needed present than erstwhile it premiered.

      Sister Wives (2010)

      The baffling portion of TLC is that its spectrum has specified an applaudable precocious and aggregate in-the-bowels-of-television lows, of which I won't situation to prime the astir objectionable. Though, if it was inactive connected the air, it'd beryllium the amusement wherever I erstwhile watched the communicative of a antheral who was successful an intimate relationship with his car.

      I cognize I'm not unsocial successful watching immoderate of it, though. TLC's "90 Day Fiancé," franchise is a brainsick success. (But 1 person who utilized to ticker it told maine she stopped due to the fact that the two-hour episodes and changeless spin-offs was excessively overmuch to support up with) In a clip erstwhile networks person a tiny unchangeable of reliable performers, TLC has aggregate shows that person been connected for 6-plus seasons. ("Little People, Big World" wrapped up Season 22 earlier this year.) And 1 of its newer shows, "Dr. Pimple Popper," is truthful popular, it's getting a Christmas Special — subtitled "A Pimple Carol."

      "It's dissimilar immoderate different programming connected TV close now," says 1 friend, who spoke connected a information of anonymity and we each recognize why. "It's against societal norms. We don't person a batch of play successful our lives, but we ticker it connected TV."

      This 1 fractional of a joined mates says they've watched everything from "90 Day Fiancé" to "Extreme Sisters," a bid that explored sisters whose adjacent bonds veer into baffling territory.

      The different fractional of the mates adds: "It's a satellite you conscionable don't know. You get sucked in."

      And possibly that the secret? TLC is the tv equivalent of a road car clang that you can't look distant from.

      The loudest objection I perceive to TLC programming is that it tin consciousness exploitative and often mean successful spirit. But I'd reason we are each accountable for our ain reactions to the stories we spot successful the aforesaid mode the participants are accountable for agreeing to beryllium featured. Do I justice weird couples? Yes. But bash I besides outcry watching "My 600 Lb. Life"? Absolutely. And did everyone featured connected immoderate of these shows knowingly motion up to beryllium connected TV? Definitely.

      TLC hasn't been The Learning Channel for a agelong time, to the disappointment of many. But they've recovered success, perhaps, successful deciding that determination was an assemblage for Television that Loathes the Conventional.

      Revisiting the fall's 'Big Leap' into less-'Ordinary' series

      'The Big Leap'

      Now, tossing it implicit to Brian Lowry with a mid-fall TV update.

      "One of the problems reviewing bid that person somewhat much ambition than 'FBI' spinoffs is the question of whether a frontloaded mates of episodes tin really beryllium sustained implicit the people of a season, overmuch little aggregate seasons.

      Happily, 3 web shows that earned the astir favorable reactions erstwhile they made their debuts this autumn -- "The Big Leap," "Ordinary Joe" and 'Ghosts' -- proceed to clasp up rather well.

      Fox's 'Big Leap' mightiness beryllium the astir awesome of the bunch, uncovering clever layers arsenic it combines the characters -- participating successful a fictitious reality-TV creation amusement -- successful unexpected ways. It's consistently sweet, comic and reasonably astute astir however the world sausage gets made, with Scott Foley shining arsenic the amoral shaper who'll measurement implicit beauteous overmuch anyone successful pursuit of a second-season renewal.

      NBC's 'Ordinary Joe,' meanwhile, has built connected its aviator with details astir the cardinal character, played by James Wolk, pursuing him connected 3 abstracted paths diverted by 1 determination helium made astatine a important constituent successful his life. A small strained astatine times, it remains a feat of editing and has steadily dropped caller tidbits to grow the story.

      Finally, 'Ghosts' has stood retired arsenic a non-cookie-cutter drama for CBS, with a mates moving into a location inhabited by ghosts from antithetic eras. Although it has the payment of being adapted from a British show, that's nary warrant of durability connected a much expansive US TV schedule, which the amusement has frankincense acold exhibited.

      All told, it's an encouraging motion for the large networks, which astatine times person appeared consenting to thrust their existing franchises ('Chicago' everything, 'Law & Order,' etc.) into a dependable march toward oblivion.

      These caller shows suggest there's beingness successful the model, particularly if you'll instrumentality a fewer originative risks to grow it."

      'Class' dismissed

      "Head of the Class"

      For your play ticker list, here's Lowry again with a recommendation.

      "OK, we get it, established intelligence spot is each the rage, but the caller 'Head of the Class' revival, connected HBO Max (like CNN, a portion of WarnerMedia), feels much peripherally tethered to the mildly memorable amusement that preceded it than most.

      Here, Isabella Gomez (a seasoned of the 'One Day astatine a Time' revival) plays the slacker teacher to a radical of high-achieving kids, successful a bid that feels arsenic generic arsenic that sounds. Despite the caller faces, there's small to separate this from a web sitcom successful the 1980s.

      As for connections to the original, Robin Givens shows up successful a consequent episode, which is nice.

      In presumption of making america look with the title, ngo accomplished. Making america instrumentality astir is different matter."

      A 'Symbol'-ic gesture

      'The Lost Symbol'

      And different from Lowry: a programming enactment for the Peacock-less.

        "NBC developed 'The Lost Symbol,' based connected Dan Brown's Robert Langdon character, for the network, past decided to premiere the bid connected its streaming service, Peacock. Now the amusement is getting a one-time showing connected NBC successful spot of an 'Ordinary Joe' repeat.

        It's a tiny thing, but the synergistic determination is different illustration of the juggling enactment that studios look arsenic they see wherever their shows volition fare the best. Frankly, 'Lost Symbol' mightiness person been a agelong changeable successful immoderate venue, but similar 'Head of the Class,' it astir apt would person looked much astatine location connected a broadcast web successful the archetypal place."

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