If there is a magic to creating a successful TV show, NPR claims to have sort of maybe found it. Linda Holmes writes, as inspired by the premieres of two of the new fall shows tonight—Mob Doctor and Revolution—that just 25 words hold the key to all the TV we will see in the next 10 years. OK, we'll take your bait, NPR. Here are the imagined shows—feel free to create your own—we would watch at least once, as created from combinations of NPR's 25 "Magic Television Words."
But first our ingredients. "Taken together," Holmes writes, the two programs "emphasize that essentially, all you need to make a show is the right combination of title-friendly words." Those words she suggests are as follows:
MOB, DOCTOR, LAW, JUSTICE, CUPCAKE, CHICAGO, FORCE, 911, STORM, REVOLUTION, HEAT, FOREVER, TEAM, PETS, AMERICA, CELEBRITY, ALASKA, TRUCKER, LOVE, MYSTERY, WARS, COUNTRY, REAL, DINER, FASHION
Doctor Cupcake. "Nathan Fillion stars as Doctor Cupcake, a man with the power to restore broken, partially eaten, disgusting, old, stale, hideous, excessively twee, poisoned, or otherwise faulty cupcakes to a pristine and perfect state. A bite of one of the good doctor's cupcakes can also cure the common cold, allergies, and psoriasis. With Ellen Pompeo as Fillion's boss at Cupcake Hospital and his on-again-off-again love interest." See also: Cupcake Justice, which would be either a Law and Order for cupcakes, or a crime drama starring a hard-hitting lady lawyer/cop nicknamed "Cupcake" who avenges injustices with the help of her giggly male sidekick, "Cookie."
Real Love. "The antidote to all those Bachelor/Bachelorette game/reality dating or marriage shows, Real Love follows actual real couples who've been together for years and still actually like one another as they doing the boring, everyday stuff that real couples do. In tonight's episode, Marissa and Howard go to the dog park and then cuddle; Joey and Ro cook dinner together after an altercation over beefsteak versus plum tomatoes; and Patsy and Bob fall asleep yet again while watching sitcoms—then Bob gets up and takes the trash out while Patsy loads the dishwasher. It's the most dramatic Real Love yet!"
Trucker Pets. "It gets lonely on the road, but for Angus, an English bulldog, and Uncle Fester, a Chihuahua mix, it's all in a day's work. These two adorable pups crisscross America's interstates weekly morning through night to deliver the necessities—Budweiser, milk, razors, Milkbones, and granola bars—to our nation's grocery superstores. Connecting via CB radio to their families and friends, they stay abreast of what's happening at home while fighting the exhaustion, fear, and loneliness that comes from being a dog behind the wheel."
Mystery Wars. "These are the wars you don't even know about yet. Until you do. Narrated by Alan Alda."
Diner 911. "Everything that can go wrong does at this diner, where the breadsticks are abnormally large, the carrot sticks irrepressibly chewy, the waffles are always going down the wrong pipe, and everyone's allergic to everything. Watch and learn as dramatic disasters are averted just in the nick of time, with the help of fry cook Hal, busboy Heimlich, and waitress CPR (Caroline Parker-Reynolds)."
We'll give Holmes credit for this; these words are not bad. But we're not sure they cover every show we'd like to see in the next 10 years. What: No vampires? No official sounding acronyms a al NCIS? There's something to be said for originality in naming conventions, after all.