'Desperate Housewives' Clean Up ABC TV

I live by simple rules: Don't steal, don't cheat and absolutely no processed sugar, unless it comes in a package with an "s" at the end of its name, such as Ho Hos, Yodels or Twinkies.

My most important rule: There will be no plans on Sunday. It's an official day of rest. That includes anything, even showers.

Now, however, things have changed. After watching the premieres of Desperate Housewives and Boston Legal on ABC, I now have to plan to be home Sunday in front of my TV.

Before you gag and accuse me of kissing up to my own network, let me deny that I'm a shill for Disney. Please note that I've never said two good words about the Mouse House's television division in years. I haven't had reason to until now.

The best thing about these two shows is that they are absolutely filled with great humor, even though they're dramas. On Housewives, we find a woman cheating on her husband with a gardener. Instead of cutting the lawn, this guy's playing Lawn Doctor under the sheets.

The husband notices that the lawn hasn't been cut as he and his misbehaving wife head to a party. She tips the waiter to load her hubby up on booze, and she rushes home to give the lawn a quick cut. The guy never wises up and the gardener gets to stay.

The women of Housewives are fantastic, as well, because they're familiar faces in provocative new parts. Teri Hatcher (Lois and Clark), Nicolette Sheridan (Knots Landing), Felicity Huffman (Sports Night) and Marcia Cross (Melrose Place and recently Everwood) are already creating a lot of buzz, especially among women over 40. These gals are as sexy and feisty as any actress on TV, but with the added dose of experience.

Follow that up with Boston Legal, David Kelley's latest jewel. As a writer and creator, the guy just keeps getting better. This new show takes the best of Ally McBeal and The Practice, puts it in a blender and pours out smooth, original, funny and even poignant TV.

Emmy winner James Spader has finally found his niche as Alan Shore, a buttoned-up attorney who's got a sense of humor that's drier than the Mojave Desert and sharp as a tack.

And William Shatner, another Emmy winner, is simply brilliant as Denny Crane, an older attorney who hinges between certainty and insanity. Shatner brings a bit of Capt. Kirk to the courtroom, only he does it with a power suit rather than a Starfleet uniform.

The debut episode told the story of a black girl with a radiant voice who loses the lead in Annie to a little white girl.

The case seemed all but lost until Al Sharpton, playing himself, bursts into the courtroom to save the day with a speech that included, "Tomorrow, tomorrow… We don't have time for tomorrow. We need a black girl to be Annie today." Classic!

So, bottom line, don't call me Sunday night. I'm busy.

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