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Forget about any lifelines for NBC's Save Me (now that's the spirit)


Anne Heche is newly blessed out in Save Me. NBC photo

Premiering: Thursday, May 23rd with back-to-back half-hour episodes starting at 7 p.m. (central) on NBC
Starring: Anne Heche, Michael Landes, Madison Davenport, Alexandra Breckenridge, Heather Burns, Joy Osmanski
Produced by: John Scott Shepherd, Scott Winant, Neal H. Moritz, Vivian Cannon, Alexa Junge, Darlene Hunt

It’s not a good sign -- from above or anywhere else -- when a network launches a previously announced “midseason” series on the day after the latest play-for-keeps TV season officially ends.

The hallelujah choir also is singing off-key when that same network decides to burn off two episodes per Thursday but can’t be bothered to make more than the first one available for review. Such are the realities for NBC’s Save Me, a spiritual sitcom getting basically the same brushoff Fox gave to The Goodwin Games earlier this week.

Bounce-around Anne Heche stars as a former weekend weathercaster whose marriage has become a cold front. Her bartender husband, Tom (Michael Landes), blames her for ruining things and sending him into the arms of a mistress. After the standard issue narrative setup -- “I’d become an angry, drunken bitch” -- a typically besotted Beth Harper (Heche) staggers home from a neighborhood party and delivers herself unto a refrigerated hero sandwich after having another big swig. Go ahead, choke on it. She does, but arises from a near-death experience convinced that she’s now been touched by God -- or at worst an angel.

During the course of her return to the living, Beth actually says, “I asked myself, ‘Self.’ “ Look no further for the caliber of writing within a first episodes that just doesn’t deliver much of anything.

The new Beth is determined to make amends to friends while re-claiming hubby and re-connecting with a tune-out teenaged daughter named Emily (Madison Davenport). “I was lost. And Now I’m found,” she proclaims.

Meanwhile, Tom’s girlfriend, Carly (Alexandra Breckenridge), is piping mad about his wavering interest in divorce. “You’re cheating on me -- with your whacked-out wife!” she bellows before eventually being struck from above by a lightening bolt that may or may not have been summoned by Beth.

God isn’t about to waste a lightening bolt or any form of divine intervention on Save Me. And NBC for its part has already exiled it to a prime-time purgatory. TV networks continue to work in mysterious ways. But sometimes they’re still smart enough to know when they have a stinker.


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