Fox (Saturdays, 11 p.m. ET)
This show is living proof that comedy isn’t pretty. In fact it can be downright ugly. Designed as a competitor to the flailing Saturday Night Live, this series allegedly draws its inspiration from Mad magazine. Except for some animated segments featuring “Spy vs. Spy” and artist Don Martin’s work, though, Mad TV has nothing in common with the publication.
In its pilot episode, Mad TV takes the easy way out while pretending to be daring and irreverent. Concocting skits that make fun of the homeless and cancer victims isn’t particularly offensive, it’s just unimaginative. It takes a lot to make Saturday Night Live look like a sharp, sophisticated show, but Mad TV’s lowbrow stab at humor does just that.