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[TV]

Running down “Ochocinco,” and some other summer TV fare

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Go long: Chad Ochocinco takes a pass … at the ladies.

Reality dating shows are basically just attention-whore assembly lines at this point, so in a way it’s refreshing to see a show that acknowledges that fact right up front. The problem with VH1’s Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch, starring football receiver Chad Ochocinco (once Chad Johnson), is that it doesn’t take its absurdity far enough. It’s as if no one on the production team realizes that the conceit of the show, which finds Ochocinco winnowing down potential mates from 85 (his jersey number) via a tournament-like bracket structure, is a complete joke. In every other facet, Catch is indistinguishable from Rock of Love or The Bachelor, and its unique spin on the format gets overshadowed by standard reality-show drama.

The Details

Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch
Two stars
VH1, Sundays, 9 p.m.

Ochocinco gets in one good line about creating your own betting pools at home for his bracket, but otherwise the man who describes himself as having a “colorful personality” comes off as bland, charisma-free and even a little camera-shy. By the end of the show’s bloated first episode, the skank pool has been reduced to 16, and a traditional elimination ceremony closes the show. The preview for the rest of the season indicates nothing original, which is a big missed opportunity. Instead of campy self-awareness, Catch offers just the same worn-out clichés.

A few other possibilities for your summertime DVR:

Haven (Syfy, Fridays, 10 p.m.) Based extremely loosely on a Stephen King novel, Haven is like The X-Files all mashed into one small town, only with crappier acting.

Childrens Hospital (Adult Swim, Sundays, 10:30 p.m.) Rob Corddry’s web series comes to TV, bringing its hilarious, spot-on parody of self-serious medical dramas and a cast full of comedic geniuses.

Rizzoli & Isles (TNT, Mondays, 10 p.m.) This grim, unpleasant crime procedural wastes Angie Harmon as a tortured detective and Sasha Alexander as her prissy coroner best friend. Stick with The Closer.

Covert Affairs (USA, Tuesdays, 10 p.m.) Yet another breezy action-adventure show on USA, this one with Piper Perabo as a newbie CIA agent. It’s inconsequential fun, good for fans of Alias and Burn Notice.

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