What's in A Name? Looking at Fall TV Shows, Not Much

Trauma, Brothers & Mercy - Really?

By Zach Oat
|  Wednesday, Aug 19, 2009  |  Updated 2:15 PM EDT
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"The Good Wife" - What We Get From the Title: Hey, this wife ain't so bad, apparently.

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TV show names often aim for simplicity over complexity: For every Buffy the Vampire Slayer or How I Met Your Mother, there are a dozen Houses, Fringes and Heroeses. But is it just us, or do this season's new shows come off as a little... generic? We're all for brevity, but can we at least get a hint of meaning? Or mystery? Or, dare we say it, excitement? Just because The Office is entering its sixth season doesn't mean that a show named after a common noun is going to win you an Emmy. Here are a bunch of new programs that we feel could use a little something extra in the name department.

Trauma
What We Get From the Title: Sadness. Depression. Emotional scarring. Maybe actual scarring. Sounds like "drama."
What It's Actually About: First-responder paramedics from San Francisco City Hospital, who are always the first ones on the scene.
Our Title: First Response. It has the medical angle for those in the know, and for those who don't, they at least know that the show is about people responding to things.

Brothers
What We Get From the Title: Two men. Maybe related. Probably not monks.
What It's Actually About: A former pro football player moves back in with his parents and wheelchair-bound brother to revitalize the family's floundering restaurant.
Our Title: Dinner with the Trainors. You know it's about the Trainor family, and that it takes place at the dinner table, maybe in a restaurant. That's the show in a nutshell.

Mercy
What We Get From the Title: Something you show to people by not killing them. Or, sometimes, when you do kill them. Also, something elderly Southern women say.
What It's Actually About: Three nurses, including a rookie and one with wartime experience, working at Mercy Hospital.
Our Title: Meds. It sounds like Scrubs, and it actually references medicine and doctors!

The Middle
What We Get From the Title: Average. Not going to extremes. Compromise. A creamy filling. Where Malcolm is.
What It's Actually About: A family hilariously struggles to get by in Middle America.
Our Title: Flyover Country. Some use the term in a negative way, but the first episode hammers home that it takes place in a region some people only fly over, and the phrase has become fairly well-known. Also, it's just a lot of fun to say.

Community
What We Get From the Title: Neighborhoods. Going outside. Getting to know your neighbors. Not watching TV.
What It's Actually About: A lawyer goes back to community college when his license is revoked and meets a crazy cast of characters.
Our Title: Back to School. Hey, it worked for Rodney Dangerfield.

Parenthood
What We Get From the Title: Apparently, somebody has kids, or is having kids, or wants to have kids.
What It's Actually About: It's a remake of the 1990 TV show, which was a spin-off of the movie about three generations of a family.
Our Title: It may have inherited its name from its predecessors, but considering the last TV series only lasted 12 episodes, why cling to such a dull name? Why not call it Family Trees, since you need one to keep track of the sprawling family and since the grandparents appear to live in the woods?

The Good Wife
What We Get From the Title: Hey, this wife ain't so bad, apparently.
What It's Actually About: After giving up her law career for her politician husband, a woman makes it through his political scandal, trial and incarceration and returns to being a defense attorney.
Our Title: The Best Defense. She defends people, she's good at it and her job helps her forget the pain in her life. Plus, she's getting good legal advice from her lawyer hubby in jail.

Modern Family
What We Get From the Title: This is not a show about an old-timey family. Or maybe it is, and the title is ironic?
What It's Actually About: Three couples with radically different domestic situations deal with raising kids.
Our Title: Daddy Issues. Each family has a fairly ridiculous father figure -- one tries to be young and hip, one is much older than his wife, and one is a flamboyant gay man -- and they seem to drive much of the plot, if the pilot is any indication.

Hank
What We Get From the Title: Some dude named "Hank."
What It's Actually About: A Wall Street CEO gets fired and has to move his family back to his wife's small hometown of River Bend, Virginia.
Our Title: Around the Bend. Not only does it reference the town name, it references how far away Hank's wife family lives and how crazy he's going to go living in a small town.

The Forgotten
What We Get From the Title: You know, it was right there, and now it's gone. It'll come to us...
What It's Actually About: The Identity Network, a group of amateur detectives try to identify unidentifiable bodies to find out who they were and how they were killed.
Our Title: Who Are You? Sadly, they won't be able to use the CSI theme song, which is too bad, because it applies more to what these guys are doing than to the CSI guys, most of whose corpses have wallets on them.

Day One
What We Get From the Title: This is a spin-off of Year One, right? With cavemen?
What It's Actually About: The residents of an apartment building in Van Nuys start a new life in the wake of a global cataclysm that destroys society as they know it.
Our Title: Disaster Area. With flaming cars and destroyed buildings everywhere, the set will most likely resemble a disaster area in most cases. Hopefully, the show itself won't be as disastrous.

100 Questions
What We Get From the Title: It sounds like a mashup of 20 Questions and 60 Minutes, and as everyone knows, 20 x 60 = ZZZZZZZZZZ.
What It's Actually About: A woman looking for love takes a 100-question compatibility test to join an online dating site, and each question leads her to recount a hilarious dating experience from her past.
Our Title: We want to call it How I Filled Out the Online Questionnaire that Allowed Me to Be Matched With Your Father, but for the sake of taking things seriously, let's go with Compatibility, since that's what the show is all about.

Three Rivers
What We Get From the Title: Is this about Firefly's River Tam and a clone of River Phoenix going white-water rafting? Because that would be awesome.
What It's Actually About: This medical drama follows organ donors, organ recipients and the transplant surgeons and technicians who get the organs where they need to go.
Our Title: Stealing Hearts. While the donating of organs isn't theft, exactly, that Alex O'Loughlin sure is dreamy.

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